Clean Outdoor Living Space

I’ve done it both ways. 
We live in the Midwest, so we see every form of precipitation and enjoy temperatures ranging from -20F to 104F, sometimes in one day.  (Okay, just kidding, but when the calendar says it’s spring, and we have a 35 degree change within 12 hours...) 
I’ve been a responsible owner that washes the cushions, stores patio furniture, and covers the grill.  Then there are years when I feel like we skipped summer and fall and suddenly it’s winter and everything is out there exposed and vulnerable to the brutal temperature changes.
The latter happened last year, so this spring required a lot of clean-up.  With each item I tackled, I swore.  Okay, I mean I vowed not to neglect the importance of being good stewards of our outdoor living spaces.  Here’s how I handled it (without swearing):

I take a gallon of COMPEL Safeguard or COMPEL Armor*and pour it into a handheld .5-gallon pump sprayer, setting the nozzle to a fine mist.  That way, I minimize the amount of product I use and it’s faster and easier to go from one task to the next.

Tables and chairs:
We have a metal and tile table that was covered with dust, grime, and thanks to the lovely pine trees, pollen.  I wet a microfiber cloth, sprayed the table with COMPEL Safeguard and wiped it down.  Look, if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t want your microfiber cloth to get dirty, just use a wet paper towel the first pass.  Then spray COMPEL and wipe with the cloth.  Safeguard cuts through the grime and leaves your table sanitary for days.  Bonus:  it will also make surfaces fingerprint resistant and easier to clean the next time!
As for the chairs, they are metal with a plastic mesh seat.  Apparently, they are the perfect perch and potty for birds.  I spray the chair (both mesh and metal) with COMPEL and use a wet microfiber cloth to wipe it down.  COMPEL leaves even the bird poop places sanitary for days.
Painted surfaces and wicker can be cleaned with COMPEL.  Just follow the above instructions.

Cushions, Rugs, and Umbrellas:
These things get unbelievably disgusting. Moisture, mold, mildew, bacteria… Wet the fabric with water, then spray down with COMPEL.  Using a brush (soft bristles so you don’t harm the fabric) or cloth, scrub the surface paying careful attention to seams, folds, and creases. With rugs, be sure to scrub along the threads rather that across them. Fully extend the umbrella and lay cushions/rug out to air dry, flipping them until they are completely dry before retracting the umbrella or placing the rug on the deck/patio or cushions on chairs, chaise lounge chairs, ottomans, etc.  COMPEL dries quickly, but drying time will depend upon the amount of water used to wet the cushions.

Maybe your grill-person takes the time to clean up thoroughly after every meal.  Or maybe, like my grill-person, you’re lucky if they scrape the grates with a wire brush between meats!  Regardless, grills are messy and greasy.  Grease is not a problem for COMPEL!  Make sure your grill is cool (not like, built in with a warming rack, steamer, and seven-color waterfall cool but more like, not hot-to-the-touch cool.)! 
Do NOT use COMPEL on hot surfaces or near open flames!!  Spray COMPEL onto weather-exposed surfaces, then scrub using a water-wet brush (soft bristles) or microfiber cloth.  For tough grease spots, it may take a couple applications.  Remove the grate, (let me emphasize- cool grate), spray COMPEL and scrub with a wire brush or scrubbing sponge then rinse.  Repeat as necessary, always rinsing as your last step.  Do NOT spray COMPEL onto charcoal, burners or around gas (propane) outlets.  To clean (cool) burners, spray COMPEL onto a wet cloth and wipe, making sure burners are dry before using.  Keep the lid off or hood open and well ventilated. Do NOT spray COMPEL into enclosed areas. If you can’t be trusted to be smart around fire (or heating elements), skip cleaning the grill, please!

Wood and composite decking:
Mold, mildew, and moss/algae thrive in wood fiber.  Treated wood tends to deter growth, but deck boards, even composite decks, can become grimy or take on a greenish color.  A power washer can remove the stuff, but you run the risk of damaging the surface of the deck.  If you want to simply clean the surfaces, spray a section of the deck with water. (We’re doing this in sections so that when you apply COMPEL, it doesn’t dry out before you get to it.)  Spray COMPEL and let it rest on the surface for five (5) minutes.  Scrub with brush or stiff broom going with the grain of the wood or composite.  Don’t scrub too hard and damage the surface!  Rinse with water. If the grime doesn’t come off completely, rinse and repeat.

Concrete and brick:
These sturdy materials don’t break down in the presence of mold and mildew, but they can still harbor dirt and grime where moss and fungus can grow, causing unsightly stains.  Wet the concrete or brick with water.  Spray COMPEL and let it rest on the surface for five (5) minutes.  Scrub with brush or stiff broom.  Rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.

Vinyl siding:
Do not wash your siding in direct sunlight.  The soap can dry before you’ve rinsed it, leaving a film or worse, causing it to fade.  Our home has vinyl siding and we generally have trouble with the shady sides.  Mold and mildew tend to grow in patches in these damp places.  Test a small section first of your siding with COMPEL first.  If there’s no residue or fading, wet the siding with water then spray COMPEL in small sections (again, if it dries before you’re able to scrub it, you’ll have to start all over!).  Scrub with a brush or cloth.  For hard-to-reach areas, put a cloth on the bristle end of a broom to scrub.

Water Toys and Floats:
Do NOT allow COMPEL to mix with chlorine or bleach!!  You’ll end up with a bright orange/brown stain.  Start with a dry surface (test to make sure there’s no chlorine residue).  Wet the toy or a cloth with water, then spray the toy with COMPEL and wipe down.  It should remove dirt and grime.  Scrub a little harder to remove stubborn stains.

Whether wood, metal, rubber, or plastic, COMPEL gets your playground kid-ready in no time!  Spray with water, then with COMPEL.  Use a wet brush or scrubbing sponge to remove mold, mildew, dirt and grime. Rinse well.  Make sure you don’t allow COMPEL to dry before you have a chance to wipe it down or it might be sticky.  NOT the kind of surface you want for the slide!

Glass and Decorative Stone:
Spray with COMPEL.  Using a wet (with water) microfiber cloth, wipe down the glass.  Buff with a dry microfiber cloth until the glass is streak-free.  Do the same for stone that has a smooth, shiny surface like granite or marble. Test a small spot to make sure it won’t damage the finish.  For stone with a natural surface, like limestone, spray with water, then COMPEL, then wipe, scrub, or sweep with a broom.

I’m sure you have something you need to clean that I haven’t covered.  Always try a sample spot when cleaning with COMPEL and make sure to use it with water.  Not only does it distribute the product more easily, it stretches that dollar a little bit further.  Have a great summer!


*The difference between Safeguard and Armor is simply that Armor has more surfactants or is “soapier.”  It will suds up more (great for laundry), but you run the risk of leaving a film on objects that are not well-rinsed.  If there is a film, simply wash it off with a wet cloth or rinse with water. Both clean surfaces equally well.

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