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Patio and Deck Cleaning Secrets for an Outdoor Fun in the Garden

© fotolia.com

© fotolia.com

Till now, decks and patio have been left without our attention. In cold winter, we were happy to spend time in a warm and cozy home. Moreover, it was almost nothing to do in the garden. But now, when it is getting warm we are looking forward to barbecue days with friends and sunny days outside. However, the winter left its mark on your deck and patio. To remove all signs of winter, you need to repair, clean and make some other improvements before a new season.

Do not try to manage everything within a day or you will soon burn out. Divide all work in several steps and perform each of them per day.

Step One: Pretreatment

First, you should decide what of the things you leave for a new season and what you can get rid of forever. Carefully inspect the chairs, tables, and barbecue. If something cannot be repaired, is too rusted or broken then you should throw out these things and buy new ones. Maybe, new ideas of decoration come to your mind when you free up the space.

Second, consider whether to store bicycles, skateboards, basketball hoop and other sports equipment. If the whole last summer they stood idle, they likely will do the same this year. Therefore, you can store them, for example, in the garage.

Once you take out everything from the deck, you should do a minimum cleaning of the surface and check the safety of the structures. 

 Sweep the leaves left here since the fall. Be careful: in a pile of leaves, there could be animals.

Moreover, do not make too much effort when sweeping in order not to rub dirt into the floor. Then check the floor if there are cut-outs, rotten planks, fallen tiles, etc. If something needs repairing, then you should first do it, and only then proceed to cleaning.

Step Two: Furniture Cleaning

Different types of furniture have their pros and cons. Moreover, it is necessary to clean each of them properly. However, there is a common rule for any type of furniture: first, remove dirt and garbage from the floor. To do this, use a vacuum cleaner or a brush.

Wicker

One of the most expensive options is wicker rattan furniture, which has a number of advantages:

  • it neither gets hot in the sun nor cools down in the shade,
  • very attractive and nice to the touch,
  • easy to be recovered from minor injuries and to maintain.

It is better to wash such furniture with hot, slightly salted water: take a tablespoon of a regular table salt per a gallon of water. Polish wicker furniture with lemon oil every few years to keep it the fiber attractive and strong. Lemon oil will also protect from the rain. If the mold has appeared on the surface, treat the area with a light solution of chlorine or oxygen bleach (about three-fourths cup of bleach per gallon of water).

Wooden

Wooden furniture is very elegant and looks perfect on the deck or patio. It does not get very hot in the sun but is subject to scratching, abrasion, and dents, and, therefore, requires regular polishing and impregnation. It's not hard to do: first, wash the furniture with a damp cloth soaked in a solution of water and a neutral detergent. Wait a few minutes, wash off using clean water, and then wipe with a dry cloth. Finally, wax it in several layers.

Plastic

Plastic garden furniture has a nice look and is easy to clean. In addition, it is not exposed to precipitation and very cheap. However, there are drawbacks, as well: it heats up quickly in the sun, fades, and cools quickly. You can wash plastic furniture with usual cloth and water. For stubborn dirt, apply vinegar and soap, detergent or any ordinary bleach dissolved in water. After using cleaning agents, wash the furniture with lots of suds, then with clean water, and then dry it.

Metal

Metal garden furniture, especially aluminum, is lightweight, stylish and useful. The material does not heat up in the sun and very pleasant to the touch. Metal furniture is very easy to clean – you need just a damp cloth and mild detergent.

The biggest enemy for metal furniture is rust. Apply paste wax to clean the rusted parts.

If the rust is quite difficult to remove, you can use woolen cloth and solvent. After removing the rust, thoroughly degrease the cleaned surface and dry well, then apply paste wax (car wax works well).

Cushions and parasols

If the cushions are small, you can remove the cases and wash them in the machine: separately covers and cushions. If they do not fit into the machine, you have to wash them by hands.

  1. Vacuum the cushions from dust and coarse dirt or just shake them.
  2. Wipe the covers and parasols with soapy water using a stiff brush. It is better to use a spray bottle in order to wet not the entire pillow but only places with particularly heavy dirt. So, it will be easier to dry the cushion afterwards. Instead of suds, you can use a mixture of 1 part water, 2 parts of white vinegar, and ¼ cup of baking soda.
  3. Blot wet place with an old towel and leave the cushions to dry in the sun.

If you are afraid to damage the cushions while cleaning yourself then take them to the dry cleaners.

Step Three: Clean the Floor

Paths on the patio are usually lined with stone or concrete, and the deck is covered with wood. Though, the latter can be tiled or poured with concrete, as well. It is not that difficult to clean them but you need to know some rules.

Concrete and stone

Stone paths on the patio easily get dirty and lose color, so once or twice a year, preferably in spring and summer, do a thorough cleaning of the territory.

  1. Sweep the paths with a broom, remove weeds, if any.
  2. Put on rubber gloves and dilute a detergent in a bucket of water. You can take the oxygen bleach or ordinary soap. The latter is suitable if you regularly clean the paths.
  3. Take the hose and pour over the paths with a strong jet of water.
  4. Clean the site with a stiff brush dipped in the cleaning solution. Be careful not to touch the vegetation along the paths, otherwise you can spoil them. You can cover the plants with plastic wrap when cleaning.
  5. 5.Leave the solution for a few minutes, and then again pour over the paths with water.

When working with bleach, wear old clothes as it can be painted or heavily damaged. Be careful when using bleach. Keep children and pets at a safe distance during the cleaning.

Wood flooring

Decking requires special attention, as the tree is faded and damaged much faster than stone. You can replace the cleansers for decking with chlorine or oxygen bleach. It is no less effective but it should be used with caution. It’s better to apply the oxygen bleach as it is gentler and less harmful to humans.

  1. So, you have already taken away the furniture, swept terrace, fastened the decking, and repaired the cracks. Now, you can start cleaning.
  2. Wash the deck with a strong jet of water to remove any remaining garbage.
  3. Dissolve oxygen bleach in water (use the instructions) and wipe the floor with a stiff brush.
  4. Leave the solution for 15 minutes, and then wash the deck with water of the same hose. Do not leave the cleaner on the flooring for more than 15 minutes. If it dries, the traces will remain on the surface.

After cleaning, cover the deck with a special paint that will protect it from weather influences. To check whether it is colored well, lightly moisten the flooring with water. If the water is quickly absorbed, then you need to repeat the painting procedure.

What Else Can Be Done

After the deep cleaning, it’s time to upgrade something in the garden.

Here are a few ideas:

  • decorate the garden with new plants,
  • complement it with water features,
  • make a new flower bed,
  • make a small composition of stones,
  • arrange new, unique flower pots,
  • purchase a new pair of garden figurines and a few lights on solar batteries.

These simple elements can help you to renovate the garden quickly and with pleasure.

Summer evenings are so nice to spend time on the patio, but pesky insects can spoil all fun. There is a good decision – put the plants that will repel insects:

  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Tansy

In addition, you can use most of these plants in your kitchen. So, you get not only useful but also tasty protection against insects. If you do not want to do the planting you can use mosquito net or gazebo.

Spring has already come, so do not put off till tomorrow the efforts to bring your patio and deck in order. Soon, you will enjoy the first barbecue of the season.

Author: Anna Wallace