Proper care and maintenance of residential buildings involve exterior cleaning of building surfaces to rid them of dirt, debris, algae, mold, mildew, and other contaminants. If you own a residential building that you wish to keep well-maintained, you can clean the exterior building surfaces in the following manner:
Tools and Supplies - Gather these tools and supplies:
- Pressure washer.
- Garden hose with a control nozzle connected to an outdoor spigot.
- Powdered laundry detergent.
- Powdered household cleanser.
- Liquid bleach.
- White vinegar.
- Gallon plastic container.
- Scrub brushes and scrub pads.
- Rubber gloves.
- Assorted clean rags and paper towels.
- Plastic sheeting.
Wear rubber gloves when mixing ingredients and cleaning exterior building surfaces.
1. Protect Plants and Garden Furniture - Cover nearby plants and garden furniture with plastic sheeting to protect them from overspray.
2. Pretreat Mold and Mildew - Use scrub brushes and scrub pads to clean areas by hand that are contaminated with mold and mildew. Use a solution of 1 part liquid bleach to 9 parts water or 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Rinse well with plain water.
3. Make Pressure Washing Fluid - Add the following ingredients to a gallon plastic container and mix well:
- 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
- 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner
- 1 quart of liquid bleach
- 1 gallon of water
4. Load Pressure Washer - Pour pressure washing fluid into the pressure washer reservoir.
5. Pressure Wash Exterior Surfaces - Use the pressure washer to loosen dirt and debris on the exterior building surfaces by starting at the top of the wall and working down. Adjust pressure washer output with the controls on the nozzle to use the most effective spray pattern. Pay special attention to undercuts where wall siding surfaces overlap.
6. Reload Pressure Washer - Discard remaining washing fluid and reload reservoir with plain water.
7. Rinse Exterior Surfaces - Use the pressure washer to rinse away loosened dirt, debris, and cleaning fluid. Start at the top of the wall and work down. Rinse a second time to remove any residual cleaning fluid as it can damage exterior wall siding if left on the surface.
8. Clean and Rinse Pressure Washer - Rinse the pressure washer and reservoir thoroughly with plain water and allow them to air dry.
As a building owner, it is important to keep your residential building clean and well maintained to preserve property and resale values. Additionally, a building that is routinely cleaned will have fewer maintenance problems because contaminants have not been allowed to harden and damage exterior building surfaces. With care and proper maintenance, your residential building will be clean and strong, and will look good for many years.