Most people schedule an annual “spring cleaning” inside their house. However, it’s also important to clean the exterior of your house each year, to remove dirt, grit, and other abrasives that can damage siding or masonry.
Before you start the cleaning process, cover the lawn and plantings around your house with plastic sheeting. Seal up all vents, electrical outlets, and exterior light fixtures. Move lawn furniture away from the house, and make sure all windows and doors are closed.
Next, clean by hand any areas stained by rust, mildew, or heavy grime. In many cases, detergent and a scrub brush will be sufficient. Remove rust stains with a solution of oxalic acid. (Follow up with a rust-inhibiting primer, or the stain will reappear.) A bleach solution will kill mildew spores. Organic stains can be removed with a solution of ammonium sulfamate powder. White, powdery deposits of crystallized salts (“efflorescence,”) commonly found on masonry surfaces, can be removed with a solution of muriatic acid applied with a wire brush. Rinse off all these products with clear water, and remember to wear protective clothing and goggles.
After you have tackled the “trouble spots,” it’s time to begin the general cleaning of the house surface. (Read the rest….)