Winter is gone, despite some lingering cold spells. For us Floridians, winter isn’t too bad. Even so, our outdoor areas go into disrepair just like anywhere else. Our north-facing walls may get green with mold, our porches get covered in pollen and our grills haven’t seen fire for months.
Here are 5 outdoor cleaning considerations you should include on your spring cleaning checklist.
Patio Furniture. You can’t entertain and really enjoy your outdoor spaces without clean, comfy places to relax. That’s why your patio furniture is first on the list. Plus, once you clean the dirt from your furniture, you can clean the porch next.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Dish Soap
- Clean rags / Terry cloth
You’ll want to remove those cushions so you can clean out any debris, pet hair or other unwanted guests in and around your cushions. Use a cordless vacuum or an attachment for your home vacuum to make quick work of this job. Use a soap and water mixture to wipe off the furniture frames, whether it’s wicker, metal or plastic. Make sure to go back over everything with a damp cloth to remove any extra soap residue.
As for the cushions, use a vacuum to clean the surfaces as best you can. It’s important to really let the vacuum get in as deep as it can. If it’s not getting the job done, consider shaking or patting them out like you would a dirty rug. Depending on where your furniture lived during the winter, your cushions could be easy or difficult to rid of the pollen and dust.
Patio / Deck. If you have a back porch, patio or deck it probably needs a good cleaning before it’s ready for outdoor fun again. Depending on your patio/deck area, it can include lights, doors, windows, threshold steps, planks and more.
Here are the basics you’ll need to tackle this job:
- Dish Soap
- Old (clean) towels / Terry cloth
If you have a deck with wood planks or your patio is concrete, you may need to get a pressure washer for a thorough clean. Don’t forget about any light fixtures – they can collect dead bugs. Sweep, mop and scrub doors, windows, steps and anything else holding onto winter’s layer of disuse. Don’t forget to look up where cobwebs can accumulate. Knock them down with a broom or use your ladder if you need to.
Gutters. Cleaning the gutters isn’t the gratifying job that cleaning the porch is, but it’s more important. If you don’t clean your gutters, you could cause big problems with your home, like damage to the roof and leaks.
Here’s what you’ll need.
- Someone to help spot you
- Thick gloves
- Bag (a garbage bag works well)
It’s simple really. Place the ladder near your gutters, climb up with your gloves and bag and begin to put the leaves and debris in the bag. Avoid dropping the leaves right on the ground because you’ll just have to rake it up later.
Front Porch / Entryway. Your front porch and entryway is what visitors see first and is your home’s first impression. Make it count. You’ll need the same tools as you did for the patio / deck cleaning listed above.
Wasps and dirt dobbers love Florida front porches. Make sure you clean those eye sores away. They’re not easy, so you may need a pressure washer or a really powerful hose to blast away the dirt. Your front door can also get pretty grimey. You might not need to pressure wash it, but you will definitely need to wipe it down with soap and water.
Definitely clean the floor area. It may need a pressure washing or something gentler depending on the material. Finally, clean the threshold and check your doorbell button to ensure it’s in tact.
Windows. If you’ve cleaned the inside of your windows and they still look dingy and grey, it’s time to clean the exterior. A winter season can leave a film of funk on your windows, blocking your view of the beautiful spring and summer views.
Here’s what you need.
- Water hose
- Towel ‘rags’ / Terry cloth
- Exterior window cleaner -OR-
- Steam Cleaner
There are two directions you can go here. There are a variety of exterior glass cleaners you hook directly to your hose and spray. It’s quick, easy and affordable. Do your research and find what’s best for you. Some may have chemicals you don’t want.
In that case, you can go the steam cleaning route. There are different steam cleaning machines with an assortment of attachments. Most will offer a perfect attachment for cleaning windows. The hot steam cleans really well and requires no chemicals. There are steam cleaning products out there ranging from $50 to $300.
These are five big areas of your exterior home that should make a big difference. Here are six other areas you should consider as well:
- Garage Door
- Trash Cans (Pee-ew)
- BBQ Grill
- Screens (windows and porch)
- Walkways and Driveway (pressure wash?)
- The Garage
It’s nice to have a clean home inside but sometimes we neglect our exterior home. Take some time this spring to walk around your home, look in the gutters, clean away those cobwebs and scrub away the mold and grime that can build up. A clean exterior will not only look way better, but your home will last longer too.