This is What Happens to a Porch When You Abandon it for 3 Months! It Ain’t Pretty!

Welcome to the 594th Metamorphosis Monday!

It was a long drive back home, but it actually passed quickly as I listened to the book, My Friend, Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, via Audible. I think the book is going to be made into a movie. Actually, it would probably make a better movie than it did a book–the book definitely drags at times where I think the movie would be pretty action-packed.

Every now and then during the drive back home, thoughts of what I might find when I arrived, crept in. I have never left my home for three solid months before. When my son and dil called in early March saying it appeared the schools there would be shutting down soon, I had very little time to prepare before leaving. A lot of states were starting to talk of blocking people from entering from other states. If I was going to help with my grandsons, I needed to leave for Ohio right away.

It was around 6:30 when I arrived home Thursday evening, so it was still light out. I glanced out at the porch but didn’t have the nerve to go out and really look at it. I knew I had too much else to do. I needed to unpack the car, get some clothes washing and sort through the mail I found in the mailbox despite having put a hold on my mail. After 9-1/2 hours on the road, I wasn’t mentally prepared for what I might find on the porch. I knew a good night’s rest would better steel me for whatever awaited.

Normally after winter has passed, I vacuum the porch and give it a good wipe down, cleaning all the molding and dusting all the furniture. That usually takes around 1-2 hours.


Midway through pollen season, I give the porch another vacuum and dusting. That usually goes much faster, taking about an hour.

Screened Porch Decorated for Summer


Once pollen season has passed, the porch gets one more good cleaning, again taking about an hour. In many respects, the porch is a lot like the other rooms in my home, needing a general vacuuming and dusting about once a month.


The next morning I headed out to the porch. Here’s how the floors looked. Ugh.


The table where I create so many tablescapes looked like this.


It was covered in three months worth of dirt and pollen.


The lamp that lives nearest the screens…


…looked like this. Ugh.


The cushions in the chairs looked dirty and dull…


…as did the cushions on the settee and swing.


I decided to ignore the filthy floor and work on the surfaces first. I got busy vacuuming the cushions, wiping down the molding, tables and hutch, and tossed the pillow covers into the wash.


I hadn’t left pillows on the swing during the winter, but these shown below were the ones that were on the settee–and now very dirty.


When I unzipped them to remove the insert, I discovered the outer covering of the insert had completely disintegrated. Sooo strange! Most of the pillows I use on the porch have come from HomeGoods and they normally contain quality, down inserts, but apparently these did not. I just ordered new down inserts, they should be arriving this week.


So how are things looking now?

The pillows came out nice and clean. I’ll be saving these to use again on the wicker settee in the fall.


These are the ones that are normally on the settee during the summer months I’ve had them for many, many years and they’ve faded out beautifully to the softest colors. I love how faded they are, they speak to all the wonderful summers they’ve lived out on the porch.


Remember the lamp nearest the screened windows?


It cleaned up beautifully.


I took the shade off and gave it a good scrub, too. I still need to clean the shade on the floor-standing wicker lamp near the swing.


The table no longer looks like this.


It’s clean and ready for a fresh tablescape, although I still need to vacuum and wipe down the chairs.


Hard to photograph, but the cushions are all looking great again. I gave them a good vacuuming, then using a rag, I lightly washed them with the Super Cleaner I’m always raving about.


I started to order some upholstery cleaner, then remembered this Super Cleaner will clean anything. I’ve used it on leather car seats to remove denim transfer stains and for so many more things. I used it to clean all the molding on the porch. Love this stuff! I just ordered another bottle, it should arrive today. You’ll find it available here: Super Cleaner.

Super Cleaner for Leather Seats Upholstery and Carpet, Works for Denim Transfer


Remember those dirty chair cushions?


Here’s how they looked after I vacuumed them and cleaned them with the Super Cleaner. And no, I didn’t just flip the cushions over, this is the side that was so dirty and dull looking.


I’ve swept the porch floor and will be mopping it today. I still need to clean the other faux wicker shade, but after that, the porch should once again look like this.

Screened Porch Dining, Summer Dining Outdoors


Leyland Cypress Update

Remember the tiny Leyland Cypress trees I planted 5-1/2 years ago? (Read that post here: Leyland Cypress Trees Offer Screening and Privacy.)

They didn’t grow quite as fast this time around as they did the first time I planted them here around 30 years ago. Back then, all the trees in the backyard were a lot smaller, thus the Cypress I planted then got a lot more sunlight.


But they have grown and now look at them! They are giving my neighbors (and me) a bit more privacy. If the trees in the backyard had not been shading them so much, they would have reached this point a couple of years ago. They are like instant trees!


Can you believe these tiny little trees are now…


…almost two stories tall! Hopefully, they will last 20+ years as the last ones did. They look nice and healthy!


It’s good to be back home but I sure do miss two rambunctious boys! My daughter-in-law, Nancy, takes them on a 2-mile walk every morning and this morning she shared a video of a neighbor kitty loving all over them. The youngest, Charlie, kept saying, “Let’s take him home, let’s take him home.” lol  The boys have the cat-loving gene, undoubtedly passed down from my son who got it from me and his dad.

Nancy’s answer was, no, they already have two kitties at home. Besides this cute kitty belongs to someone in their neighborhood.


Happy Monday to you! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters linked for this week’s Met Monday!

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  1. Hi, I’m interested in how you cleaned your cushions with Super Cleaner. Can you give more details?? You don’t need to rinse out the cleaner? What is the fabric the cushions are made out of? I have some outdoor cushions made out of Sunbrella fabric – would the Super Cleaner work on them or would it be better to machine wash the covers? Thank you!

    • If the covers come off, I would wash them in your washing machine, especially if you have a gentle setting or a handwash basket like my ancient washing machine has. The green settee cushions are around 12 years old, purchased from Pier 1, and the striped chair cushions were relatively inexpensive cushions purchased a few years back. Ideally, it would be great to vacuum them and use an upholstery type cleaning device to clean them, but since I don’t have anything like that and the covers are not removable, I decided to just wash them the best that I could with a damp rag.
      After vacuuming them, I took a wet rag, not dripping but very wet, and I sprayed a light mist of the Super Cleaner over the surface of the cushion. Then I just used the damp rag to go over and over the surface of the cushion. I rinsed out the rag several times, then got it really wet again and repeated the process of running the wet rag over the cushions. I wasn’t worried if the cushions got a little wet since they are outdoor cushions. The green settee cushions may not be designed for outdoors, but they’ve held up well on the porch for the last 12 years so I wasn’t too worried. The cushions all dried quickly in the warm temps under the whirling ceiling fans above.
      I noticed in the reviews of the super cleaner, someone was showing how their outdoor cushions had turned out, so apparently others have used this super cleaner for that, as well. I didn’t read the whole review so not sure how they did it, but just using a very wet rag worked fine for cleaning mine. Hope this helps.

  2. Oh My! What a job cleaning that porch was! But it looks great now. I covet your porch!

  3. Susan, your screened porch cleaned up beautifully, but I am sure it took a lot of TLC to get it there. Three months is a long time to be away. I know you miss your darling grandsons. Have a wonderful week!

    • Thanks so much, Pam! I really do miss them, already looking forward to when I can see them again. Hope you are having a wonderful spring…a few more days and it will be summer!

  4. Wow – what a huge project right off the bat! But Welcome Home anyway! 😉 Your porch is so lovely, and I can’t wait for the next tablescape on it!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! Good to be back home, though missing family, too. I’m looking forward to sharing a table this week!

  5. Bobbie Allgood says

    Have you used the super cleaner on your rugs or carpet? I am interested in giving it a try on my sage green carpeting . What do you think?

    • No, I have hardwood flooring in every room except my upstairs living room, so I haven’t had the need to try it on carpet, yet. Check the “answered questions” at that link and there will probably be a review or someone mentioning how it worked on carpet. If you do decide to try it on carpet, try it an inconspicuous spot if you can…just to test it. So far, it’s been great for everything I’ve used it on.

  6. Do you have any issues with down pillows being used on an exterior porch? I would think they would start to smell after being out for a bit?

    • No, I’ve never had any problems with that. They’ve always held up great. If they got soaked, maybe it would be a problem, but the rain never comes in far enough for that to happen.

  7. Aww, I was wondering what you’d find when you got home. And actually, it didn’t seem so bad. I’m sure you missed all kinds of crazy weather and storms and aside from the dirt, everything held up just fine! Glad for that.

    And I know I say it a lot, but your energy just amazes me. After a long drive like that I can’t imagine bouncing out of bed and cleaning as you did! Lol. I admire that so much. Wish you could bottle and sell that energy!

    Susan, those striped cushions look A-maz-ing! That Super Cleaner works wonders. Love those pretty flowered pillows, too. So soft looking.

    Glad you’re home safe. Sorry you’re already missing the boys. :o( (I’m seeing a cottage in Ohio in your near future) 😛 And your Leyland cypress look fantastic! I too love those trees (and have many) I just wish they lived longer and weren’t so prone to disease. But they are so full and pretty and perfect for screening.

    Well, I hope you’ll get some time to relax and recuperate before you start cooking up a fabulous tables-cape for us for Thursday. Have a great week, Susan.

    • It always amazes me how natures tries to take back over when we walk away for a minute. In a year, I may have had a tree sprouting on the porch. 😉
      Thanks, Pam! I’ve been really lucky with the Leyland Cypress. The only reason I removed the last ones were because they had reached around 25-30 feet and were completely blocking out all the light on that side of the house. They weren’t diseased but were definitely thinning out at the bottom from lack of light in that area due to their height. I hope these don’t grow too fast from here out, don’t want that issue again, although they don’t go down the whole side of the house, this time, just three trees in the backyard.

  8. Welcome home.

  9. Welcome Home! I just love your site. I look forward to it each time!
    You have so many helpful ideas and recommendations for cleaners, clothes,
    and other products! Bravo !!Keep ’em coming. 🙂

  10. Glad you made it back safely Susan, and I’m sure you were actually happy that all you had to deal with was dust, dirt and pollen, 3 months is a long time to be away!

  11. Welcome home!!!

  12. Welcome home, Susan! I know your 3 months away was much appreciated by your son and his family. Also a wonderful bonding time for those two little boys. A long day for your return. I impressed that you tackled the porch so quickly. You did an amazing clean up! The pillow transformation should be an ad for that cleaner!!!
    Enjoy your porch this summer.

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I was moving slowly the next day after all that cleaning. lol I think I’m fully recovered now, though. I know, wasn’t that amazing! I never expected them to come out looking that good. I thought I’d have to turn the cushion over, but they are looking almost brand new again. I hope you and hubby are having a wonderful spring! It’s chilly here today, I had to change out of shorts back into pants. This has been a strange spring!

  13. Susan D. says

    We have a screened porch also–at our rural farm in East Texas. Pollen season is the worst! I have to sweep and vacuum multiple times to get rid of all the pine pollen. My routine is to sweep first, then vacuum. Our floor is stained concrete–so a bit different from your lovely wooden floors. Your porch looks fabulous now!

    • That’s what I did since it was knee deep out there. lol I swept, then I just went ahead and mopped. It was much thicker than normal since it had gone undisturbed all spring.
      Thanks so much, Susan! XXX

  14. Your dedication to your family — “If I was going to help with my grandsons, I needed to leave for Ohio right away” — is your superpower.

    I mean, your Martha Stewart powers are awesome too, of course, but someday I plan to be a grandma just like you.


    • Aww, thanks Wendy! ♥ I just feel bad knowing I’m here and available but so far away, it’s hard to help. I remember what it was like being young and not having any family nearby to babysit when my son was young. I may end up going back up for a week or two this summer. Hopefully schools will reopen in the fall. I think the parents everywhere will mutiny if they don’t! lol

  15. Your porch looks wonderful now…nothing like a good scrub! I did the same routine with the screen porch on our last two homes. One good clean early in the season, another after pollen dies down, and a general swipe from then on. I loved to move everything off of the porch and hose down the floors, wipe down the screens, etc. We moved three years ago to an apartment and one of the reasons we picked this model ( besides the killer bath with walk in shower and huge closets) was that it had a screen patio. A bit smaller than the porches we had, but we were downsizing, so….And we love it. It has a concrete floor ( but a nice rug solved that issues) and stucco walls. One of the joys of living in this community is that once a year we get a “deep clean” of our home and porch. A group of 6 cleaners come in at 8 AM and stay until 5 PM. They vacuum all furniture, deep clean counters, cabinets, floors, oven, tile…seal granite…and in general make all 1720 sq. feet sparkle. They even do the screen patio/porch. BUT…since we are on the second floor there is no “hosing everything down”. They do a fabulous job and wash the floor, but I itch to get out there with a hose. Can’t do it. So…I enjoy the cleaning they do while it lasts. And, since we live right behind a nature preserve and farmland there is a lot of pollen. We try to eat dinner out there each night and we have to wipe down the table each day. But, nothing takes the place of having a cozy, screened in oasis. Thanks for sharing all your good ideas. Enjoy summer on the porch !

    • That sounds exactly like my normal schedule for cleaning the porch. Wow! That sounds like the perfect set up Ann! I would LOVE to have cleaners come in and do that deep cleaning once a year…that sounds perfect!

  16. Mary Conway says

    Glad you got home safely. I know it is a long journey, and I was wondering if the rest stops are now open on the interstate. I feel happy for you that the house and yard survived your absence. Out of all this, you got to spend 3 uninterrupted months with your precious grandsons.

    • I didn’t stop at any of the reststops, so not sure about those. I always stop at a Cracker Barrel when I need a pit stop. They are all up and down I-75 and they always have the cleanest bathrooms. Plus, I love walking around inside their little store, it gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Every now and then I find something for my grandsons or a table setting item I can’t leave behind. 🙂 The Cracker Barrels were all open, so that went well. One time I went through the drive-thru of a Chick-fil-a but the restaurant itself wasn’t open…so couldn’t use the restroom there. I only stopped twice, once for Chick-fil- and gas and another time at a Cracker Barrel.

    • Oh and yes, it was wonderful spending so much time with them. I know I’ll never forget those three months! My daughter-in-law and I get along so well, I love her so much!

  17. I understand exactly where you are coming from…we have a 2nd home up north and we usually arrive right in the thick of what we call “pollen week” ( about two weeks at the end of May and beinning of June),and the clean up is more daunting every year ( we are both into our seventies).If I am completely honest, I will say that shutting down is actually more involved….getting ready to leave in mid to late November usually starts by mid October ! Gorgious baskets of ivy get planted in their pots in hopes that some will winter over to greet another year, cushions get thoroughly dried out and moved indoors.Pots of flowers that have not succombed to the first frost are gifted to friends who are able to enjoy them for a few more weeks.Weather resistant furniture is tucked up close to the house where it huddles for the winter and wicker,lamps,rugs,and glass make their way indoors until they crowd us out for a few remaining weeks…and that is just prepping the porch!!! Each year I try to simplify this task by putting less and less out during the summer months…no more big umbrella over the picnic table, wind chimes and bird houses now live in the basement year round,and there are fewer throw pilllows on the daybed each summer and not as many lanterns set out to enjoy on summer evenings. The reality is…as we age,we adapt.That does not mean that we don’t still enjoy days on the porch with ceiling fans humming and chatting with family and dear friends as they come and go.It means we do it differently and still ennoy it just as much.

    • Very well said ! Still enjoy it just as much!

    • NeNe, I wish I was near you at that time of year, I would come over and help you get it all put back out and put back up at the end of summer. It came seem so daunting when there’s so much to do, I know you enjoy it during the summer though. 🙂

  18. Lisa Polinsky says

    Glad you are back home safe Susan!

    • Thanks, Lisa! It’s great to be home, feels so strange though to not have littles running around asking to have a book read or a snack. 🙂 lol

  19. Hi, we have a screened in porch in a backyard with lots of trees. After it’s initial cleaning in the spring I wipe it down EVERY day. I love the trees but they sure make the porch dirty. I always complain to my husband but he always says it’s just a porch! So I get it!!!! Moselle

    • Once to the pollen passes, mine stays fairly cleaning, only needing dusting or vacuuming about once a month. If it needs it more, I haven’t really noticed. I think I subscribe to your hubby’s mode of thinking. 🙂

  20. Glad you arrived home safely without any problems on the trip. Your porch is looking beautiful again! You deserve a speed cleaning award! Lol
    Looking forward to your posts as always.

    • Thanks, Mary! lol I felt overwhelmed when I first saw it but approached it one messy task at the time. I knew it would eventually be done. Wish I had Samantha’s (Bewitched) powers to wiggle my nose and have it magically all clean.

  21. Oh, that had to be hard getting back home, knowing your were leaving the family behind and having so much to do once there. Welcome home. Looks like you’ve settled in quite nicely already.

    • I tried to not think too far ahead. lol Thankfully the rest of the house was just as I left it, so the porch was the only big cleaning job ahead. Thanks, Rita! Looking forward to enjoying the summer, even with this weird partial quarantine atmosphere going on. Georgia is mostely open for business now.

  22. Mary Anne Carlin says

    Glad you’re home and I bet you are too! Question about that Super Cleaner you love so much – how do you think it will do on light colored interior chair arm rests? People (me included) tend to place their hands at the front ends to push them selves up and I’ve noticed this is starting to cause discoloring. Yuck!

    • I think it would do okay. It’s pretty concentrated so only takes a little. Is there an inconspicuous place you can kinda test it before you use it?
      You may need to do the whole arm. Sometimes stopping part way when cleaning a section of upholstery will leave a weird ring where you can see where you stopped. I haven’t seen that happen with this product, but I have when spot cleaning other items over the years.

  23. Now I’m missing your Ohio family too, with your posts on their antics and neighborhood walks. You really cleaned up the porch so quickly. It is good that your table didn’t have “Wash Me” on it, right!

  24. Thank you so much for hosting! This week I am excited to share my summer home tour and week 6 of the one room challenge! Hope you are staying healthy and happy!

  25. Susan,
    Thanks so much for hosting each week!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

  26. Bobbi Duncan says

    Welcome home! It’s always hard leaving loved ones, but there is always that wonderful feeling of “being home” after a time away. It’s grand that the boys will have such fond memories of being with you for a long time and all the lovely things you did for them while visiting. Because we suffer severely from pollen we’ve always, with the exception of our present home, had a sun room with lots of tall windows all around. It allowed us nice breezy days, yet we could keep the pollen out simply by closing the windows. Hats off to you for all that energy! Hugs!

  27. Glad you made it back home safely. Since my husband’s passing, I drive alone between Kansas City and Phoenix, and do not mind it at all… my satellite radio, sing along and enjoy the scenery….usually do it in two long days. I was wondering the source of your new down inserts….can you share, please?

    • Lee, that’s awesome that you still make the drive and have found a way to enjoy it! Love that! Audible has drastically helped me. I’ll be replacing my car next year and I’m looking forward to trying out Satellite Radio. My car is ancient so I don’t think I can have that in my current one.
      These are the down inserts that I ordered:
      They came in a “Set of 2” and arrived yesterday and I really, really like them! They came shrink wrapped or whatever it’s called. I carefully cut open the package where I found some space between the two pillows and they puffed up and filled out very quickly. I would definitely buy them again.

    • Oh, forgot to mention, I measured my pillowcases first and they measured 20″ x 20″ so that’s what I ordered and it fit perfectly.

  28. Cyndi Raines says

    So glad you are home safe and sound and didn’t encounter any issues on the highway. The porch looks wonderful and I bet it felt good to be cleaning it after being away for so long. Didn’t your bed feel great too? It is always so fun to go on vacation, but there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, haha. I’m sure the boys are missing you too. Well, you are home in time to decorate for the 4th of July. Summer is moving fast.

    • Thanks, Cyndi! It was a smooth drive this time, didn’t even run into construction, which I often do. Funny, but I had forgotten how firm my bed is. I opted for a firm mattress when I bought mine, that’s what I always like. It feels sooo hard compared to the one I was sleeping on. My back is completely confused right now. lol Yes, spring has really flown by, almost summer now!

  29. Michele M says

    Oh Susan – before I comment on the post itself – I cannot even believe the entire time you were in Ohio (nearly) you had the worst weather ever! Yuck! And as soon as you go home it is absolutely perfect – sunny, not hot or cold – perfect weather, a little breeze, no pesky mosquitos kind of weather. I am just sorry about your timing. Doesn’t seem right. Boo.

    Your porch – oh my goodness, you sure had a huge job on your hands! Glad you’re getting up to your A+ standards!

    Welcome back home. Enjoy your perfect porch. Stay healthy. Hugs.

    • I know, what’s the chance of that happening? It was rainy for so long. It did turn really pretty the last week or so I was there…very sunny so we got to do some hiking and the boys loved playing in their backyard pool.
      Thanks, Michele! I may be going back again later in the summer, not sure yet.

  30. Brenda s. Lawrence says

    I bet it feels good to be back home even though you had to face the mess on the porch. I can imagine how much you miss the family, especially the boys though. Small children bring so much life to a home. To bad y’all don’t live closer to each other. Glad you got your beautiful porch cleaned all up and can enjoy it again. Welcome home Susan! Hugs, Brenda

    • They do, they really do! I’ve been really missing them today. Thanks, Brenda! I’m so glad to have the porch back to normal. Hope you are doing great and staying busy during this crazy time in our history. I’ll be so glad when life returns completely back to normal, although that may be a while.

  31. Glad you made it home safely, Susan. I would have had to relax and unwind for a day before I handled any deep cleaning, but I know every time you glanced at your porch there is no way you could ignore it and really take it easy! That’s what your readers admire about you so much (at least I do!). I marvel at your endurance and self-discipline. I know how gratifying “Grandma Duty” can be (I’ve got 9 now), and I’m sure you’ve made some lasting memories with them over the past 3 months. Now, spoil yourself a bit…..when I come home after being “on duty” it takes a while before my radar comes down and I can relax! Take care……

    • Thanks, Rosie…appreciate that so much! Yeah, the porch thing has been on my mind for weeks so I had to knock that out right away. Wow, 9 grandchildren sounds wonderful! Love that! I miss my two already, wished I was there reading books to them this evening.

  32. Welcome back to Georgia! We’ve had a lot of rain and a lot of pollen since you left, so I’m not at all surprised at how your porch looked. I know it was a big job to clean it all, and it’s looking lovely again now – I hope you can relax and enjoy it a bit.

  33. Leigh Sewell says

    Afternoon Susan. Glad you made it back safe and sound. I haven’t seen my grandgirls since February and miss them so very much. I have two questions for you that I have been meaning to ask for awhile. First…do you have blowing rain and wind on your porch? I have found in the five years we have had our screened porch that the rain is constantly blowing through the screens and makes for quite a mess. Especially since the screens get dirty from grass mowing etc. I also have found that I can’t use a table lamp because they are constantly being blown over. Any problems with this issue? And how do you deal with them if so? Next question is about the Mopnado. Are you still loving yours or has it not preformed as you expected? I just got mine in the mail from your post and before I put it together and start mopping I just wanted to check back in with you. Thanks and again Welcome Home!!

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