How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway

how to clean leaf stains off driveway
How to clean leaf stains off driveway

The changing colors of fall leaves are truly beautiful but the bright reds, oranges and yellows can stain your driveway so you might want to know how to clean leaf stains off driveway. On a gorgeous, clear fall day, bundle yourself (and your kids) up warmly and head outside to get to work.

How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway

Cleaning the leaf stains off your driveway is a great job that kids can do. Rake or sweep any leaves and debris off the area you are planning on cleaning. Periodically, take time to jump in the piles of leaves with your kids! Dispose of the leaves in compost or green waste. Use a hose with high water pressure to spray off the surface dirt. Sprinkle some laundry detergent with bleach or bleach alternative onto the driveway stains. You may find powdered laundry detergent works better than liquid laundry detergent because of its scouring ability but either type of detergent works. Let the detergent sit on the stains for a few minutes then proceed to scrub the area with a heavy duty shop broom or scrub brush.


Use the hose with high water pressure to rinse the area, taking off the soap and dirt, and stain. Be careful not to clog up storm drains with leaves at the end of your driveway or on your street

The Rest of the Driveway:

After you’ve cleaned the leaf stained areas, they will  really stand out from the rest of the driveway. You may wish to clean your entire driveway by hosing it down, sprinkling laundry detergent all around, scrubbing the driveway then rinsing.

Now relax and enjoy the lovely reds, oranges and yellows in your trees and all around you, now you know how to clean leaf stains off driveway.


How to clean off tree sap from an unfinished wood deck

How to Clean Off Tree Sap from an Unfinished Wood Deck

How to Clean Off Tree Sap from an Unfinished Wood Deck
How to Clean Off Tree Sap from an Unfinished Wood Deck

It is hard to enjoy time on your deck if it is covered in tree sap! Here’s how to clean off tree sap from your unfinished wood deck. Apply mineral spirits with an old rag. Rub the area well and then wash the area off with dishwashing liquid and hot water (approximately 1 tsp of dishwashing liquid to 1 quart of hot water). Rinse the area well with clean water.

Now that you know how to clean off tree sap from an unfinished wood deck, you can enjoy beautiful sunny summer days on a clean deck!

Barbecue info

As summer slowly arrives, the BBQ begins to take more of a focal point.  When it comes to cooking and serving meals from the BBQ we need to cautious of food safety.  Raw meats harbour bacteria that will grow in unrefrigerated conditions.  Some food left in warm sunlight before cooking, even for a few minutes, can become poisonous, as can the dish the meat is on and the hands that touch it.  To insure a safe and pleasant BBQ, be sure to keep meat refrigerated until it is time to cook, thoroughly wash platters, bowls and hands immediately after handling or contact with raw meats.

Outdoor Furniture


There are two types of aluminum furniture. Painted and not painted. The painted aluminum can be treated like any other painted metal surface. Clean it with a mild soap and water, rinse it to remove sticky soap residue, and protect it with an automotive paste wax.

Unfinished aluminum doesn’t rust, however it does oxidize. This type of corrosion actually protects the metal from the elements, however it is not nearly as brilliant as the piece looked originally. This can be rectified by using a metal polishing paste. This paste has very fine abrasives, which actually remove the oxidation. Once polished up, protect this surface with an automotive paste wax. Bad oxidation may cause pitting which looks like small specks, however the metal polish will not be able to remove deep pitting with a light polish. Alkaline cleaners will CAUSE oxidation, so avoid chemicals like ammonia (found in Windex), and TSP. If a piece is lightly oxidized (from pollution) try an acidic solution (1:1) of white vinegar and water.


Wiped regularly, store out of the sun and rain, and keep away from the elements of winter. Cushions designed for exterior household use will last a very long time. These cushions are usually made with a water and mildew resistant fabric, however continued saturation in rain water, beneath feet of snow, or soaked in beer and little Johnny’s ketchup, will drastically shorten their useful lifespan.

Fill your tub, or a large rubber maid bin or garbage can with mild detergent and hot water. If the cushions are solid white add bleach for a 1:4 ratio, to help kill any mildew. Rinse thoroughly. For colored cushions, you cannot use bleach without damaging the color, so be certain to wash these more frequently.

Dry, in the sunshine for a couple of days. This will lighten stains and help kill any remaining mildew.


Hammocks are like big outdoor air filters. They collect dust, pollution, bird and bug excrement, mold spores, not to mention the beer and crumbs you add to the fabric. When you put up your hammock for the season, spray it with two light coats of a commercial water-repellent such as Scotchgard Heavy-Duty Water Repellent. This protectant will be removed after washing, so it is a good idea to re-apply after each washing and at the beginning of the season. It will protect the fabric from becoming saturated quickly with water, and it makes cleaning easier. This is not a replacement for taking down your hammock during heavy rains, but damage is much less likely to occur if you forget to take it down during a sudden rain shower.

To wash your hammock, lay it on a nonabrasive surface like a clean wooden deck, or on a clean nylon tarp. Hose it down thoroughly and scrub it using a soft brush and a solution of warm water and some liquid dish soap. Rinse the hammock off, and turn it over, and clean the other side. Again, rinse it thoroughly, and hang it in the sun to dry. If night falls before it dries, hang it in your garage or basement.  Any moisture in a fabric can cause damage, especially when it is cool and out of direct sunlight.

Hanging the hammock in the sunshine is also the only way to bleach it whiter. Never use chlorine bleach, as it will weaken the fibers, and they are the only thing between you relaxing in the breeze or falling onto the lawn.

Metal (Iron) Cast and Formed

Iron rusts. Remembering that will drive everything you do in keeping your furniture looking good. When you wash it, check for paint damage, and the tell tale rust. If you catch this damage early, it can prevent a great deal of subsequent damage. Sand the rust off, along with the damaged paint right down to bare metal, then prime, and paint with a rust resistant paint. When washing use a mild detergent, scrub the surface gently and rinse with a low pressure hose. Dirt, and dust on the surface will hold moisture against the paint, which will lead to premature failure of the coating. To keep your furniture in good condition, the first step is to keep it clean.

The second best advice is to apply two coats of automotive paste wax, which will help keep moisture away from the surface. This may be impractical with some detailed designs, so you can also try a spray on liquid wax. This wax is not as durable, however it will easily reach into tight corners and doesn’t need to be buffed as vigorously.

Patio Furniture

Most patio furniture is made of a resin plastic, which is very durable, and inexpensive. It’s one failing is that the finish, while being very smooth, is also slightly porous, which attracts and holds stains. It is wise to protect new furniture with an automotive paste wax, to repel water borne dust and make cleaning easier. This is made all the worse when you consider the most popular color is white, and this furniture is usually left outdoors for seasons, if not years at a time. Washing these chairs in the spring, and again in the fall before you store them, will help immensely, as does storing them in a shed or garage through the winter.

Spray down the furniture with a garden hose, and then scrub with a mild detergent and warm water, before rinsing the furniture off. There are some chemicals marketed specifically for this purpose, but nothing has come close to a product called Simple Wash made by Biowash (www.biowash.com). It can be found in many large Home Centers, and if your local store doesn’t carry this product, ASK them to. Just sponge it on, let it sit or give a quick scrub for heavily soiled furniture, then rinse it off. It is environmentally friendly, so it won’t kill your grass, either.

To help brighten white furniture, set it in the sunshine for the natural bleaching effect of the sun. You can even wax these chairs with automotive paste wax. This will make water bead off, and make washing them much easier.

Bleach can be used for cleaning, however it is not good for the environment, or your new blue jeans. When cleaning avoid solvents as they can eat away the plastic and make the furniture surface a sticky goo.

Sun Shade Patio Umbrellas

Clean your patio umbrella annually before putting it into storage for the season. Wash with a mild solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water, and then rinse thoroughly. Don’t leave this task until the day the snow begins to fall, as the umbrella should be left open in bright sunshine for a full day, to be certain it is dried completely. If there is ANY moisture in the umbrella, you can be almost certain to find mildew growing in the spring when you go to set it up again.

If your umbrella is made of vinyl, and it will not come clean with mild detergent, try an automotive convertible top cleaner.


There are dozen of types of wood such as cedar, pine, spruce, or mahogany, but the ultimate wood for outdoor furniture is Teak.  Teak is very expensive, but it contains a naturally occurring oil, that makes it especially resistant to wet environments. All wood furniture is best stored indoors through the winter, and should be cleaned once or twice a year. There are some excellent products that help lighten darkened wood, as well as oils, stains, and polyurethane coatings that can add a durable protective finish on wood furniture. When washing wood, use a mild detergent, and gently scrub and rinse with a low pressure garden hose.

Painted wood can be wiped down, but avoid high pressure sprays, as it may flake off the paint entirely. With care, even outside wood furniture can last for decades.

Barbecue – Outside

Here is a question submitted by Diane:

There is a saying in the cleaning business, “let the chemical do the work for you” You need to use a heavy duty degreaser, if you are cleaning the BBQ on a regular basis then just a spray mixture of 1 ounce of dish soap and water in a spray bottle would be effective.

But if your like me (I have not cleaned mine since I bought it) you will need a commercial grade degreaser which you can get at any major hardware store or janitorial supply store and just spray on let it sit for several minutes agitate a little with a medium brush and hose off. If you can’t hose off just use a bucket and a sponge with clean water.

In some cases I have heard off people using a pressure washer to wash down their BBQ, but the way I see it if you have to use a pressure washer you may as well same yourself to trouble and just buy a new BBQ.

Backyard Fish Ponds

This question was submitted from EMEADS.

“We have a small fish pond which keeps getting an algae build up. We have a pump, biological filter and a U.V.C. light filter. Any suggestions?”

Try these techniques :

The first thing to do is remove excess debris; use a pool skimmer or make a skimmer yourself by stretching an old pair a pantyhose over a wire clothes hanger.

If the pond is really bad you may have to empty the pond and clean. Do this no more than once per year by removing fish, etc., and draining the water and cleaning the pond. Be sure to use a de-chlorinating agent for the water in the bucket or wading pool you use as a holding tank for the fish (use 50:50 fresh water and pond water).

Remove silt and debris from the bottom of the pond (it makes good fertilizer).

If you have plants, remove and place in a shady area so they do not dry out.

Use a brush to scrape down the sides.

When refilling the pond, pour half of the holding tank water in the pond to inoculate the pond with healthy bacteria for the fish; fill the pond and be sure to use a de-chlorinating agent. Be sure to reintroduce the fish slowly by filling the fish holding tank with water of the same temperature as the water in the pond. Fill the 50% you emptied in the pond and empty another 50% into the pond and then fill again so you slowing are changing the water temp.

Be sure to clean the filtration system, usually just by rinsing with water – any soap residue will harm the fish.

Be sure you have removed much of the pond water before trying to net the fish – it will be easier than trying to catch them with the water full.

You should also not clean your pond more than one per year since it take time for the beneficial bacteria to build up.

If you want to clean without going to the extreme of empting the pond then use a rake and pull the debris and scoop it out, but be gentle so you don’t stir up the pond to badly.

The easiest way to keep the algae down is maybe to increase the scavengers in the pond and regular skimming of the pond to remove leaves etc. Snails, mussels and tadpoles all remove the wastes created by plants and fish, inhibiting the growth of algae. A good rule of thumb is one scavenger per square foot of surface.

Garden Hoses

Lay the hose on a flat surface, such as the driveway, and spray off the hose.

If the hose is heavily soiled, dip a rag in a bucket of warm water and multi-purpose cleaner, and use the rag to wipe the hose clean as you are rolling it up.
In winter, you should drain your hose and store it in a dry, dark place.

Garden Tools

How can I clean up my garden tools for springtime? I have rust all over them. Thanks, Dixie

We have shrub trimmers, shovels, rakes, edgers, weed pullers, hoes, pruning shears, pitch forks, hole diggers, axes, and a hundred other tools. As different as all these tools are, they do have a few things in common. Most of these tools have wooden handles and an attached metal implement. Metal and wood can last generations if they are properly cared for. Mind you, it isn’t likely that you will be handing down your axe to your great grand children, but if you were able to keep your tools for a lifetime, wouldn’t you?
Most of this maintenance is typically done in the fall, before you store your tools at the end of the season. In the spring it can be a bit depressing to grind rust from a shovel, sand down the handle, and hone the cutting edge, only to thrust it into a pile of gooey mud.

For wooden handles, check for cracks and splinters. The handles can become rough over time, which is a precursor to splintering, and inevitable slivers. Sand with a fine 100 grit sandpaper, and treat with boiled linseed oil.

Some gardeners suggest painting the handles a bright color, so your tools are easily located in the garden. Use Marine Enamel paint, and try keeping the same color for all your tools, which make identification easier when you spot them in your neighbors yard. Bright, ugly colors are less likely to be stolen, and will add character to your garden shed.

For the metal implement, the best tip is to always keep them clean and dry. Hose them down and dry them after each use. For longer storage periods, spray the tool with WD-40, which will act as a vapor barrier, and protect it from rust. If you have a tool with rust, add a metal brush to your drill, and goggles to your face, and grind away. Most surface rust will come out very quickly. Always oil this surface, or protect it with paint (see above). Marine Enamel paint will also work well on the business end, however on shovels and hoes it will likely wear off within a season, rakes or less used tools might last a couple of years.

Most tools have a cutting edge of some kind. Even your hoe should be sharpened! Use an aluminum oxide disc on your drill to restore this edge. This is less accurate, but much faster than a file or a wet stone. Never grind for long periods, as the metal will lose its temper if it becomes too hot. If it is badly deteriorated, grind a bit, then let it cool for a few minutes before resuming.

Always wear safety glasses while working on cleaning and protecting your tools. Happy gardening!

Rust stains from a driveway

Our driveway (concrete) has rust stains from the radiator of my husband’s truck….what would be the most effective way to remove these unsightly stains?

I recently came across a product that I think might be of help to you. It is called “Rusty”. Check our their web site at www.ironout.com . They have an excellent store locator, so you can find where to purchase this product in your area.

Yards & Lawn

The yard is probably the most popular place to spend most of your time and can also be the biggest creator of summer projects.  To start with, spread the work over a few weekends so it isn’t as overwhelming.  For most, because we spend much less time outside during winter, our yards are neglected. There are exceptions, like the fortunate residents of Florida and Hawaii, but for the most part being beneath a foot of snow puts our yards at the bottom of our priorities.  Then the snow melts, and you wonder, where did all of THIS come from.  Snow carries with it, pollution and dust, which is left behind when the snow melts. The freezing and thawing cycles of winter can push rocks up to the top of the soil, crack concrete patios, and shift improperly built fences and structures.

The first task would be to survey the entire yard. Walk your entire fence line to check for visible damage.  Shake the posts to see if they are secure. Check for damaged boards, rotten posts, and evidence of mildew or fungus. There are many products available for cleaning fences and protecting them from future weathering. Some of the best environmentally friendly (safe for lawns and plants) products available is made by Biowash, which can be found at most Home Centers.

Retaining walls should also be inspected for cracks, or movement.  There should be material (ie. crushed rock) that drains well behind retaining walls, so excessive moisture does not build up and cause damage during freezing cycles. Water is also very heavy, and may stress walls if there is no means for drainage.

The best general cleaning of a yard involves removing fallen branches and twigs, sweeping and hosing down driveways and walkways. Check driveway for fluid leaks from vehicles; absorb as much as possible using a  non clumping kitty litter, or a commercially available absorbent powder. Remember antifreeze tastes sweet and attracts pets, however it can be very  fatal to pets that lick it up.


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