Whether you’re putting your home on the market, or just want it in sparkling shape for the upcoming season, a thorough cleaning of the exterior is a project worth embarking on. Here’s how to break the job down into manageable pieces and accomplish the task without too much stress.
1. Your home. Power washing your home must be done with great care in order to avoid damaging paint finishes or making situations like wood rot or crumbling stucco worse. Be sure to use the right nozzle and the proper amount of pressure for your home. Set the nozzle to a wide angle, as the wider the angle of the spray, the less damage it will do. Experts also recommend staying at least six inches away from the surface as you spray to avoid damage.
2. Decks and porches. Start by using a leaf blower or broom to get rid of any leaves and twigs. You’ll need to use a putty knife to get in between the crevices, as debris left there can cause decay. Next, use a homemade mixture of bleach cut with water, and either scrub small areas with a scrub brush or spray the mixture over larger areas, let it soak in, then remove with a power washer. Be sure to cover and protect any nearby flowers and shrubs. After your deck is clean, apply a weather-proof sealer or stain.
3. Stone patios and walkways. Remove all furniture, potted plants and the grill from your patio, then hose it down with a mixture of water and mild dish detergent. Use a bristle scrub brush to remove any grease spots near the grill. You can also power wash with a solution of 10 percent bleach to water.
4. Outdoor furniture. Remove all cushions from furniture and thoroughly wash them. Many can be run through the washing machine, so check labels for washing instructions. Make sure they’re completely dry before replacing them to avoid mildew build-up. Scrub furniture frames with a mixture of mild soap and water. Use auto polish on metal frames for maximum shine and degreaser on grill grates and the outside of stainless steel grills. Use a heavy-duty glass cleaner on glass tabletops, as well as all of your outdoor lanterns and lighting.
The combination of the right tools and the right cleansers will have your home shining brightly from every vantage point, attracting prospective buyers at the curb and welcoming friends and family for warm-weather gatherings.