Maintaining a clean and attractive exterior is essential for any home. It not only boosts curb appeal, but also protects your property from long-term wear and tear. However, tackling exterior cleaning can be more complex than it seems, and even the most well-intentioned homeowners can make mistakes that can lead to frustration and even damage.

Here, we’ll explore some of the most common exterior cleaning mistakes and provide handy tips to help you avoid them, ensuring a safe and effective cleaning experience for your home’s exterior.

1. Choosing the Wrong Cleaning Solutions:

Using harsh chemicals or solutions meant for different surfaces can be detrimental. Powerful detergents might strip away paint or coatings, while acidic solutions can damage delicate materials like brick or stone. Always research the specific cleaning needs of your home’s exterior surfaces. Consult a professional or refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate cleaning solutions.

Tip: Opt for gentler, eco-friendly cleaning products whenever possible. These are just as effective but will be kinder to your home and the environment.

2. Ignoring Safety Measures:

Safety should always be your top priority when tackling any cleaning task, especially when working at heights or using powerful equipment. Wear appropriate protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and sturdy shoes with good grip. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid coming into contact with electrical wires or outlets.

Tip: If using a pressure washer, ensure you understand the operating instructions and start with the lowest pressure setting. Always work from the top down to avoid splashing yourself or nearby surfaces with cleaning solutions.

3. Forgetting to Test in an Inconspicuous Area:

Even if you’re using a cleaning solution marketed for your specific type of surface, it’s always wise to test it in a small, inconspicuous area first. This allows you to check for any adverse reactions like discolouration or damage before applying the solution to the entire surface.

Tip: Choose an area that is typically hidden from view, such as a corner or behind a fixture. This way, any minor blemishes caused by the testing process won’t affect the overall appearance of your exterior.

4. Neglecting the Power of Pre-Cleaning:

Dirt, grime, and cobwebs can act as a barrier, preventing your chosen cleaning solution from reaching the surface effectively. Before applying any cleaning products, spend some time pre-cleaning the area with water and a soft brush. This removes loose debris and allows the cleaning solution to work its magic.

Tip: For stubborn cobwebs, use a long-handled broom or a hose with a jet setting to dislodge them before cleaning.

5. Overlooking the Importance of Rinsing:

While cleaning solutions are effective at removing dirt and grime, leaving them on the surface can leave streaks, residue, and even attract new dirt. Always rinse the cleaned area thoroughly with clean water after applying the cleaning solution.

Tip: Use a low-pressure spray attachment on your hose for better control and to avoid damaging delicate surfaces.

6. Using Excessive Pressure When Pressure Washing:

Pressure washing can be a powerful tool for cleaning exterior surfaces, but it’s crucial to use the correct pressure setting to avoid causing damage. Using excessive pressure can strip paint, damage siding, and even crack windows or concrete.

Tip: Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your pressure washer and the recommended pressure setting for the specific surface you’re cleaning. Start with the lowest setting and gradually increase it only if necessary.

7. Forgetting to Protect Your Surroundings:

When cleaning your home’s exterior, it’s easy to forget about the surrounding elements. Move any furniture or potted plants away from the cleaning area to prevent them from getting damaged by cleaning solutions or overspray. Additionally, cover delicate landscaping such as flower beds or shrubs with a tarp to shield them from chemicals and debris.

Tip: Consider informing your neighbours if you’ll be using a pressure washer or other equipment that might generate noise or overspray.

8. Neglecting the Gutter System:

Clogged gutters are a breeding ground for debris, leaves, and even small animals. This can lead to overflowing gutters, which can cause water damage to your roof, walls, and foundation. Regularly clean your gutters to ensure proper drainage and prevent costly repairs down the line.

Tip: Invest in gutter guards to help prevent leaves and debris from accumulating in your gutters in the first place.

9. Ignoring Weather Conditions:

Cleaning your home’s exterior in direct sunlight can cause cleaning solutions to dry too quickly, leaving streaks and residue. Conversely, attempting to clean during extreme cold or rain can be ineffective and even dangerous. **Choose a mild day with moderate temperatures and no precipitation for optimal cleaning results.

Tip: Early mornings or late afternoons often offer the most favourable conditions for exterior cleaning.

10. Skipping Regular Maintenance:

While thorough cleaning is essential, regular maintenance is key to maintaining a clean and healthy exterior. This includes tasks like sweeping away fallen leaves, trimming overgrown bushes, and addressing minor issues promptly to prevent them from escalating into bigger problems.

Tip: Develop a routine for checking and maintaining your home’s exterior, and schedule deeper cleaning sessions at least once or twice a year, depending on the climate and surrounding environment.

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can ensure a safe, effective, and enjoyable experience when cleaning your home’s exterior. Remember, a well-maintained exterior not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your property but also increases its value and longevity. So, grab your cleaning supplies, follow these helpful guidelines, and get ready to give your home’s exterior the care it deserves!