Seasonally cleaning the outside of your home is a smart way to protect its structural integrity and improve curb appeal. You intend to clean the gutters, wash the siding, and spruce up the driveway before winter arrives. To keep both you and your home safe here is a brief list of things not to do when cleaning your home’s exterior.
Forgetting Ladder Safety
Before using a ladder to clean the gutters, windows or siding, make sure it is in good shape. Choose the right type of ladder for the chore at hand. Set it on level ground and don’t lean it against the gutters. When on the ladder, avoid overreaching, loading yourself down with tools, and operating equipment without keeping one hand on the ladder.
Skipping the Prep Work
When water and cleaning solutions are involved, windows and doors need to be tightly closed or sealed. If you’re using a hose or a power washer, plan to turn off the power to any nearby outdoor outlets that might be affected. Remove items such as patio furniture, parked cars, and toys away from siding or anywhere you will be working. Cover plants and trees that could be damaged in the process of your fall cleanup.
Use a pressure washer selectively. Using a pressure washer on the appropriate setting is fine to clean decks, fences, driveways, and pavers. But power washing aluminum gutters can dent them or loosen fasteners that keep the gutter sections in place. A power washer used on siding might push water in behind loose panels, where moisture encourages mildew, mold or algae growth. Pressure washing can also damage finishes, including painted surfaces.
You might think that because the deck and siding are made of wood, you could use one cleaner for both. But a cleaner designed to remove grime from siding might mar the deck’s finish. When using a commercial cleaning solution, ensure that it’s the right one and that you follow the instructions.
Whether you’re cleaning the gutters, removing dirt from siding, or washing windows, it’s best to do the task when the wind won’t blow spray back at you. Overspray can travel a surprising distance, landing on siding or in the nooks and crannies of wood trim, creating a nice cozy home for mold and mildew.