It all looked like a picture from HGTV in May, but now your patio and lawn furniture have lost their sparkle and shine from early spring! Don't worry – here are some easy tricks to get them back to picture perfect as we finish out the summer.

It all looked like a picture from HGTV in May, but now your patio and lawn furniture have lost their sparkle and shine from early spring! Don’t worry – here are some easy tricks to get them back to picture perfect as we finish out the summer.

Since we live in a hot, humid climate, you’re probably seeing mildew on your wooden decks and patio furniture. But, before you reach for the bleach, try these milder vinegar-based solutions:

Keep some full-strength white vinegar in a recycled spray bottle and use it wherever you see any mildew growth. The stain will wipe right off most surfaces, and the vinegar will keep it from coming back for a while.

Remove mildew from wood decks and wood patio furniture by sponging them off with a solution of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda mixed in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Keep an old toothbrush on hand to work the solution into corners and other tight spaces.

To deodorize and inhibit mildew growth on outdoor plastic mesh furniture and patio umbrellas, mix 2 cups white vinegar and 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap in a bucket of hot water. Use a soft brush to work it into the grooves of the plastic as well as for scrubbing seat pads and umbrella fabric. Rinse with cold water; then dry in the sun.

Try WD-40 to add the shine back to your outdoor plastic items.  Simply spray and wipe with a clean towel. For metal furniture, rusting can be an issue.  Simply clean with steel wool, wipe clean and apply a wax paste to help prevent further rusting.

The Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, national origin, disability, marital or veteran status, or another other legally protected status.  OCES provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.