(ARA) - A spring
breeze wafting through a freshly-cleaned home is one
of the best feelings in the world. And as you relax
in your sparkling clean interior, don't forget that
the outside of your home also needs attention.
people to your home like a well-tended exterior,"
says home care expert Gerry Luepke. "The patio
furniture and yard accessories extend your first
greeting. With a little planning and the right
products, outdoor spring-cleaning will go smoothly
and you'll be proud of your results."
It is important to get dirt, mildew and other
weathering signs cleaned from the outdoor surfaces
such as vinyl, wood, wrought iron, and stone.
Springtime usually means window washing and painting
Choosing the rights tools and cleaning products is
important. "Gather your tools before you start. You
will need several soft scrub brushes in different
sizes, along with sponges for washing and rinsing,
and cleaning cloths or paper towels for drying,"
Luepke says. All of these can be found at your local
Luepke recommends a good all-purpose cleaner, such
as Professional Strength Soilax, and plenty of water
to get successful results. "Be sure to follow
package directions to mix up your cleaning solutions
and dissolve all the ingredients well. Always test
the surfaces by cleaning a small, inconspicuous area
first," Luepke says.
Complete your cleaning kit with several sizes of
buckets, household gloves, and maybe a plastic tote
basket to keep everything together. There will be no
need to make a trip to the store for missing
supplies; you'll only stop to admire your handiwork!
Luepke recommends this recipe:
- 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
- 2/3 cup Soilax
- 3 quarts water
NOTE: If mildew is a problem, add 1 quart 5%
VINYL, WOOD - siding, decks, furniture and fencing
Vinyl is a common outdoor surface that is durable
and stays looking good with basic care. Wood
furniture looks better for longer if it is covered
and stored for the winter.
To clean these surfaces, wash with a Soilax
solution, using a scrub brush if necessary, and
rinse well. A bucket, pump sprayer or power washer
may be used to apply the washing solution.
Sparkling clean windows brighten up the whole house,
inside and out. Clean windows on a cloudy day, so
they won't dry too quickly and leave streaks. A
helpful hint - dry the windows using newsprint to
To clean screens, wash them with a cleaning
solution, rinse well, and let them air dry. Make
window washing a team effort, with one person
washing the inside and one person washing the
outside. This makes it much easier to see that there
are no streaks left behind.
Many people choose spring to do major paint jobs on
the outside of houses, garages and sheds. It's
important that surfaces be as clean as possible to
insure proper paint adhesion. A mixture of cup of
Soilax per gallon of warm water can be used because
it requires no rinsing and dries quickly.
WROUGHT IRON - furniture and ornaments
Wrought iron adds a touch of elegance to any yard.
To clean wrought iron, wash with clear water using a
damp cloth or sponge and wipe dry. Adding a
protective coat of liquid wax makes cleaning easier
and guards against rust. Be sure to read all the
instructions first. Use a commercial rust cleaner as
necessary, following the directions on the
Grouping decorative plants on the patio adds a
special touch. Using acrylics to paint designs on
patio planters is a popular way to liven up the
exterior of clay pots. Prepare the pots for painting
by cleaning the surface thoroughly. Give previously
used "plain" pots a springtime cleanup by scrubbing
away the unsightly mineral deposits left by watering
on both the inside and outside of the pots. Soak the
pots in clear water first to loosen the deposits.
Use a washing solution and a scrub brush to clean
the pots. Rinse well.
STONE - pathways, walls, statuary
Stone ornamentation adds special character to the
yard. To clean stone, wash with a mild cleaning
solution. Rinse well with clear water and let dry.
"Have fun while you get ready for spring. Work
outdoors when you can and let the kids help," says
Luepke. "When your spring cleaning tasks are
completed, treat yourself - fire up the barbecue
grill and enjoy."
For more tips and suggestions, call Gerry Luepke at
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