Outdoor Surface Cleaning Blog

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Easy Tips to Dress Up Your Home for Christmas

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the decoration. I’m that person who has everything up the weekend after Thanksgiving and drives around town looking at all the lights.

If you are struggling to come up with ways to decorate your home for the holidays, here are some ideas for you to consider.

Lights. With the days getting shorter and the nights darker, lights are an integral part of any holiday display, but you don’t have to go crazy. Pick a few areas of your property or home that you want to pop at night. One thing to keep in mind is safety, nobody wants to be injured during the holidays. For example, instead of going up a ladder and hanging lights from the roof, stay inside and put string lights around each window for some definition.

Use what you have. Many homeowners already have something on their front porch, like a bench, chair or a planter. Instead of removing them for the holidays, dress them up! For example, if you have a planter on your front porch place some greenery at its base and place some outdoor ornaments on top for some pops of color. Wrap a bow around the planter itself to make it look like a present.

Garland and wreaths are synonymous with the holidays. Placing a wreath on the door instantly dresses it up and garland is a nice additional touch. If you have columns, consider place garland around it, or along railings on your front porch. If you want to add a little sparkle, grab some glittered pinecones from the local craft store and stick them in the branches or tie bows sporadically throughout the garland.

Choose what you love. Some of my favorite memories come from the holidays. Incorporating your favorite part of the season into your outdoor holiday décor is the best way to ensure that you love it. For example, I grew up in Maine and loved going sledding with family and friends after big snows. A few years ago I found an old sled that I bought to lean next to my door for the holidays. I tie some mittens with a few sprigs of holly to it and it’s perfect. My best friend hangs bells on her front door instead of a wreath because it reminds her of the Santa bells she used to hear.

The number one advice we at Renew Crew can give for your holiday decor is to make sure you love it. Have fun and we are sure you will come up with something festive to add to the holiday cheer.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The food, the family, it just doesn’t get better to me. If you are looking for some ideas to for the perfect meal, you’ve come to the right place. From the Renew Crew family to yours, we hope you enjoy.

If you are hosting friends and family this Thanksgiving, we understand that the day can be a little hectic, so keep the appetizer simple. These bite-sized goodies are delicious and easy!

Brie and Sweet Chili Cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of mini filo cups
  • Wheel of brie cheese
  • Sweet chili sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the filo cups on a cookie sheet. Cut up the brie and place small squares of cheese in each cup. Spoon just a bit of the sweet chili sauce on top (if you like spice, add more). Stick in the oven for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!

Potatoes are a must on Thanksgiving, but I’m a big fan of cooking what I can before and heating it up on the special day. Holiday mashed potatoes are the best because they are absolutely mouthwatering, but they have to be prepared at least a day in advance.

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • salt & pepper

In a large mixing bowl, beat potatoes until lumps are gone. Add cream cheese and butter until completely mixed. Stir in the sour cream, then the milk, eggs and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Beat until light and fluffy. Place the mixture in a greased casserole dish and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until slightly brown at top.

What would Thanksgiving be without dessert? Whoopie pies are one of my favorite desserts for special holidays. I make them a day or two in advance and they are perfect.

Whoopie Pies

For the cake mixture:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Place tablespoons of mixture on baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes at 350.

For frosting:

  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c Crisco shortening
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T milk

Frost the whoopie pies while they are still slightly warm and wrap individually in saran wrap.

From everyone here at Renew Crew, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep Your Walkways and Outdoor Living Spaces Safe this Winter

November means the beginning of the holiday season and the cold winter months in many parts of the country. As you prepare for friends and family to come visit this season, make sure that all your traveled pathways are safe in the cold weather.

We all know that ice and snow causes bricks and concrete to become slippery, but they aren’t alone. All outdoor living spaces, decks, porches, patios, etc. will become slippery over time due to mold and mildew. Mold and mildew build up on exterior surfaces when they aren’t properly sealed in a regular fashion. When it becomes cold and wet outside, surfaces can be slippery.

The best way to remove mold and mildew from exterior surfaces is to have them professionally cleaned. At Renew Crew, we are dedicated to not only cleaning, but also protecting, exterior surfaces with our environmentally three-step process: clean, rinse and protect. The last step is the most important in our opinion. Without protecting your outdoor surfaces, you will have to clean it more frequently than you would with protection.

As we go into the winter, now isn’t the perfect time to clean and protect your outdoor surfaces. Some parts of the country are too cold for some of the products. If you are having company this holiday season, we suggest trying one of these methods to ensure your guests don’t slip and fall.

Ice Salt. De-icing salt is one of the most common methods of not only melting ice, but also providing general traction on otherwise slippery surfaces. Make sure to read the packaging carefully to make sure it is safe for the structure material (some may damage certain surfaces for instance) and what surrounds it. There are also specific ice melts that are safe for pets and children if you have any furry or little ones playing outside on the space.

Sand. Sand is a great option for slippery surfaces that don’t require melting of ice and snow. It doesn’t have a melting agent, but it does provide grip. Scattering sand on the slippery areas of a walkway, deck, etc., or areas where you know there is mold and mildew, will give visitors more traction to decrease the chance of slipping.

When temperatures warm up again, make sure to take care of the mold and mildew on your outdoor surfaces. It will not only make your outdoor spaces look great again, but it will also make them safer in the long run. If you have questions, please reach out to your local Renew Crew office.

Leaves, Acorns and Sticks, Oh My!

As a girl from the great state of Maine, I love the fall, especially the fall foliage. The bright yellows, reds and oranges make me very happy, but do you know what doesn’t make me happy? When they all fall to ground and have to be picked up. A necessary evil is how I would describe it.

Last fall I would have described my yard has a disaster area. Not only were leaves covering every inch of our property (we have a ton of mature oak trees), but acorns were dropping like crazy (you’re welcome squirrels). Along with the falling leaves and the acorns, we also had sticks that would come down from the trees when the wind blew strongly.

While I would much rather sit on the couch and watch Shark Tank all day, cleaning up the yard in the fall is a very important task when it comes to outdoor maintenance, especially when it comes to your outdoor surfaces.

As beautiful as they are, leaves can carry and hold a lot of dirt, especially when they are on the ground. If you let them sit on your outdoor surfaces, they can become dangerous and cause stains.


The nights are getting longer which mean it gets darker earlier. You may not be able to see clearly as you travel to and from your car at night. This is where your yard debris, when not removed in a timely fashion can become a hazard. Leaves not only become slippery when wet (not to mention when they are covered with frost in the mornings), but they cover up what lies beneath, increasing your chances of slipping and falling.

Leaves, acorns and yard debris can make your outdoor surfaces dirty. They can puddle in the rain and hold a lot of dirt, dust, etc. If they aren’t swept off the deck, patio, driveway, walkway and other outdoor surfaces, the dirt elements will have more time to work its way into the material, leaving stains and spots.

Acorns can cause more lasting damage if they split open and try to work it’s way to the ground. We actually found one acorn on our property that had rooted in between two pavers. Luckily for us it didn’t cause any damage to the paver, which it could have, but instead it was just difficult to remove.

At Renew Crew, we suggest sweeping off your outdoor living spaces once a week until the leaves are no longer falling. If you do leave your yard debris to settle only to realize you need a professional pressure washing company to clean it, please call your local Renew Crew office. We are much more than your typical pressure washers. Not only do we clean the surface with our environmentally friendly products, but we also protect your surfaces against more damage.