5 Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips

Hank Bailey
Hank Bailey
Published on March 30, 2019

Most homeowners consider spring cleaning as the project that clears the home’s interiors of winter’s nastiness. You know, the dusty (or mustiness) of a home that’s been closed up all winter long! From “mud” in the mud room, the stale odors in the basement. The scent of all those fires you’ve burned throughout the winter clinging to curtains and rugs.

One area of the home that rarely gets our spring-cleaning love is the exterior, but it shouldn’t be neglected either!

Grime on that garage door

You’ve noticed how when a home has the garage at the front facing the street, it gets noticed. It’s even more important to keep the door clean for purposes of keeping that right curb appeal.

Most garage doors today are made of fiberglass, which is an easy substance to clean.  All it takes is a mixture of warm water and a small amount of bleach, scrub brush, and a hose with which to rinse the door after cleaning. What’s even better, is to go down to your local Home Depot and rent a pressure washer. Then in addition to that garage door – pressure washers can be a lot more fun than a hose – you can clean the exterior siding of mildew, dust, and dirt that’s collected over the past year!  Especially if you live in a neighborhood where there’s been new construction going on, trust me, your exterior trim will thank you!

“Mom and Dad, are you hoarders?”

I’ve heard that before and you may have too! Now that you’ve cleaned that garage door thoroughly, your garage, when the door is closed, is a marvel for the neighbors to behold! Open that door, though, and “all that stuff” is exposed for all the world to see. I know, I got that same issue right now. With four kids, a dog, golf clubs, motorized bikes, regular bikes, stacks of stuff, etc…

Appearances though aren’t the only things that matter in relation to garage space. A garage is the ultimate storage solution for most people – especially those without a basement – whether for your autos or for personal belongings. The space though is a bit useless if it’s cluttered and disorganized. If you’re like me, your garage needs that KonMari touch.

No, it’s not exactly the most fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but get it done and make a vow with your significant other to keep it organized, and it may just be the one household task you are grateful you performed. What to throw out first?  You might enjoy this Marie Kondo video on “spark joy.”

Ew, what’s that smell? How lovely .. 

Our HOA requires that our trash cans and recycling bins be kept in our garage or at least out of site from the street. You can imagine what they smell like at the end of the week before pick up. Especially right around mid-summer after sitting, full of garbage, in a hot garage.

If you are blessed to live without an HOA and your garbage can resides outdoors, the smell at times may act as an invitation to outdoor wildlife. You know, rats, mice, raccoons, coyotes.

A great practice whether kept in the garage or not is periodically making sure you clean by using bleach to get rid of the crud and the stench.

After the bins have soaked for a little while, add water and get to work wiping down the inside. Don’t have long enough arms? That’s okay. I’ve found that an old mop works well for this job or purchase an extendable tub and tile scrubber, like this one.

Naturally, it goes without saying, you’ll want to wear gloves and a mask when working with either bleach or ammonia – they’re both can aggravate the skin and your lungs. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area.

Never, ever mix bleach and ammonia. Ever.

If you just can’t stand the thought of using either substance, consider vinegar.  Also, this is one more task that pressure washer you rented might be used for so that way you don’t have to reach down in there.  Just blast away!

Spring showers 

One of the best ways to avoid moisture intrusion in the home is to clean the gutters and downspouts. Clogged and backed up gutters can create more problems for you than just about any other spring cleaning item you have on your list. After a brisk fall and winter they’re most likely full of all kinds of debris that will impede drainage and end up backed up into the home creating leaks.

Lowe’s has produced a great video walk-through and you’ll find it on YouTube.com.

Summer is coming

Whether you store your patio furniture indoors or out over the winter months, it’s a safe bet that they are in need of a wipe down.

Remove the cushions, and hopefully, they are machine washable. If they aren’t, use upholstery cleaner (Car Guys or Resolve are both worthy to consider) and scrub away the grime from last summer!

Then get to work on the chairs, table, and umbrella.

Any energy left? It’s going to possibly be grimy and messy, but grilling season is coming just around the corner. If you have a grill, and hopefully you do, steel wool is just what you need. Scrubbing will get the mess off the grills. If you’re like me, yeah, pull that pressure washer back out and get on it!

For a more “hands on” approach, TodaysHomeonwer.com recommends using aluminum foil and vinegar. You can learn this technique, here.

The best part about exterior spring cleaning is that it can be done in bits and pieces. The part about “exterior” spring cleaning though is that after a long winter in doors, you are outside in the sun! You are interacting with the outdoors, not glued to a screen looking at that show on Netflix you binged a dozen times over.

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