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March 28, 2019

Exterior House Cleaning Tips For the New Homeowner

Homeownership brings with it regular exterior house cleaning, as keeping a property's exterior clean will enhance its curb appeal and protect outside surface materials from damage. An immaculate property also improves the air quality around your house and yard, and regular exterior home cleaning can reveal termite tunnels, insect nests, and areas of the home that need repair.

Exterior house cleaning can be done with vinegar, dish soap, oxygenated bleach, or plain hot water. Professional pressure washing also removes ground-in dirt and grime, mold, algae, moss, and mildew.

If you're a new homeowner who has never had to clean the outside a home before, note a few tips on how to get this job done correctly and thoroughly. This information will ensure your entire property always looks its best, even between regular commercial exterior house cleaning services.

How Do You Clean Exterior Painted Wood Surfaces?

Be careful about cleaning exterior painted wood with overly harsh cleansers and detergents, and avoid using stiff-bristled or metal brushes. Harsh soaps can easily chip and strip paint, and stiff bristles can also cause chips and cracks along that painted surface.

To clean exterior painted wood surfaces, consider a few safe and eco-friendly suggestions instead:

  • Dilute a teaspoon of dish detergent in a gallon of warm water. Dip a corner of a scrub brush into this solution and use it to wash dirty areas of the painted wood. Next, soak a sponge in this cleaning solution and use that to wipe the rest of the painted wood surface. Rinse everything thoroughly with your garden hose.
  • For especially dirty wood or surfaces covered in mold or mildew, mix one part oxygenated bleach to three parts water, and then add a squirt of dish detergent. Mix thoroughly and then dip your scrub brush into this solution and scrub the moldy areas of the painted wood. Be sure to wash until you've removed all traces of mold and mildew, and then rinse thoroughly with your garden hose.
  • If the painted wood is not especially dirty, you might dampen it with your garden hose, and then mix a small bit of wood soap in water, according to the soap's package directions. Use a sponge dipped in this solution to clean the surface of the wood and then rinse it with your garden hose.

If these solutions don't get exterior painted wood clean or remove all traces of mold and mildew, call a professional power washing company. Specialty solvents might be needed to remove thick, caked-on dirt. Particular detergents might also be used to remove stubborn mold and mildew from cracks and chips of exterior wood decks, fences, and other surfaces.

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How Do You Get Rid of Mold Outside the House?

Never allow mold, mildew, algae, moss, and other such contaminants to grow and spread outside your home. These irritants hold moisture against a home's exterior walls, foundation, and roofing tiles, which can then lead to cracks and interior water leaks. Airborne mold spores and other such residues can also irritate your lungs and sinus cavities when you're on the home's deck or patio.

To get rid of mold on the outside of a house, mix one part standard chlorine bleach to ten parts water. Add this solution to a spray bottle connected to the end of your garden hose and spray the affected areas.

Ensure you use enough solution to soak the mold or other contaminants thoroughly. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes and then rinse this residue with plain water.

How to Clean Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is very dense and durable, so dirt and debris rarely get ground into vinyl siding; however, dust, grime, and other debris might build up along its surface and become thick and tough to clean. Vinegar is an eco-friendly exterior house cleaning solution that cuts through all that debris without causing damage to the home's exterior or your landscaping features. Note the steps needed to clean vinyl siding with vinegar:

  • Start with a solution of one-third white vinegar to two-thirds warm water. Spray down the vinyl siding with a garden hose, to loosen and remove as much dirt, mold, and other such debris as possible.
  • Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush with a telescopic handle, meant for cleaning siding in particular, into the vinegar-water solution and then scrub the vinyl.
  • Work in small sections; scrub away dirt and debris and then rinse this residue before the vinegar has time to dry against the siding.

If your home's siding is covered in extremely thick dirt, mud, grime, silt, and mold, repeat this process as often as necessary to get the siding completely clean. Use professional exterior house cleaning services if you still cannot remove all traces of mold and dirt.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Concrete?

Dirt, mud, grime, silt, sand, and other such debris can quickly settle into the pits and pores along the surface of concrete, and then get ground into this material every time you drive over a driveway! Exterior concrete surfaces are also always exposed to airborne dust, acid rain residue, and other such damaging debris. To keep your home's driveway and walkways clean, note a few tips to consider:

  • For light exterior house cleaning of surface dirt and dust, dissolve a cup of liquid laundry soap in a gallon of water and apply this to your property's concrete driveway. Use a rubber rake meant for cleaning concrete and interior carpeting and scrub the solution into the concrete's surface. Once finished, rinse this residue with a garden hose.
  • Oil stains on driveways, garage floors, and other such concrete surfaces need an alkaline -specifically meant for concrete. Hot water will also help to break down grease and oil and make it easier to rinse away.
  • Look for a cleaner containing what is called oxalic acid to remove rust from concrete driveways and walkways. Follow the package directions for mixing and using the cleanser, and be sure to rinse it thoroughly after use.
  • Citrus-based solvents remove paint from concrete with damaging the material's surface. Use this type of solution to remove graffiti or spilled paint from concrete on your property, or consider power washing the surface and having it painted over to hide those stains!

Note the pavement installer’s instructions for cleaning painted or stained concrete or any such outdoor pavement. Using the wrong cleaner or solvent on concrete paint or stain can strip that material or fade its color. If you’re not sure how to care for a painted concrete surface, call an exterior house cleaning solutions company to handle the job for you.

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Exterior Cleaning Best Left to the Pros

While a homeowner might handle some everyday, lightweight exterior cleaning on their own, various surfaces and materials need cleaning by professional power washing technicians or exterior house cleaning solutions companies. Professionals can ensure that the job gets done correctly and thoroughly and will avoid causing damage to surfaces and materials on your property, and will also ensure that you stay safe as well!

  • A homeowner should never attempt to wash a roof themselves. Being on a roof is dangerous enough, and trying to manage a broom or pressure washer while also trying to keep your balance is a surefire way to suffer a fall and serious injury! Spraying a roof while standing on a ladder can also loosen shingles and tiles, and even risk a fall and serious injury. A professional power washer will know how to safely but thoroughly clean a home's entire roof and remove all damaging soot, grime, and debris.
  • Washing windows is as tricky and dangerous as cleaning a roof! It's very easy to shatter window glass with a pressure washer, and using a garden hose or other tools while on a ladder can throw you off balance and cause a fall. Improper washing techniques will also leave behind unsightly streaks and even cause etching and scratching of exterior glass.
  • Mucking out your gutters can be done by hand, and built-up dirt and grime and be removed with a spray from a garden hose. However, if dried mud, mildew, and other such debris cannot be rinsed with a hose easily, don’t attempt to clean the gutters yourself. Using high-pressure hoses on gutters can pull those trenches away from the home's roof and also cause an unsightly mess. A professional will know how to clean gutters thoroughly without causing damage or splattering dirty water along the home's exterior.

Tips for Keeping Your Home's Exterior Clean

No matter what you do as a homeowner, the exterior of your property will need regular cleaning. However, you can help to keep it clean and reduce the amount of exterior home cleaning required if you consider a few simple suggestions:

  • Trim mature trees so that no branches hang over the home's roof. Tree branches drop leaves, seeds, twigs, and other damaging and dirty debris onto a roof, and provide a roost for birds that might then cover the roof with their droppings. Trimming back those branches will help to keep a home's roof cleaner overall.
  • Move your outdoor grill away from the side of the home. Be sure to direct soot and smoke from any outdoor cooking equipment away from the home’s exterior walls.
  • Install leaf guards on the home's gutters. Leaf guards will help keep leaves, twigs, and other debris out of the gutters so that they don't clog. Clear gutters will prevent rainwater from splashing over their sides and running down the home's exterior.
  • Get a bagged mower, or be mindful of the direction of a mower's chute. Ensure that a mower without a bag doesn't splatter grass clippings against a home or along the driveway and walkways.

Professional exterior house cleaning will also keep your property as clean as possible, and having your home and outer surfaces power washed on a regular basis will remove dirt and grime before it can get built-up and ground into those surfaces. Your new home will then look as attractive on the outside as it is on the inside.

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