You popped out of bed like a wildflower sprouting in a meadow and took on cleaning your house with energy and glee. It’s fresh, it sparkles, there’s not a speck of dust to be found and you’d be proud to invite the pickiest, eagle-eyed neighbor over for dinner. Before you shake out your floral tablecloth, remember that the outside of your house needs sprucing up as much as the inside. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get your outside space looking as good as your inside space.
It seems like a big job, but removing mildew, dirt and grime can make your siding last years longer than neglected siding. You’ll be amazed how good your house looks without dust, spiderwebs, bird droppings and mold clinging to the siding. Just grab a soft brush with a long handle and mix up a 70/30 water and white vinegar solution. Before cleaning, cover or move plants that can be affected by vinegar or cleaning solutions. Start at the bottom and work your way up, rinsing frequently. For tougher stains, general household cleansers can give you a boost in cleaning power. Specialty cleaners made for siding are available at home improvement stores.
If you have more house than time, hire a professional pressure washer. This process can damage your home if not done correctly, so we don’t recommend doing it yourself unless you have experience.
Improve your outlook with pristine windows. Take off the screens and give them a good rinse with the hose. Use a shop vac or broom to remove accumulated dirt and debris from around the window, then use a large sponge and a vinegar and water solution to clean the glass. A squeegee will make quick work of removing the liquid and leave your windows streak free and sparkling. Squeegees are a huge timesaver and most have threaded handles so you can extend them with a broom handle for better reach. Use a side-to-side motion from the top down, wiping the squeegee blade with a cloth between each pass. Clean the edges and frame with a soft cloth. For windows with multiple small panes, you can cut down a squeegee with a hacksaw for a custom tool that will make window cleaning a snap.
Sweep the threshold first to avoid creating a mud puddle when you get to the washing and rinsing. Clean the door and frame with a soft rag and a mild soap and water mix and rinse with clean water. Don’t forget the welcome mat! Shake it, beat it or hang it up and spray it with the water hose, but don’t neglect it. It’s your first line of defense against dirt trying to invade your freshly-cleaned interior.
If wobbling around on a ladder mucking your way through rotten leaves doesn’t sound like much fun, never fear, there are lots of options. There are tools available at your local home improvement store to help you clean your gutters without leaving the ground. Consider wand sprayer attachments for your water hose, claw-tipped tongs on an extendable pole to pick up heavy wet leaves, and long vacuum attachments to pick up dry leaves and dirt. If you want to make sure it’s perfect, there’s even a rotary brush/sprayer that has an attachment for a digital camera.
Keep your cool by making sure your outside condenser is getting good airflow. Spray the sides with the garden hose to remove dust, dirt and grass clippings that can accumulate over winter. This will help your system run at peak efficiency, but remember to change your inside air filter.
Since you’ve saved some energy by being so efficient, here are a few other things you might consider tackling after a well-deserved nap in the hammock:
- Deck - Sanding and sealing or painting your wooden deck will keep it nice and splinter free for years.
- Patio furniture - Most types of patio furniture just need a quick and gentle scrub with soap and water.
- Roof inspection - It’s a good idea to have your roof checked for damage or potential leaky spots after the harsh winter weather.
- Soffit, eaves, overhangs - Your trusty ol’ broom can do most of what needs doing around the perimeter of the house. A blast of compressed air will take care of the soffit vests, which are important for regulating heat and moisture in the attic.
- Driveway/walkways - Remove plants that are sprouting where they shouldn’t, patch cracks and seal your driveway to up your curb appeal.
- Grill - Give it a good scrub with a grill brush, oil the rack and treat yourself to a nice supper to properly welcome the season!