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Time to clean the outdoor furniture

Is your lawn furniture ready to play a starring role in Memorial Day get-togethers, or is it looking a bit scruffy? Make it shine with this advice from the American Furniture Manufacturers Association:

Vacuum cushions and sponge with mild detergent and warm water, rinse thoroughly, and air dry. To banish mildew, mix 1/2 cup bleach and a squirt of detergent with a gallon of water and scrub with a soft brush. (Test first to make sure bleach won't damage fabric.)

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To remove scuff marks from vinyl straps, apply toothpaste and rub gently with a dry cloth.

After cleaning aluminum frames or wrought iron with mild soap and water, apply baby or mineral oil to textured frames; automotive wax to nontextured ones.

Use wax or furniture polish on wooden umbrella poles.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor