Staying home this summer? Make the most of your family staycation by prepping your home, yard, and wardrobe for summer fun! Here are five easy — and unexpected! — ways to ensure you’re ready for a summer of kicking back and relaxing.
Renew your grill with a foil ball.
Forget rolling up your sleeves and scouring your barbecue grill to get it clean. All you need is a piece of aluminum foil crumpled to the size of a softball, promises Cyndi Allison, author of Grilling with Foil Packets ($15.95, Amazon). “Just warm up the grill for about 15 minutes, then use tongs to grab your foil ball and simply rub it back and forth across the grates for 30 seconds — the gunk and grime should come right off.” Why it works: Aluminum is soft enough to avoid damaging the grill’s grates, yet tough enough to knock off stuck-on residue.
Clean garden tools with a sand bucket.
Garden tools looking a little worse for wear from hibernating over the winter? “Simply fill a bucket with construction sand (available at hardware stores), pour in 1⁄2 cup of vegetable oil and mix,” advises gardening whiz Larry Hodgson, author of Houseplants for Dummies ($10.89, Amazon). Then dip your trowel, spade and other tools into the sand five times before and after each use. “The gritty sand sharpens and polishes the tools while removing rust and dirt, and the oil coats the blades in a protective layer that prevents rust.”
Deodorize your cooler with baking soda.
Ridding your ice cooler of a musty or fishy odor is as easy as sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda inside and letting it sit closed overnight, says Kait Schulhof, founder of ACleanBee.com. The next day, empty the baking soda, then spray the interior with a mixture of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water, let sit for 15 minutes, then wipe dry. “Thanks to the deodorizing properties of baking soda and vinegar, you’ll be left with a clean, odor-free cooler.”
Refresh summer clothes with a damp towel.
Ready to pull on your favorite sundresses and other summer- perfect outfits, but they’re wrinkled and musty from being in storage? “Just toss them into the dryer with a damp towel, then do a quick 10-minute tumble dry,” recommends Schulhof. When the towel gets heated up, it creates steam that removes wrinkles. Consider throwing in a scented dryer sheet or wool dryer balls with a few drops of your favorite essential oil to add a lovely fragrance.
Prep Popsicle trays with a mustard rinse.
Plastic ice trays, ice pop molds and iced tea pitchers — staples for summer fun — tend to hold on to food odors. Luckily, there’s no need to wash them again and again. A mustard rinse does the job in minutes, says chef instructor Joni Sare. “Just squeeze 1 1/2tsp. of mustard and 1⁄2 tsp. of water into the container, rub the interior, let sit for two minutes, then rinse.” The enzymes created when mustard and water mix neutralize odors.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.