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Barbecue Disasters: Summer Cleaning Series

Lazy days spent in bathing suits and breezy outfits are never complete without a meal cooked outdoors. Between the smoky smells permeating the air, the sizzle and cracking sounds of good food being prepared, and of course, the mouth-watering tastes that accompany a barbecue, this summer staple is the perfect way to round out the classic July atmosphere we all anticipate so fondly. The only problem is that barbecues can get messy, especially when you have a large number of people enjoying the food. So, continuing on with our summer cleaning series, here are a few tips to keep in the back of your mind for those inevitable spills and splashes.

1) Grease, food, and drink stains...get them off your patio!

Obviously, the biggest area you're going to need to know how to clean after a barbecue is your patio. This is often the hub of all barbecue activities, so you'll want to know how to keep it clean. The good news is that getting stains from your food and drinks off your patio floor is simple and inexpensive if you play your cards right.

To start, you will need a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent. You can also opt for a biodegradable de-greaser, but it's usually not necessary.

Once you have your weapon of choice, mix it with some water (hot water for food and grease, cold water for beverages and juices) and apply the concoction to the stain. Using a back and forth motion, rub the area vigorously with a firm bristle brush. After a moment of doing this, go ahead and rinse the soap solution away with clean water and see if any of the mess remains. If so, repeat the process until your patio looks new again.

2) Barbecue sauce, your carpet's worst enemy...

We all know the anxious feeling one gets when the day is just too hot to enjoy a meal outdoors and everyone migrates inside to eat. At that point you've put your carpeting at risk in a big way. One drop of barbecue could taint the aesthetic of your plush paradise in a heartbeat, and if someone drops a whole plate of barbecue's all over. Luckily, barbecue sauce is not a death sentence for your carpet.

Getting rid of a barbecue sauce stain begins with mixing a two cups of warm water with a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent. Yep, dish detergent is your best friend once again!

Dip a clean cloth (white) into the mixture and sponge it onto the offending spot. Continue to blot the area like this until the sauce has disappeared. Allow the area to dry throughly.

If the barbecue stain remains, you can move on to a stronger solution of a tablespoon of ammonia and a 1/2 cup of water. Blot the area as you did before until the sauce is completely gone.

3) Berries were never meant for you floors!

What better side dish is there at a barbecue than fresh summer berries. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries...they charm us with their sweet contrast to all the savory fare we enjoy off the grill. Unfortunately, the juice they create can all but ruin a vinyl tile or linoleum floor if left unattended.

To clean up after a berry spill you can mix together some washing soda with water. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the area until the stain lifts and rinse with water. Easy!

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