The coronavirus pandemic has left individuals around the country scrambling for ways to protect their family and home from the devastating disease. Many efforts are in place to employ social distancing, sanitize commonly used surfaces, and increase ventilation, but cleaning home exteriors could also be part of the protocol. Washing high-traffic and heavily used areas with detergent should remove most germs and bacteria, and it also will leave you with an attractive, beautiful house. And in these stressful times, a clean home might be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, one study found that individuals were over 50% happier for each hour of cleaning they performed. With happiness in short supply, and stay-at-home orders leaving many individuals with a surplus of free time, there’s never been a better time to clean the outside of your home. Here are some tips for cleaning some common exterior surfaces.
There are dozens of reasons to love vinyl siding, and almost as many ways to clean it. Homeowners faced with tough, stubborn stains, or looking to disinfect the surface while cleaning it, might use a solution of laundry bleach, laundry detergent, household cleaner and water. When gardens or other landscaping is nearby, oxygen bleach is a strong solution that won’t harm plant life. For those who prefer natural and eco-friendly cleaners, a vinegar-and-water mixture will tackle dirt, grime, and light mildew and mold stains. Whatever solution you use, be sure to apply it gently. Pressure washers should be used on a low setting, and if cleaning by hand, use soft sponges or cloths instead of hard-bristle brushes or steel wool that can damage the siding.
Not only is stone veneer beautiful to look at, it’s also beautifully easy to clean. First, rinse it with a garden hose to loosen dirt, especially in deep grooves and pockets. Then, use a mild dishwashing detergent and gently wipe with a soft sponge. Like vinyl siding, you don’t want to use a wire brush as it will scratch the surface. And speaking of no-no’s, never use a solution with acid, ammonia, or bleach when cleaning stone veneer. Those products will damage the stonework and strip it of its color. Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned, rinse it one last time to wash off the soapy residue.
The most frequently used exterior surface of a home, doors are always in need of a good cleaning. If it’s been a while since the last scrubbing, you may find cobwebs in the corners and dust deep inside the grooves around the trim and frame, but neither are a match for a vacuum cleaner. Instead of spraying it with a hose, which could cause water to seep into the home, fill a small bucket or spray bottle with dish soap and warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe off fingerprints, dirt, and other debris, but make sure the solution is diluted enough to avoid damaging the paint. A small brush, like a soft-bristle toothbrush, can be used to clean around the trim and any carved features. When finished, wipe the door dry with a paper towel or cloth to avoid streaking. If you’re cleaning a stained wood door, wipe it down with furniture wax to give it a like-new shine.
If your cleaning project alerts you to a damaged exterior surface, Schaefer Exteriors can help you out. We are experienced with a wide variety of materials and products and our experts are standing by to assist with any repairs or replacements you need.