Caring for Your Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are made to withstand the weather, but a build-up of dirt and pollen can make them look dull and dingy. Keep yours looking fresh and clean with a few easy maintenance steps:

  1. Use your hose to rinse your rug at least once a month. Be sure to clean both sides as dirt can get trapped inside and beneath.
  2. Let your rug completely dry in the sun before returning the furnishings.
  3. If your rug needs something stronger than water, consult the manufacturer recommendations for suitable detergents.
  4. Be sure to clean your rug at the start and end of the season.
  5. When storing your rug, roll instead of folding it.

Caring For Your Deck

Lovin Woven

Summer is in full swing, and your deck is probably getting a workout. Keep the good times rolling with some maintenance. Here are three things to do this month to keep your deck in great shape:

1. Check the structure. Inspect your deck for cracks or rot, paying extra attention to areas that are close to the ground or sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.

2. If you see areas that look wet check for rot with a flat-end screwdriver. If you can push it into the wood a quarter inch or more, you probably have rot. Small areas can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood filler and preservative. Larger areas may need to be replaced.

3. Check the railings. If any area feels loose, tighten the connections. You may need to use wider bolts if the wood has weakened and the current hardware isn’t catching into the grain.


Caring For a Fountain

leaffountainThere’s nothing as soothing as a backyard fountain. Not only is it beautiful to watch; the trickling sound creates a relaxing environment. Since it’s outside, this beloved accessory can also get its share of dirt and debris. Maintain its beauty by taking a few easy steps:

  1. Use a small net to remove debris, such as leaves or insects. This will help prevent clogging the pump. You can also attach a nylon stocking to the hose, to make sure debris doesn’t get inside the inner workings.
  2. Monitor the water level. On hot days, your fountain can experience evaporation. Since the pump can overheat if the water level is too low, make sure it’s full.
  3. Once a month, unplug the pump and drain the water. Remove buildup with a solution of vinegar and water and a stiff bristled scrub brush. Wipe clean and refill. Using distilled water in your fountain can help reduce mineral buildup.


Caring for Your Patio Umbrella

Whether it’s direct sunlight that might damage your skin or an unexpected shower that disrupts your afternoon lunch, a patio umbrella protects you from the elements. When’s the last time you showed yours a little TLC? Here are four things to do to keep it in good working order:

  1. Always close and secure it when not in use. Using a cover will extend its life and reduce the need for cleaning.
  2. If severe weather is in the forecast, consider removing it from the base to protect it and the items it surrounds from strong winds that could knock it over and cause damage.
  3. Clean the frame and base with water and a soft cloth. Use mild soap as needed, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly.
  4. Remove dirt from the canopy using a brush with soft bristles. Then rinse with water. If detergent is needed, follow the manufacturer directions, rinsing thoroughly and allowing to air dry. Some models have detachable canopies; if yours does, you may choose to detach and clean it flat.

How to Care For Your Wicker Furniture

Brookstone Collection

If you love the look of outdoor wicker furniture, but thought it was too high maintenance, you need to learn about today’s resin wicker furniture. Offering the beauty of the old-fashioned material with the advancements of modern technology, modern wicker is designed to hold up to the elements without fading, peeling, chipping or splintering.

The best part is that it requires minimal maintenance. Here are a few steps that will keep yours looking fresh and new:

1. Spot clean any spills, especially drinks or tree sap that can become sticky and attract more dirt. Use water or a mixture of mild soap and water, and simply sponge clean or use a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with water, and dry with a cotton or microfiber cloth.

2. Vacuum the cushion covers to remove dust and dirt that can become problematic if left. For spots, use water or mild soap to spot clean with a sponge. Rinse with water and allow to air dry for at least an hour before using.

Wicker Carson 3. Complete a more thorough cleaning on the furniture biweekly to monthly, depending on how much your furniture is exposed to the elements. Use a garden hose to remove dust, dirt and grime. You can also use a bucket of water with a mild detergent. A good ratio is ¼ cup of mild dish soap to one gallon of warm water.

4. Remove debris from your furniture with a soft-bristle brush, making sure you get into the weave of the wicker. You’d be surprised how much dust can collect. A wide brush with long bristles can help you get the job done quickly.

5. After cleaning the furniture, spray again with the garden hose or a bucket of clean water until the soap residue is gone. Then let it air dry for two to three hours before returning the cushions.