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How Car Wax Can Save Your Patio Furniture and 5 More Expert Tips That Save You Work Tidying Up Your Outdoor Living Space

No-sweat ways to get your outdoor oasis ready for summer fun.


Since your patio is the hub for summer cookouts and family gatherings, you’ll want to keep it in tip-top shape so you can entertain with ease. It may sound like a huge task to clean up outdoor yard essentials like your grill and gardening tools, but it’s easier than you think. Grilling and gardening experts share with FIRST for Women their clever and quick tips for tidying up those items. Plus, discover three ways to get your home ready for guests who want to relax in a cool, air-conditioned environment.

To Get Patio Furniture Ready: Spritz With This DIY Cocktail

Pollen, dust and grime settle on your outdoor living space furniture? Lucas Elias of advises this: “A simple solution of one gallon of hot water, one cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of liquid dish soap works wonders on even the most set-in dirt.” Simply use a scrub brush to easily apply the mixture, which is gentle enough for wood, plastic or metal. Rinse with your hose, let dry and you’re done!

To Get Your Grill Going: Clean It With an Onion

Months of sitting unused can cause rust to form on your grill. The fix: Turn the grill on high, then cut an onion in half; stick the onion on a grilling fork and rub it along the grates. “You can make this work even more effectively by covering the cut half of the onion with salt,” says Jamie Penney of The Backyard Pros . While the acids in the onion break down rust, the gritty salt dislodges gunk from the metal.

Also smart: When the grill is cool, Penney suggests spraying the interior with cooking oil, then buffing it quickly to “re-season” the surfaces.

Also smart: After the furniture dries, use a cloth to apply a thin layer of car wax. This creates a barrier that prevents dust and debris from re-settling on surfaces and wards off rust buildup on metal furniture.

To Get Garden Tools Gleaming: Bathe Them in White Vinegar

If a damp shed or garage has caused your garden tools to rust, it’s easy to get them back in working order: “Place the tools in a bucket, then fill it with a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water; let sit for a few hours,” Gene Caballero, landscape and garden expert of advises. “The acid in the vinegar helps dissolve the rust.” Once the tools are rinsed and dry, apply a light coat of mineral or vegetable oil to protect them from future corrosion.

Also smart: Store tools upright in buckets filled with sand — not only will they stay rust-free all season, the granules will buff the metal, keeping edges sharp.

Bonus: 3 Tips To Get Your Home Ready for Relaxing

1. Keep cool by tweaking a door.

Warm weather can loosen the screws on door hinges, thanks to higher humidity levels causing wood to expand. This impacts the door’s seal, which can allow air-conditioned air to escape. The fix: Just grab a screwdriver and tighten the screws on door hinges.

2. ‘Tune up’ your A/C by soaking the filters in this solution.

To clean air conditioner filters, simply remove them from the unit and soak in a solution of one part warm water and one part white vinegar. Let sit for about an hour. Once they’re dry, pop the filters back in.

3. Lift window screen grime by wiping it away.

Dust and pollen collecting on window screens can lead to some not-so-fresh air in your house when you open the windows. To lift the gunk fast, remove the screens then dampen a cloth with hydrogen peroxide; a quick wipe will clean and disinfect them.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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