Signs of spring are all around us: Flowers are blooming, leaves are budding, and birds are chirping. With warmer weather on its way, now’s a good time to clean and prepare your patio for spring. After a long winter, your patio will likely be in need of a good scrubbing, and once you’ve given it a thorough cleaning, you’ll be able to use this space for dining, entertainment, and relaxation once again.

Blow Off the Dirt and Dust

Start by removing everything from your patio, including furniture, potted plants, and umbrellas. With your patio clear, it will be much easier to clean it. To make the process go quicker, use a leaf-blower to blow dirt, dust, and debris off of the walls and flooring. Don’t forget about cobwebs in the corners and built-up dirt on windowsills. If you don’t have a blower, a broom will also work in a pinch.

Pressure-Wash All Surfaces

Next up is the pressure washer. Using a pressure washer is an effective way to remove stubborn grime that has collected on your patio over the winter. While pressure washers can be used with just water, it can be more efficient to use one in combination with a specialized detergent. An injectable detergent helps remove stuck-on dirt and can even remove stains. Spray down the walls and flooring of the patio, focusing on areas that tend to collect debris, such as cracks, crevices, and corners.

Wipe Down the Exterior of the House

Even after blowing and pressure-washing, the exterior of your house next to the patio may require extra cleaning. If this is the case, dip a scrub brush into a bucket of warm water with mild dishwashing liquid added and gently scrub the siding. Rinse away the suds with a hose or pressure washer. Also, now’s a good time to get the outsides of your windows squeaky clean. A squeegee and warm, soapy water can remove dirt without leaving streaks.

Clean and Deodorize Patio Furniture

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your patio furniture clean and free of mildew. Start by removing each piece’s cover, if it has one, and wiping away any loose dirt or leaves with a dry cloth or brush. If your furniture is made of wood, plastic, or metal, a garden hose with a spray attachment can help dislodge tough surface debris. Avoid commercial cleaners, which can be too harsh for patio furniture. Instead, use water with dish detergent or mild oil soap. If fabrics can be removed from the furniture, wash them separately. Follow all manufacturer instructions when hand-washing or machine-washing textiles.

Remove Branches and Other Overgrowth

Tree branches, overgrown bushes, and unruly plants can quickly take over your patio area. Take the time to remove this overgrowth by trimming plants back to a healthy length. Hedge trimmers work well on shrubs and tall hedges, while hand pruners are useful for smaller branches.

Prepare the Barbecue Grill

Backyard barbecues are one of the best parts of spring and summer. When you’re cleaning your patio, don’t forget to wash down your grill. If you have a charcoal grill, dump out any old coals or ash. If you own a propane grill, wipe down the outside as well as any side tables. Carefully remove the cooking grates and brush any dirt and grease from the inside cook box with a stainless steel grill brush. Before using your grill for the first time, turn your burners on high for about 15 minutes to burn off any residue.