School is officially out for summer, which means I’ve got two very active and curious kids that need entertained all.day.long. If I don’t build a bit of structure into their daily schedules this time of year, we inevitably end up with an inordinate amount of fights, complaints of boredom, and overall stress on mama.
This year, I thought I’d get smart and try to put together a daily schedule for the kids as well as a kids chore chart. This way, expectations and responsibilities are laid out right at the beginning of summertime and we can set ourselves up for success – and more fun. Plus it helps me build into the day the “alone time” I need to get my work done!
The time has come for us to restain our wraparound porch. It’s another project we’ll be tackling on our own, since we’re living rich on less around here. 😉 Considering the size of our porch, I’m foreseeing this will be no small project. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and spreading the work out over a few weeks.
Our porch wood is still in pretty good shape, with only a few small areas of chipping stain and spots of mildew. That means the preparation work has been fairly minimal. In fact, the best piece of advice I can offer regarding an exterior restaining or repainting project is to tackle it before the finish is so deteriorated that you have to spend days scraping and sanding the surface.
After researching the best way to prepare an old deck for new stain, I came up with three key steps, which I’ve detailed below. Or check out the following video to see exactly how I prepared our porch for new stain.
Step 1: Pressure wash the area to remove dirt and chipping paint or stain.
Pressure washing quickly removes dirt, loose paint and built-up grime, improving paint adhesion as a result. Use caution when spraying around windows. Also, avoid directing water up under the siding laps, and keep the nozzle at least 12-16 inches from the wood, so it doesn’t splinter it.
Step 2: Scrape and sand off any leftover chipped paint or stain.
Flaking paint must be removed or the new paint on top of it will eventually let go, too. Make sure the surface is dry first. Then with a sharp scraper, follow the grain of the wood with long strokes. Be sure to pound down any nails sticking up and follow that up with a good sanding.
Step 3: Kill any mildew.
A pressure washer and water alone will not kill mildew. Since mildew can bleed through and ruin a new coat of paint or stain, it needs to be dealt with. I used the homemade mildew wash recipe below coupled with the HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom to tackle our porch mildew quickly and easily.
Homemade Magic Mildew Wash
1 gallon water
1 quart laundry bleach
1 pint rubbing alcohol
2 Tablespoons Murphy’s Oil Soap (or other non-ammonia detergent)
After mixing this concoction up, I used the deck washer flow-through broom* to brush it on. (Remember to mix this solution outside or in a very well-ventilated room). Then I attached a garden hose to the broom and turned it on. The broom’s stiff bristles loosened and pushed the debris, while the water jets blasted the area clean.
After these three steps, be sure to let the surface dry really well. Then you are ready to apply that beautiful new coat of paint or stain! I’ll be changing the color of our porch floor and using solid color stain. So stay tuned for that project coming soon.
In the meantime, enter below to win your own HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom! It has a 13” bristle broom with water jet nozzles and a durable three-piece aluminum extension handle with foam grips. It’s a two-in-one deck washer that can also be used to scrub clean: patios, driveways, garage floors, pool areas and any outdoor space that needs deep-cleaned. Or if you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a broom here.
Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Homeright and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.
* Links to products in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing though these links will not cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content. Thanks in advance for your support.
With a curious toddler in the house who will gladly help himself to anything in our cabinets and drawers, I’ve had to get serious about ridding my home of toxic cleaning supplies and products.
Today I want to share with you a few recipes for homemade, non-toxic cleaners that really work (and smell great, too). I also have a new tool I am loving right now that cleans with water alone – no chemicals or expensive disposable cloths required! I am tickled to demonstrate that tool for you – especially because one of you luckies will get to win one, thanks to the folks at HomeRight®.
To make my favorite thrifty, non-toxic all-purpose cleaner, you’ll need the following ingredients:
1 teaspoon Borax 1/2 teaspoon washing soda 1 teaspoon natural liquid soap – I like Shaklee’s Basic H2; it’s concentrated, though, so I use less than a teaspoon. A few drops of essential oil(s) – I’m loving eucalyptus oil right now. It has a minty pine smell and supposedly keeps fleas off of dogs, which is why I originally bought it. 2 cups warm water (preferably distilled)
Mix everything and shake well. This stuff smells delightful and I feel like my kitchen is truly clean after I spray it on countertops, tabletops, the sink, etc.
Here’s another one of my favorite natural cleaner recipes:
Lemon Oil Duster
Ingredients: 10 drops lemon oil 2 Tablespoons lemon juice A few drops of olive oil
Mix everything together, spray on a soft cotton cloth, and use to dust furniture.
Now on to my new favorite cleaning tool. Check out the video below where I share how I’m cleaning everything around my home with the HomeRight SteamMachine Plus.
The HomeRight SteamMachine Plus Multi-Purpose Steam Mop is ideal for everyday, chemical-free cleaning. It heats up quickly and features a detachable hand-held steamer, which includes six attachments for cleaning, disinfecting and wrinkle-releasing. The 205-degree temperature steam at nozzle kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. The handle folds down for easy storage. The floor mop and pad are great for disinfecting hard floors, such as laminate, hardwood, tile, stone, vinyl and linoleum.
This giveaway will be open for entries until 11:59 p.m. (EST) Nov. 24. Winners must respond within 72 hours of being chosen or a new winner will be selected.
If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a SteamMachine Plus here*. From now until Dec. 14, there’s a $20 off coupon through the Amazon link above. Look for the coupon under the “Special Offers and Product Promotions” heading at the bottom.
Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post, product review and giveaway. My number one priority is to provide value for you, my readers, and, as always, all opinions (and sweat equity) are 100% my own.
* This is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy through this link, I get a small commission. You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise and you help me continue to provide free content on this website. So thank you in advance for your support.