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Flip-Flops, Pool Toys, Beach Towels: How to Make All Your Summer Essentials Last Longer

Properly clean your summer items after a long summer of use to ensure use for another season.


Pool toys

Pool toys can get moldy after a summer in the water. Throughout the summer ring them out after daily use. At the end of the season, use a mixture of water and vinegar to scrub them down and then rinse with water. Lay them out in the sun to dry and store them away. These 23 life hacks will make your summer a breeze.


Patio furniture

Patio furniture can wear down and lose color or shine because of exposure to the sun and elements; cushions can grow mold. Clean the dirt and grime off of furniture by scrubbing them down with a brush using a cleaning mixture of either baking soda and water, or vinegar and water. To clean the cushions, scrub them with soap and water and leave them out in the sun to dry. Store cushions for the fall and winter seasons in a trash bag in a dry place. Here are more easy tips for cleaning patio and lawn furniture.



Grills are covered in left over food and grime at the end of the season. Remove the grate and let it soak in soapy water. Then use a cleaner to remove stains and buildup with a wire brush. Rinse the grill down with a hose. Once the grill is dry, cover it with an all-weather cover. These are grilling mistakes even seasoned BBQ cooks still make.



Bikes rust easily, especially if they’ve been used around salt water. Wipe down the chain, seat, handlebars, and pedals with a damp cloth. Rinse down the bike completely with a hose. Let it dry in the sun and then store in your shed or garage.

iStock/Lisa Thornberg

Gardening tools

Gardening tools can attract moisture, causing them to rust. To wick away moisture, store them in a bucket with sand, handles up. Before storing them rinse and wipe them down with soap and water. Check out these tips to get the most out of your gardening tools.


Beach towels

At the end of the season thoroughly wash your towels to keep them fresh for next summer. Along with detergent, put ¼ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda in the washing machine and use hot water. Avoid using fabric softener and dryer sheets because they can decrease the absorbency of the fabric. Fold and store.


Bathing suit

It’s important not to wash your bathing suit after each use; this can prematurely wear it out. Soak it in cold water after each use instead of washing. At the end of the summer wash your suits on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. A helpful tip is to use a lingerie bag to keep your straps and padding in place. Then let them air dry. Follow these exact steps to clean and care for your bathing suits.

iStock/Alina Silzeviciute


Soak your flip-flops in a bathtub with soap or laundry detergent and use a brush to remove dirt or stains. If your flip-flops are a little fancier, use a damp cloth to target dirty areas by scrubbing.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.