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 a steel wool, wipe clean and apply a wax paste to help prevent further rusting.

Source: Readers Digest

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