Handyman: Do 4th of July prep before the guests arrive

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

You have a week to go before the guests start arriving for the Fourth of July Weekend Festivities at your home or cottage. Is it ready? If not, here are some things you can do this weekend to get it ready for celebrating our nation’s birth:

Get the grill in shape

We call summer parties “barbecues” because grilling is usually the focus of the event, at least as far as the guys are concerned. So give your grill a tuneup to be ready for the Fourth. First, use a portable vacuum or compressed air to clean out any debris that has accumulated in your grill and then use compressed air or a special Venturi brush to clean out those spiders that can live inside the tube that attaches to your burner and clog it up.

Next get the grill grates nice and clean by covering them with aluminum foil and heat up the grill to high for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and clean the grates with a wire brush. If your grill uses lava rocks or ceramic briquettes and you haven’t changed them in the past year, replace them with a new set. And make sure you have an extra propane tank so you don’t run out of fuel in the middle of cooking.

Time to clean it up

To clean concrete pavers that were left in their natural state, you can use a power washer and then sweep in some polymeric sand between the cracks to give it a fresh look. If you have a slab concrete patio, you can use 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner or Krud Kutter Driveway Cleaner and Degreaser to clean it.

To get your lawn furniture, seat cushions, umbrellas and awnings ready for your guests, use Simple Green and a soft-bristle nylon brush. For plastic resin furniture that has turned dull, use Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Cleaner,

Let there be light

To ensure your guests will have plenty of light so they can see while walking around your yard at night, replace the bulbs in your outdoor lights with new LED bulbs. If you have solar lights around your walkways and yard, put in new batteries and clean the photocells so they will go on when it gets dark.

Control the mosquitoes

Take preventative measures to keep mosquitoes from bothering guests. The best way to minimize them around your home is to get rid of any standing water on your property, including low lying areas of the yard, gutters, planter trays, old tires, tarps and even the dog’s bowl.

Mosquitoes also like areas with tall grass, weeds and brush, so cut your grass as short as you can and prune back bushes. Then use Mosquito Beater by Bonide Products,, in your yard to keep mosquitoes at bay for up to four weeks. When the guests arrive, place an oscillating fan on the deck or patio to help keep the bugs away.

Show your patriotism

One last thing to do is to fly the American flag. You can get a new flag or a flag pole set that you can mount to the front of the house or cottage at most hardware and home centers or a special retailer such as American Flag and Banner in Clawson, But remember, there is a particular protocol for displaying a flag and disposing of an old flag. If you are looking for information on all the rules pertaining to flag etiquette, I recommend going to

Now you are ready to crank up the grill, turn on the Tiger’s game and begin the Fourth of July festivities. And just in case your fireworks show for the kids or grandkids gets a little too hot, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a portable fire extinguisher like the Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray from First Alert, Works great on those grill and fire pit flare-ups too.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, from between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.