Every spring, when people come out from hiding under the covers all winter, there's a lot of cleaning going on inside and outside. From baseboards and ceiling fan blades on the inside, to washing windows and raking away the leftover leaf crumbs nestled in the crevices outside.
But there's one chore that used to fill me with dread: cleaning the outside of the house.
Being the frugal, quiet person I am, I can't stand the sound of a pressure washer. Especially since it seems to take forever to do even my one story house. I also hate the thoughts of the water bill for that month, the price of paying someone to do it, or the cost of buying a machine that I am going to use maybe twice a year.
After using old kitchen sponges for the lower parts and standing in chairs and stretching up high with my Swiffer covered in old rags for a few years, I knew there had to be an easier way than what I was doing. It had to look like a deleted scene from Desperate Housewives when my neighbors drove by and saw me standing on my tippee toes and jumping up and down with a Swifter to get the peaks of the roof line.
Finally, I decided to listen to my mom for a change, and I tried something that she swore used to work on the house they lived in when I left for college (hence why I wasn't a believer at first when she told me to try it- I'd never witnessed it in action): use a sprayer and bleach.
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Yes, it does seem too simple…but it works!
What You Need
- a water hose
- a one gallon pump sprayer
- several gallons of bleach (how much depends on the size of your house- I use almost 3 gallons on my one-story home when there's quite a bit of green algae/dirt on it after the winter)
- clothes you don't mind getting dirty and possibly stained with bleach
Step One: Mix
In your sprayer, pour in bleach until it fills up approximately 1/3 of the sprayer's container. Fill the remaining part with water. Be careful- it will bubble up as it nears the top!
Step Two: Wet, Pump, and Spray
Using the water hose, wet one section of the house. Pump the sprayer until you it's difficult to pump it any more (you'll start to feel a resistance build up the more pumps you give it). Starting at the top and working down, use the sprayer to apply the bleach and water solution.
Step Three: Repeat
In the next section of the house, repeat the process. When you have finished this section of the house, go back to the first section you did and rinse it off with the water hose, starting at the top. Be sure to rinse off the bleach and water solution so it doesn't cause issues to your siding, be it vinyl, wood, stucco, or brick. (Did I leave anything out? If so, just rinse that, too.)
Repeat this process around the house until you are through. Go back and check to see if any areas need touch-up.
Step Four: Look at the other Stuff
This works great on poles that hold up the porch, water hoses, sidewalks, shutters, and anything else where that icky green algae from the moisture decides to take up residence. Since I forgot to take pictures before I started washing the house, I did manage to get a before picture of the water hose. It's easy to forget those, since they are usually wound up on something, and who wants to even mess with cleaning that?
But with this method, it's a breeze to clean that up and to make it look brand-spanking new! (I promise these pics are accurate and are not photoshopped to make it look cleaner than the sprayer left it.)
And seriously- add some curb appeal by adding a decorate garden hose stand. It was one of those purchases that I was on the fence about, being frugal and all, but it's a purchase I haven't regretted. It makes the front entry look much better with the water hose wound around something easy on the eye, and it takes down my worry about a snake or other critter being curled up in one of those boxes where you reel in the water hose and then crank it out again.
So give it a try! It's simple, cheap, easy, fun, and it works like a charm! Your head isn't ringing like it is when you finish power washing!