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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture and Grills

Forget the steel brushes, rolled up sleeves, dirty clothes, elbow grease, and toxic solvents you think you need to clean black mildew off outdoor furniture and old grime off cooking grills. Learn the easy way to get those lawn chairs and grills ready for use! The right stuff for this sort of heavy-duty cleaning job, and it is nontoxic and cheap. The answer is washing soda! Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is also known as soda ash, and it can be found in the laundry section at the supermarket. It has many uses besides being a laundry booster, and it also neutralizes and eliminates odors. Here are some old-fashioned formulas for cleaning outdoor furniture and grills.

Plastic Lawn Furniture Cleaner

1/2 cup washing soda

1 gallon hot water

Dissolve the washing soda in a bucket of hot water. Wearing gloves and using a sponge, slather the water onto the furniture, and let it set for ten minutes or so before rinsing. For stubborn stains, redo leaving the water on the plastic for an extra ten minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Mildew and Mold Cushion Cleaner

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is a broad spectrum fungicide. It is available in health food stores.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil

2 cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spot test on cushions to make sure there is no discoloration. Spray on the cushions. Don't rinse. In a few days both the strong smell of the tea tree oil and the mold will dissipate.

Cushion Cleaner

Assuming you can rinse your cushions, after you have killed the mold and mildew, spot clean cushions using the Plastic Lawn Furniture Cleaner, above. Rinse. Note: Spot test the washing soda mixture on wood furniture first. It is a powerful cleanser, and you don't want to peel off any existing wood finish.

Grill Soak

1-2 cups washing soda

Enough hot water to cover the grills

In a pan big enough to hold the grill (or the kitchen sink might work), soak the grills overnight in the washing soda and water. In the morning the grime on the grill will come off easily. Wash with soap and water, and rinse.

Source: Care2.com , Green Living Channels

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