Summertime and backyard barbecues go hand and hand especial over the holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. We are fortunate that early Fall is also a time to have people over when the weather changes slightly.

There are a few ways to prepare for the grill, clean up the furniture, and remove some of the irritating flying insects that get everyone back inside.

Organic cleaning is a preferred way of cleaning grills that can be as effective as chemicals. If using chemicals to clean grills its important to ensure all of the chemicals used are wiped away to prevent contaminating food.

Start with a spray bottle filled with a mix of vinegar and water.  After spraying a vinegar solution onto grill use aluminum foil to remove hard to remove grime residue. This make takes several applications of the vinegar solution and elbow grease. If the grill is not coming clean, us straight vinegar on the foil piece undiluted on the grill.

If you are still having difficulty getting grill racks and trays clean, put them in a large garbage sack with a spray solution of a ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Let soak overnight and the remaining gunk should come off easier with a hose. A grill brush may be needed. No more dirt, scum, dried fat residue, or ashes!

Mildew collects on our outdoor furniture every year. The easier way to clean the mildew off is with a solution of straight vinegar in a spray bottle undiluted. Most of the mildew should come off easily. For wood decks and wood patio furniture make a solution of 1 cup of ammonia, a ½ cup of white vinegar, a ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 gallon of water. For those tight corners use an old toothbrush.

If all else fails to remove grime and mildew, make a solution of a ½ cup of bleach, mild detergent, and 1 gallon of water in a bucket. Rinse with a hose and let dry. Wipe with a clean dry cloth.

Mosquitos are more prevalent during the early evening and early morning. Citronella candles and basil plants will help minimize the flow of mosquitos in your area. Make sure there is no standing water in your yard and spray with a mosquito fogger in advance of guests arriving. Catnip, rosemary or marigolds planted in your yard will deter mosquitos. Dry granulated garlic (from grocery stores) can be an answer to bad areas of mosquitoes such as trash cans, tall grass, and other moist areas.  Broadcast at 2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. in beds, turf, pots, and plants. Dry granulated garlic can repel mosquitoes for up to four weeks.


Catch the flies with honey with a DIY fly trap.  Honey placed in various places may drastically reduce your flies.     Have a great summer!


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