Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime

Cleaning Up Your Act…for Summer

Ah – summer…does it get any better? The grass is green, the sun is shining and you’re ready to eat. Until you take a long hard look at your grill which is almost as disturbing as looking at the commercials for Tori Spelling’s reality show – which begs the question about what, exactly, defines a reality show because it’s not the hair, the tan, the full-face of make-up or Tori reading (she can read?) to her children so I am flummoxed. But it doesn’t matter because it’s summer and we shouldn’t be watching TV anyway.

There is spring cleaning and then there is summer cleaning. Summer cleaning is way better because you can drink margaritas during the endeavor without judgment.  Summer cleaning involves the grill, the patio furniture, the cooler and (the next day) the margarita glasses. Let’s start with the basics:

The Grill
Turn up the heat and use a long-handled metal brush dipped in water to clean all the grates. Once grates cool, wipe them clean with a hot towel. To remove rust spots, the wire wheel attachment of an electric grill works wonders – though you should definitely put down your drink before attempting this. God forbid it spill.

Wipe the marg salt off your hands and climb that rusty old ladder you swore you were going to replace. Sweep dust and debris off awnings and, using a stiff brush, scrub the material with warm water and dish detergent. If stains persist, sprinkle the entire surface with baking soda and allow material to sit for ten minutes. To remove mildew, concoct a solution of one part bleach and three parts water and allow to dry in the sun.

Outdoor Furniture:
Vacuum or dust with a soft brush and gently scrub with a solution of 1/4 cup Borax and 1 tablespoon of dish detergent and warm water. Rinse and allow to air dry. Coat furniture with lemon oil to avoid drying out the bamboo. Coat the rim of your glass with lime and whip up another frothy batch of cocktails.

Iron Garden Furniture
Use a commercial rust remover to attack rust spots then prime and paint with a rust-resistant exterior paint. Oil the hinges often to avoid rust.

If wicker is sealed or painted you should only need to dust it. If wicker is starting to crack, coat with a light coat of lemon oil. Once a year, wash the wicker with warm water and a bit of detergent and allow it to dry thoroughly in the sun.

If you’re lucky enough to have a new wood deck waiting for you, don’t ruin it by treating it too soon. Decks, like step-children, need some time to get acclimated. Wait at least a month before treating a new deck with any product. Older decks should be cleaned and treated every few years. Start by washing the deck with an oxygen-based bleach (such as StainSolver – a fab product that can be used for lots of different projects – even margarita stains on the carpet!). Allow the deck to dry for at least 72 hours before treating it with a coating of your choice. Clear finishes will have to be re-applied every year; opaque finishes block out the sun’s rays and only need to be applied every four years. Consider this – do you want to re-stain your deck every summer? That’s what I thought.

Happy sunning – Cheers,

Stephanie Blackford
Marketing Director, Epicurean Culinary Group


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