The outside walls are the face of your home and could make or break your home’s exterior, even overshadowing manicured lawns, beautiful flowers, and front door decor. If you’ve noticed that your outside walls are starting to look dull and grimy, then it’s time for you to take action. The longer you wait, the worse it gets and the harder you work to clean it.
That said, cleaning your outside walls is a tedious task that could take anywhere from a few hours to days, depending on the size of the building. In today’s post, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of cleaning your exterior walls, so they remain fresh, vibrant, and inviting.
Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Site
First, you want to prepare the cleaning site for cleaning. Preparation involves clearing the area, marking or removing potential hazards, and notifying affected parties. Start by closing all the doors and windows. Next, remove the furniture from your lawn, potted plants, ornaments, and anything else that can get in your way.
It’s also essential to cover any outside plants, but only after watering them sufficiently. Covering them will help prevent detergent and other harmful cleaning substances from getting to them. Use a polythene sheet to cover the plants, but ensure you remove it when you’re done.
After getting the plants, cover electrical fixtures like lighting components, electric and telephone meters, and home cameras. Exposing these fixtures to even a little water could cause costly damage.
Step 2: Clean the Siding
Vinyl siding is a staple for homes in Houston and much of Texas. It’s affordable, looks good, and is relatively easy to clean. Here’s how you can clean your vinyl siding with a few simple steps:
- Mix 3 parts vinegar with 7 parts of water in a bucket to create your home-made cleaner.
- Wet the siding by spraying it with a garden hose in preparation for the cleaning.
- Use your pump brush to spray the homemade cleaner onto the siding.
- Gently scrub with a soft brush to remove dirt, debris, and mold from your siding.
- Rinse the entire siding with cold water while the vinyl is still wet, and leave it to air dry.
If you don’t want to create a homemade cleaning solution, you can always buy one from the store. But be sure to try both store-bought and different homemade cleaners and settle for the best one.
While experimenting with different homemade cleaning solutions, avoid mixing vinegar with ammonia. The chemicals in the two liquids might react to release toxic gases that are incredibly detrimental to your health. Exposure to these gasses may cause sneezing, coughing, or burn your eyes, skin, and throat. Inhale too much of these gases, and you could pass out.
For stubborn stains like pen marks and tar, use a non-corrosive bathtub cleaner and scrub with a nylon scrub pad. This technique lets you remove all the tough stains without damaging your vinyl siding. Don’t forget to rinse with water while still wet after you’re done scrubbing.
Step 3: Get the Windows
With your siding looking spick and span, the next thing you want to get is your windows. If you haven’t cleaned your windows for a couple of months, the dust, gunk, and debris buildup will require considerable effort to get rid of. Here’s how to deep clean your windows the right way:
- Use a vacuum to remove dust from the window tracks, sills, and frames.
- Rinse your windows with a garden hose to loosen and dislodge any dirt and soak up your cleaner.
- Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add a few drops of your favorite dish-washing soap.
- Dip a microfiber cloth or mop into the mixture and scrub the sides and window panes.
- You can use a brush for stubborn stains or sticky substances on your windows.
- As for the screens, remove and spray them with a vinegar solution before air drying them outside in a dust-free environment.
When wiping the windows, remember to wipe one side of the glass horizontally and the other side vertically. That way, if there are any streaks, you can easily tell whether they’re on the outside or inside.
How to Clean Stucco Walls
Stucco is another popular walling material in Houston, popular for its durability, versatility, and overall attractiveness. However, because it’s textured, it tends to accumulate a lot of dirt and debris and is more difficult to clean. Here’s the right way to clean a stucco wall.
Step 1: Check the Stucco Surface
The first thing to do is to inspect the entire surface of your stucco wall. Check for any cracks, gaps, or unwanted openings. This process is fundamental because washing without checking for cracks could lead to serious problems down the line.
The water might seep into the cracks, creating the ideal conditions for mold and fungi growth. Mold that grows on your stucco wall not only ruins its natural appearance but could also compromise its structural integrity. Mark all the cracks and crevices with a temporary marker before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Seal All the Cracks and Gaps
Find acrylic caulk that matches the color of your stucco, mix it with water to form a paste, and use it to fill any cracks and crevices on your wall. Use sand or any other gritty substance to help get the textured look of stucco. Press it on the caulk while still wet to ensure it sticks to the surface. Let it dry while you prepare for the next step.
Step 3: Rinse With Clean Water
Wet your stucco wall by rinsing it with clean water. A garden hose or pressure washer works best, but you can always splash buckets of water onto the stucco wall. However, it’s worth noting that stucco is pressure sensitive, so don’t use too much pressure if you opt for a pressure washer. Set the pressure to 1,500 PSI or below to avoid damaging the stucco.
Step 4: Scrub the Siding
Add 3 parts vinegar to 7 parts water to create your cleaning solution. Alternatively, you could plop a few drops of liquid soap into a bucket of water and use it as your cleaner. A stucco cleaner from your local hardware store also works great for the same.
Spread the cleaner over your stucco wall and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This period is long enough for the cleaning solution to loosen all the dirt and work its magic. Next, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away the dirt gently.
Step 5: Rinse Again
Use your garden hose or pressure washer to rinse the stucco wall again. This will clear all the cleaning solution from the wall so you can have a clean stucco wall, and voila! You’re done.
Spruce Up Your Porch
A good chunk of the dirt and gunk you wash from your walls and windows will end up on your porch. As such, it’s also a good idea to spruce up your porch for a completely clean exterior. Follow the below steps to clean your porch:
- Remove large debris like leaves, twigs, dirt clumps, and others with your hands.
- Blow any remaining leaves and surface-level dust with a leaf blower.
- Wet the entire deck using a pressure washer or garden hose.
- Apply cleaning solution on the deck and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Scrub with a deck brush until clean.
- Rinse with clean water to get a clean porch.
Be careful when using the pressure water on your porch. Excessive pressure could peel the paint off your porch and damage it. If you opt for bleach as a cleaning agent, use just enough because excess bleach could leave whitish spots on your porch.
Finish With the Pavement
Cleaning the pavement should be a cakewalk. All you need to do is first clear all the loose dirt and debris with a broom or leaf blower. Next, soak the pavement with water and apply your cleaning solution. Lastly, scrub the pavement until it’s clean and rinse with clean water to finish the job.
Should You Use a Pressure Washer on Your Outside Walls?
Yes, a pressure washer is great for cleaning all types of surfaces, including exterior walls. However, you need to be careful with how much pressure you use on your walls. Use too much pressure, and you could end up damaging the paint job or the wall.
When using a pressure washer, take note of how far away you are from the wall. If you get too close, the force from the water jet may be too high and cause significant damage. Spray from too far away, and the jet won’t have enough force to eject dirt and mold.
Also, when buying a pressure washer, be sure to get one with wheels so you can move it easily. Lastly, avoid using bleach with calcium hypochlorite with your pressure washer or you might damage it.
How to Choose a Cleaning Solution
How clean your outside wall becomes largely depends on the type of cleaning solution you use. But with the plethora of options available, settling on just one is easier said than done. Here’s how to choose the best cleaning solution for your outside walls.
Check the Ingredients
A cleaning solution is only as good as the ingredients it contains. Homemade cleaners usually contain ingredients like vinegar, baking powder, liquid soap, ammonia, and the likes. Store-bought cleaners, on the other hand, contain sodium hypochlorite, enzymes, surfactants, solvents, and builders.
The internet is an excellent resource for home-made cleaner instructionals and recipes. Experiment with different cleaning solutions and pick the one that works best for you. If you opt for store-bought cleaners, make sure you check the ingredient list before buying. Steer clear of cleaners with no composition or ingredient lists.
Know What to Avoid
Some household cleaners contain chemicals that are not only harmful to humans but also to the environment. That said, it’s important to avoid cleaners with the following ingredients:
- Butyl glycol, ethylene glycol, monoethylene
- Petroleum solvents
Explore Your Options
Try as many cleaning solutions as you can and settle for the one that does it for you. Avoid label tricks like “eco-friendly” and “non-toxic,” among others. Do your homework to verify whether the labels are true or are just marketing gimmicks slapped on the labels of most cleaning products. Also, make sure you don’t skimp on your cleaning label if you want the best results.
Squeaky Clean Exterior Walls in a Few Simple Steps
Restore your exterior wall to its former glory by following the above steps. Remember, your outside walls can highlight or let down your home’s exterior. So grab your bucket, broom, and cleaning solution and get to work. Your home deserves it.
How do you clean an exterior wall?
To clean an exterior wall, you’ll need to mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap or a proper cleaning solution. First, rinse the wall with clean water before spreading the solution over it. Leave it to soak for about five minutes before scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush. Finish by rinsing the wall with clean water.
What’s the best way to clean the outside of your home?
A solution of 3 parts vinegar and 7 parts water effectively cleans your exterior walls. The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves dirt, minerals, grease, and grime. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of bleach and water, or simply mix detergent and water.
For larger homes, using vinegar may not be practical as it can be expensive to use in large quantities. Additionally, it’s best to avoid using ammonia as it has a strong smell that your neighbors might not appreciate. For large walls, using bleach, dish soap, or detergent with water works best.
How do you clean stucco walls?
Stucco walls are prone to corrosion, so be gentle when cleaning them. Mix water with your cleaning solution and gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush before rinsing with clean water. Organic stucco is particularly sensitive to abrasions; even a soft-bristled brush can cause significant damage. It’s best to leave the cleaning of organic stucco to the professionals to avoid costly damage.
Advantage Pro Services is among the leading professional cleaners in Houston and surrounding areas. Contact us today if you need help cleaning your exterior walls and the rest of your home.