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5 Tips to Clean & Prep Your Deck for Summer

Enjoy summer to the fullest with a spruced-up outdoor space. Get your deck, patio and outdoor furniture ready for outdoor living.

Step 1: Check the Condition of Your Deck or Patio

Cold weather can wreak havoc on outdoor surfaces. Check your patio or deck for any wear or damage it has sustained during the winter months. On wood decks, look for wood that’s splitting, twisting or rotting. Sand splintered areas with a pole sander and hammer in any popped-up nails.

Search concrete, stone, brick and tile patios for any sign of cracks or crumbling areas. For concrete, use a putty knife or trowel to apply a vinyl patching compound to cracks in multiple layers as directed by the manufacturer. Press it firmly to force the first layer into all nooks and crannies and allow drying time between layers. If your patio is tile or brick, replace any cracked or damaged tiles or bricks with new ones.

Step 2: Clean Your Deck or Patio

Sweep off loose debris and clean between deck cracks using a slender stick or tool. For concrete and stone patios, remove any weeds that may have emerged in cracks or crevices. Pull them up by hand, if possible, or a use a weed puller or post-emergent herbicide spray to get rid of them.

Use a garden hose or a pressure washer to remove dirt, dust and other material. Spray a fan of water to push dirt and debris away. Remove any mildew from your deck with a formulated deck cleaneravailable at your local True Value hardware store, or use a homemade solution of 3 quarts water, 1 quart oxygen bleach and ¼-cup of ammonia-free liquid dishwasher detergent. Add this solution to a garden sprayer and apply liberally to the deck’s surface. Let the mixture set for about 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.


Cover any ground plants near the deck with drop cloths to protect them when spraying chemicals.


If you use a pressure washer, keep the pressure setting below 1,000 pounds per square inch and hold the nozzle a few feet from the deck to avoid damaging the wood.

Wear safety glasses when using a pressure washer to avoid splashing debris into your eyes.


Remove any insect infestations. Knock down spider webs with a broom and use insecticide spray on stinging insect nests. Wear safety glasses and gloves when spraying insect nests. Also leave a clear escape path so you don’t get stung. Keep children and pets away during spraying.

When the coast is clear, knock down nests with a broom or other long-handled tool and dispose of them.

Step 3: Check and Clean Your Patio Furniture

Bring patio furniture out of storage and check it for wear or damage. Tighten bolts and screws. Wipe down each piece of furniture with damp cloths and dry them with towels. Use dish soap, water and a scrub brush for tougher dirt and stains. Add some lubricant such as WD-40 all-purpose oil to hinges and other moving parts. If your furniture shows signs of rust, brush off as much as you can with a wire brush or sandpaper. For stubborn rust spots, try a chemical rust remover, such as Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer, available at your local True Value hardware store. As always, follow manufacturer instructions carefully.


Always wear gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask when sanding and using chemicals.

If furniture is looking worn or outdated, consider re-staining or repainting it. For metal furniture, use a primer and paint containing rust and corrosion inhibitors, formulated for metal surfaces, such as True Value X-O Rust Paint and Primer In-One.

Wipe down cushions and pillows to remove dust or dirt that may have collected in storage. Check cleaning instructions on cushion fabric first.

Step 4: Decorate and Set Up Your Deck or Patio

Bring out your patio décor: outdoor rugs or matsplanterslighting and wind chimes.

Next, set up your grill for summertime cookouts. Dust it off and give it a good inspection. Look for cracked or damaged hoses that connect to gas and replace them. Inspect burners and their gas tubes and make sure they aren’t worn out, rusty or blocked by debris or spider webs. Use a pipe cleaner, toothpick, or paper clip to clear burners. Check knobs and other controls to make sure they are working properly. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. Grill replacement parts are available at your local True Value store. If your propane tank is empty, exchange it at your local True Value.


To avoid serious injury, be sure the propane tank is shut off at the grill before doing any kind of maintenance. Read your grill’s instruction manual for particular safety issues.

Remove grates and scrub them with a wire brush to remove burnt-on particles and debris. You can also use a spray-on grill cleaner. Clean the inside and outside of the grill thoroughly with hot, soapy water and a sponge or rag. Rinse with a garden hose. Let it dry. Afterward, test the grill to make sure it works effectively. For more detailed info on cleaning your grill, see the project, Prepare Your Grill For Summer.

Step 5: Refresh Your Landscaping

Touch up the landscaping adjacent to your patio or deck. Trim any overgrown branches from trees or bushes. Add fresh mulch to flower beds and around tree. Check your landscape lighting for burnt-out bulbs or damage. If necessary, add landscape lighting around the patio to accentuate its features and to provide extra light for nighttime entertaining. See the project How to Install Landscape Lighting.

Consider planting trees or shrubbery around your patio for privacy and visual appeal. To learn how, see How to Plant a Tree and How to Plant a Hedge.

You worked hard – now you can sit back, relax and enjoy lazy summer days on the patio!

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

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