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Fall: Use Your Patio in the Winter

Learn how to prepare your deck or patio for cold, wet weather and keep it in good condition for  next spring. 


Most of the fall is devoted to preparing for winter. Whether you’re enjoying clear skies and enjoying the few sunny days left, or making the most of your garden before frost sets in, we all instinctively know we need to prepare for the darker, wetter and colder days ahead. 

Learn how to prepare your deck or patio for cold, wet weather and keep it in good condition for  next spring.

If you are a homeowner, this includes preparing your home for inclement weather. Those with an outdoor patio have a lot to consider. From storage to cleaning, these eight tips will help you get everything on your patio ready and waiting for warm weather to arrive. 


Clean and store your patio furniture.

If you’re packing your patio furniture for the winter, be  sure to clean it thoroughly to prevent it from getting dirty for the next six months. But you don’t have to try too hard. More dust and dirt will accumulate before next summer. 

First, wipe off any dust and crumbs on the table and chairs and spray them with water. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them indoors or covering them with patio furniture covers.  Tie each cover to a furniture leg to secure it in place. 


Rub the patio cushions.

Cushions can become a breeding ground for all kinds of dust. Wipe down all outdoor cushions with a sponge soaked in soapy water, wiping down any areas that need to be removed. Allow to dry completely for a few days to ensure no moisture remains. 

If you find mold when cleaning your cushions, place them in sunlight. Once the cushion is dry, use a dry sponge to wipe away any loose spores. For particularly stubborn stains, rub in a few drops of bleach, then wash and rinse after a few minutes. After washing and drying well, wrap the cushion in an old sheet or trash bag and store it inside. 


Clean the grill.

First, fire up the grill for a few minutes to burn off any remaining residue. Turn off and use a wire brush or aluminum foil ball to scrape off any excess bits. Remove the grease trap, wash it in the sink with dish soap, and then wipe down all exterior surfaces of the grill with soapy water and soap. 

If you have a portable grill and plan to move it indoors for the winter, disconnect the propane tank.  This tank should never be stored inside. Cover the tank loosely with a large plastic bag and store it in a safe location outside. If you leave your grill outside, make sure everything is turned off and covered. 


Store garden tools and accessories.

If you have small potted plants that you don’t want to bring indoors, throw them in the compost. In general, it’s a good idea to start fresh next year. Turn large empty containers upside down to prevent water from pooling inside. Twist the hose to loosen it and roll it neatly into a circle to prevent it from breaking. 


Clean your hammock.

Remove the hammock from the hooks, lay it flat, and scrub it with warm water and dish soap. Rinse and hang to dry. Do not use bleach on your hammock. This can cause the fibers to wear out, creating a safety hazard. 


Clean the umbrella thoroughly before storing it.

Cleaning an umbrella can be a bit tricky. If there is dust or pollen on it, dust it off and store it indoors until summer. If you need a light 

scrubbing, wash it off with dishwashing detergent and a sponge. If you have a plastic umbrella,  you can use convertible car top cleaner. 

After washing your umbrella, let it dry completely in the sun for a few days. To prevent mold, do not store the umbrella even if it is slightly wet! 


Refresh your patio floor.

It’s always a good idea to remove summer sand from your patio before winter sets in. Power washing your patio floor or using a hose with an attachment nozzle will help remove any accumulated dirt and debris. 


Keep using it!

If you live somewhere with nice winter weather, you can make good use of your patio all winter long. Keep everything covered to avoid getting dirty or wet. However, do not store furniture so that it can be used immediately. Consider using an outdoor patio heater and packing a  few blankets for active evenings outdoors. 

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