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Ways to Make Your Exterior Shine

Nothing attracts attention more than a clean and bright exterior on a home. In fact, most real estate agents swear that prospective buyers make their decision about a home in the first few seconds they see it, from the outside! That means curb appeal is essential.

As the weather heats up and we all get that urge to clean out our homes, it is important to take a look at how your own home looks from the curb, and the backyard. You may not be selling any time soon, but your neighbors may be and, believe it or not, the way your home looks may affect their sale! So be a good neighbor and clean it up. Here are some helpful hints to make your place shine. Of course, cleaning is just the first step. You will also need to weed, seed and focus on your general landscaping if you want to make the best impression.

You will want to gather your tools before you begin. Here is what you should have for a complete outside shine:

  • Several soft scrub brushes in different sizes
  • Sponges for washing
  • Cleaning cloths or paper towels for drying
  • A good all-purpose cleaner
  • A hose or other source of water
  • Buckets
  • Household gloves
  • Some kind of tote for all your gear

  • You may want to use a professional strength all-purpose cleaner or make your own hybrid cleaner. To mix your own, combine 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent with 2/3 cup Soilax (a professional cleaner found at most hardware stores) with 3 quarts of water. If mildew is a problem, include 1 quart of 5% chlorine bleach to the mix. However, be careful using bleach around your landscaping!

    Cleaning Vinyl or Wood
    The best way to tackle cleaning your siding, deck or outdoor furniture is to grab one of your scrub brushes and cleaning solution and apply some elbow grease. Be sure to rinse well throughout the job to see how much progress you have made. A pump sprayer or power washer can be used to apply the solution.

    Clean windows inside and out can really brighten a home. You would be surprised how much light dirty windows keep out. Try to clean windows on a cloudy day so they won't dry too quickly and leave streaks. If you use newsprint to dry the windows, you will minimize the streaks even more.

    Wash them with the cleaning solution and rinse well. Then let them air dry.

    Whether you want to clean stone pathways, statues or walls, the cleaning method is the same. You will want to wash it with a mild cleaning solution and rinse well with clear water then let dry.

    Wrought Iron
    Wash this with clear water using a damp sponge or cloth, then wipe dry. If you want to, add a protective coat of liquid wax to make cleaning easier next time and to help prevent rust from building up.

    Final Note
    Always read the instructions on any cleaner before using it. Each manufacturer has a recommended way to use their product. And be sure to find out how toxic the cleaners are to your landscaping before use to prevent unnecessary harm to plants.

  • Copyright © 2001, AHA, the American Homeowners Association, Stamford, Connecticut, USA All Rights Reserved.