Exterior Winter Cleanup

With melting snow and a warming sun, I feel like I’ve received a new lease on life! This was a tough and long winter, and I’m itching to be done with the cold, the snow and the dark evenings. But as I’m inspecting the perimeters of my house, I’m finding that winter left behind some wounds that are tough to hide with only a few ceramic flower containers.

So, as I do every spring, I bring out my basic checklist to help me stay on track as I tackle a few maintenance projects in the yard. I start with windows and screens (doesn’t it feel good to have the windows open again?). I remove all screens and lay them on the driveway and spray them with water from the hose and use an all-purpose cleaner to get rid of whatever is left. I let them dry while I clean the windows (inside and outside) and windowsills.

The grill is next since I’m chomping at the bit to have our first grilled meal. Make sure the gas connection is safe. To do this put some soapy water onto the connection and if bubbles form there is a leak. Next, I use a wire brush to clean the grill. After it is clean, I spray non-stick cooking spray for easier cleanup after my first BBQ. After getting my grill squeaky clean, I tackle my patio. I start by sweeping, but if there is a lot of dirt and grime, I use my garden hose to get the best result.

We used to have a wooden deck off the kitchen (now replaced with a stone patio) and I found that using one cup of powdered laundry detergent to a gallon of hot water worked wonders in removing grime, pollen, fungus and mildew. (For really tough spots add one half cup of chlorine bleach to your hot water cleaning solution…)

Next, I look at my exterior to see if the harsh winter months have damaged my siding. If the exterior of your house is looking dirty, consider pressure washing it. It works wonders getting dirt off of siding, wood and metal. It also works well for cleaning driveways, sidewalks, porches and decks. We bought a pressure washer a few years back when we realized how quickly our surroundings could get a little facelift with a simple hose!

But most of all, enjoy outdoor tasks with a little sun on your face and chirping birds by your side!

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