DIY Exterior House Cleaning

Exterior House Cleaning

Everything you need to know to clean the exterior of your house.

As most homeowners know, house cleaning isn’t strictly an inside job. Once in a while, you should pay some attention to exterior house cleaning as well.

Why is that? For starters, your driveways, siding, and garage floors are very susceptible to the elements. If you’re not maintaining them, they’ll soon be covered in mildew, stains, and tire marks.

Now, exterior home cleaning comes in many forms. With such a large number of options at your disposal, it can be difficult to choose the right method for your needs.

For example, how do you know whether to use pressure washing or not? Is driveway sealing worth the effort? Which detergents and cleaning agents should you opt for?

The good news: none of these dilemmas are that complicated. Here are the main things you should know about outside house cleaning when choosing to do it yourself.

VINYL SIDING

The standard procedure for cleaning your siding is simple enough. After rinsing it with a hose, you scrub it with soapy water and rinse again. Most laundry detergents work fine as siding cleaners.

Now, what do you do if you have some mold or mildew on your siding? In this case, your best bet would be to use a standard garden sprayer and oxygen bleach. Avoid chlorine bleach, as it can strip color from your siding.

First, mix oxygen bleach with some water to create your cleaning solution. 

Mix one part oxygen bleach with three parts water in a large bucket or directly in a pump sprayer if you have one. If using a pump sprayer, spray the solution on one small area at a time, let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with a garden hose.

Before using this method please be aware of surrounding landscape and water any plants or shrubs. This mixture can burn vegetation when not done properly. 

Power washing is an option, but be careful not to go overboard. If the stream of water is too strong, it can damage stucco, masonry, and wood siding. Plus, power washing is not the most efficient way to remove mold and mildew.

If you do decide to use a power washer on exterior house cleaning, be careful with it. Start on the lowest setting, and remember to use eye protection. Ideally, you should start from the top of your house and work your way down.

These days, most pressure washing services have access to tools that allow for more control over this process. If you have a two-story house, consider leaving this task to professionals.

ASPHALT DRIVEWAYS

As you may know, oil stains on asphalt driveways are a regular occurrence. Unfortunately, rinsing them out is far from an easy task.

First, make sure you don’t use any petroleum-based cleaners or detergents. The reason is simple: petroleum solvents are very effective at damaging asphalt. Dish soaps and oven cleaners are much more suited for this task.

Want to protect your asphalt driveway from future oil stains? Consider sealing the driveway after you’ve cleaned it and let it dry for a few days. Again, you can either do it yourself or hire a professional driveway sealer.

If you choose the DIY method, remember to get acquainted with the process. Use the right chemicals, and use a roller or sprayer to spread the sealer evenly. Once you’re done, don’t use the driveway for at least 24 hours.

CONCRETE DRIVEWAYS AND GARAGE FLOORS

If you have a concrete driveway and/or garage floor, you should maintain it on a regular basis. Concrete is porous, and oil stains tend to take hold very quickly. The same goes for grease, antifreeze, and other vehicle fluids.

To remove stains from a concrete surface, cover the area with cat litter or some other drying agent. Let it sit for a day, then remove it and scrub the stain with laundry detergent. Commercial oil stain removers are a good choice as well.

If the stain persists, use a power washer and TSP (trisodium phosphate). In case you’re dealing with rust stains, wood bleach is a good solution. Apply it to the stained area, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Your final option is to use muriatic acid. Be careful, however — this type of acid will eat away both the stain and the concrete underneath it. If you do decide to go for it, remember to wear a respirator and protective clothing.

By comparison, removing tire marks from a sealed concrete surface is far easier. First, remove the sealer by scrubbing it with a solvent or chemical stripper. Once the stain has disappeared, reseal the concrete.

Why seal your concrete floors in the first place? Other than preventing future stains, the sealer makes your floor look more attractive. There are many types of floor sealers out there, from epoxy coatings to acrylic sealants.

ADDITIONAL TASKS

Your exterior house washing efforts shouldn’t be limited to your siding and driveways. Your roof, deck, and patio also need some love.

Roof cleaning is mostly about getting rid of mold and mildew. Using sodium hydroxide solutions is a good way to rinse away black streaks and other stains. This will also extend the lifespan of your roof.

Finally, give some thought to deck maintenance. As a general rule, wooden decks are prone to deteriorating without regular care. Also, sealing your deck every 2 to 3 years can do wonders against the sun and rain.

MORE ON EXTERIOR HOUSE CLEANING

As you can see, exterior house cleaning is not a day’s job.

That said, a well-presented exterior can drastically improve the look of any property. If you’re selling your house, a beautiful exterior can also serve as a powerful marketing tool.

Should you leave the exterior house cleaning to the professionals? Well, it all depends on how comfortable you are with the tasks we’ve mentioned above. Still, it’s worth noting that most house cleaning services are quite cheap these days.

Do you live in Elkhart or the Michiana area? If so, we may be the perfect exterior cleaning service for your needs. Contact us right here, and we’ll get back to you soon.

What is Soft Washing

Soft washing utilizes SoftWash Systems  superior low-pressure technology and 100% biodegradable cleaning solutions for your exterior cleaning needs.

The use of our professional grade, low-pressure applications maximizes the treatment value and is manufacturer prescribed by ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association) and GAF (North America’s Largest Roofing Manufacturer) for cleaning asphalt shingle roofs.

Soft washing is a technique that treats the infection of the stain and lets the cleaning solutions sanitize, doing 100% of the work, killing all mildew, algae, moss and lichens at the root, not just the surface, creating a longer lasting clean.  No damaging pressure, harsh chemicals or heat are needed and uses 1/3 the water than pressure washing!

Soft washing is better for your home, family and the environment!

Eco-Friendly Cleaning

100% Biodegradable, Water Based, Exterior Cleaning Solutions

Low VOC Emissions

Limited Fossil Fuels

Water Conservation – soft washing uses 1/3 of the amount of water than pressure washing

Longer Lasting Results = Less Consumed and Less Wasted

Does your Roof need to be Replaced or just Cleaned?

Did you know that it is estimated that 70% of homeowners re-roof their home way too early? Let us save you thousands of dollars by softwashing your roof for a fraction of the cost of replacement. Think about it for a minute. Your roof was designed to last 25-30 years (asphalt shingles). Why would you re-roof before it is needed and waste all that money?

Many homeowners are hesitate to have their roof cleaned because they are uneducated on the benefits of softwashing. They might have heard horror stories of fly-by night companies trying to clean roofs and damaging their landscaping or the roof itself. Frequently asked questions are “Will it hurt my plants?”, ” What do you use to clean the roof?”, or “Do you guys use a pressure washer?”

First and foremost, only allow a reputable company to perform roof cleaning on your home!

When done correctly, softwash roof cleaning will not damage your landscaping. We know that you take pride in your lawn and surrounding vegetation. Our tried and true process will only add value to your property without damage to your plant life. We use our proprietary algicidal solution to gently remove Gloeocapsamagma roof stains, moss, lichen, and other organisms that thrive on your roof. Our softwash system is specifically designed to be under 100 PSI. The softwash process relies on the cleaning solution to do the work, not high pressure.