Summer Cleaning Checklist: Outdoor Edition
Plenty of indoor chores are performed so often you barely have to think about what needs to be done. But what about the exterior of your home? Summertime weather offers the perfect excuse to grab the garden hose or a bucket of soapy water and scrub down outdoor spots on your property that are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning. You’ll be able to catch some rays and get in a bit of a workout, all while checking things off your to-do list—just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
What to Clean and How Often to Clean It
Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids® have put together a list of seven outdoor areas to clean when the weather is warm, along with our suggestions for frequency of cleaning.
The interior surfaces of your windows likely are cleaned on a regular basis, but how often do you get outside and wash the exterior surfaces of your windows? Now is the perfect time to tackle this task, since they’ll dry quickly—and so will you, if you happen to get wet.
For a thorough exterior window cleaning:
Remove your screens and carefully scrub them down using the hose and some liquid castile soap. (Click here for other ways to use castile soap!)
Use a broom or a wet/dry shop vacuum to clear away loose dirt, spiderwebs, and other debris from the window frames.
Next, use a garden hose to rinse the panes, and wipe them down with a clean microfiber cloth, using a bit of lightly soapy water for caked-on dirt or debris.
Spritz windows with a window cleaner or a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water and use a rubber-bladed squeegee for a streak-free finish.
Finally, replace the screens.
How often: Wash the exteriors of your windows once or twice a year, depending on your local climate and how quickly dirt builds.
Exposed to the elements, the exterior walls of your home can accumulate plenty of mud, leaves, and cobwebs, especially near the ground and along the roof joint. Use a spray nozzle attachment on your garden hose to rinse away dirt and other debris and give your home a little summer refresh.
How often: Wash the siding on your home once a year, or as needed.
Keep your deck or patio in top condition by sweeping away leaves, bugs, dirt, and cobwebs, then rinsing away any remaining debris using a garden hose and spray nozzle attachment.
How often: Sweep as often as needed, depending on how frequently you use the area and how fast dirt accumulates. Keep in mind that wooden decks may also need to be re-sealed annually.
Since summer is prime grilling season, your grill is likely getting a workout. Even if you give it a quick clean after every barbecue, this crowd-pleasing cooker needs a thorough deep clean every now and then. Remove the grates from the grill and, wearing gloves, scrub the grates using oven cleaner. Wipe down the outside of the grill using warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth. Hand wash grill utensils if they weren’t cleaned after their last use or it’s been a while.
How often: Give your grill a deep clean once or twice a year, depending on how often it’s used.
Since outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements, cleaning it is fairly simple. Use your garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle attachment to loosen and rinse away dirt and mud, then wipe down the furniture with a microfiber cloth and some warm soapy water and let it air dry. You can even follow this method for vinyl cushions. For more in-depth tips, visit our blog post titled How to Clean Outdoor Furniture.
How often: Aim to clean your outdoor furniture at least twice a year: once at the beginning of the season and again before packing it away for the winter. If you’re able to use your furniture all year, you may want to clean it every few months.
You may not give your outdoor lighting much thought unless the bulb burns out. Show these fixtures some love by cleaning them up. Make sure the light is switched off, then remove the outer globe or glass (this may require a screwdriver) and the bulb. Use a stepladder to reach if necessary. Gently remove dust, leaves, and bugs with a clean cloth or soft brush—a paintbrush works well. Then use a damp microfiber cloth or some window cleaner and a clean rag to wipe down the fixture, the outer globe, and the bulb, taking care not to let the open sockets get wet. Once everything has dried, reassemble the fixture.
How often: Ideally, you should clean your outdoor lighting fixtures twice a year.
Cleaning your lawn mower is about more than appearance. The underside of the mower can collect dried dirt, grass, twigs, and other debris, which can hinder performance or even damage your lawn. To clean, empty the gas tank—or aim to clean your mower the next time you run out of gas, before refilling—and disconnect the spark plug wire. Tip the mower on its side so the underside is exposed and perpendicular to the ground. Spray it down with your garden hose to rinse away as much debris as possible, then use a scrub brush and hot soapy water to clear away any remaining grime. Rinse again with the hose and dry with a clean cloth or allow to air dry.
How often: During mowing season, clean the bottom of your lawn mower at least twice, but more often if you have a particularly large lawn, you frequently cut the grass while it’s wet, or you wait until the grass is very long before mowing.