How to Spring Clean the Outside of Your Home

Don't forget the façade when the seasons change.

<p>PC Photography/Getty Images</p>

PC Photography/Getty Images

The spring season falls between late March and early June. That’s the perfect time of year to declutter and deep clean your home. However, most of the focus tends to be on the interior rather than the exterior. After spending winter months indoors, it is no wonder that people want a fresh new feel in advance of the summer months. But the outside of your home likely needs some TLC, too.

Whether cleaning the gutters, rearranging the garage, or retouching landscaping, curb appeal depends on giving your home a seasonal facelift. However, addressing your home's exterior can be physically taxing and mentally exhausting. A few small tweaks could make the process quicker and more enjoyable. Here's what you need to know to give the outside of your home a proper spring refresh.

Related: What's the History of Spring Cleaning?

Why does spring cleaning usually exclude a home's exterior?

As the old saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” We spend most of our time indoors, so we’re quick to notice a filthy refrigerator or a shower wall that needs to be descaled. Inside our home, there are daily reminders that dust, grime, and clutter are building up. However, outdoor needs aren’t as visible. Cleaning gutters, pulling weeds, and power washing exterior siding just don’t feel as urgent in comparison.

Also, exterior cleaning is often painted as more onerous than interior cleaning. Morgan Olsen, Thumbtack's Design Expert, says, "The outside of your house deserves the same level of attention as the inside of your house! There are a few simple tasks that will make a world of difference for your curb appeal.” She suggests cleaning exterior windowpanes and replacing any chipped paint. However, both jobs can take hours to complete and require some level of skill. They could even be dangerous—cleaning a home’s façade can lead to ladder accidents and pest or insect bites. This is why most people leave exterior cleaning off their list of to-dos—but we're here to encourage you to leave it on.

What should you do to "spring clean" the outside of your home?

Chris Counahan, president at LeafFilter, a gutter guard and installation company, says, "Gutters are not always the first thing people think to maintain when yearly spring cleaning rolls around. However, springtime is full of heavy rain, and if gutters are not maintained and water overflows from them, it can result in basement flooding, mold and mildew growth, and even foundational issues.” He recommends that gutters be cleaned every spring to prevent clogging and roof damage.

"The benefit of cleaning [gutters] in the spring is they may have been damaged over the winter by built-up debris, burrowing animals, or ice dams," Counahan adds. "Ice dams can break gutters, resulting in leaks that may not be apparent and eventually leading to mold in your ceilings or foundation."

Other must-do tasks include nurturing seasonal plants or tackling neglected gardening. The warm weather may cause some flowering plants to bloom. Landscaping before that happens often leads to organizing the garage, shed, or storage area where lawncare tools have been hiding for months.

Spring is also a good time to call any specialists or contractors to schedule maintenance before the summer rush. This could include getting HVAC components deep cleaned, sweeping the chimney, checking pool water before use, changing any air or HEPA filters, patching any roof leaks, and performing professional pest control and prevention.

Tips to tackle common exterior cleaning chores

Spring cleaning the outside of your house can seem like a big task. However, a checklist divides the task into smaller, more manageable parts. Take your time working through the list—even if it takes weeks or a month to complete. Spring cleaning is supposed to feel refreshing, not exhausting.

Remember, always work from top to bottom to avoid re-soiling areas you already cleaned. For example, clean gutters and roofs before tackling windows or bottom walls. Consider borrowing or renting power washers or specific cleaning tools that help save time.

Always inspect while you clean. Doing so helps you identify areas that need more extensive care or repair. Take all safety precautions to check the roof shingles, eavestroughs, and downspouts while cleaning the gutter. Prioritize safety, especially when cleaning hard-to-reach areas. Use ladders safely, wear the proper protective gear, and consider hiring a professional for high-risk or time-consuming tasks.

How much time do you need to spring clean the outside of your home?

The time requirement will vary depending on the complexity of the task, the materials and equipment needed, and whether it's a DIY or a professional handling the task. The weather also plays a factor in whether you can actually accomplish your outdoor duties.

"The time requirement for tasks like cleaning gutters and garages can vary depending on the size of the property and the extent of the work needed," Olsen says. "On average, cleaning gutters might take a few hours, while organizing and cleaning out a garage could take a full day or more. Sealing driveways typically require a day or two for proper application and drying time. I recommend evaluating everything that needs to be done so you can allocate enough time for each task."

Counahan adds that homeowners can spend as long as a day cleaning gutters, depending on the size of the home or the extent of the mess. “Hiring professionals can cut cleaning time down to around two hours, saving homeowners time and headaches," he says. "Typical gutter cleaning prices can range depending on home size, the accessibility of your gutters, and the severity of debris. Investing in gutter protection can help alleviate the pain of clogged gutters and minimize costs every season."

Exterior maintenance tasks you shouldn't do during the spring

Pressure washing the outside walls is a common spring cleaning task. However, it may be worthwhile to wait until later in the season. The cool and damp weather at the beginning of the season can cause the cleaned surfaces to stay wet longer, potentially leading to mildew growth or staining.

It is usually better to wait until the majority of the leaf and debris buildup. Cleaning too early in the season will mean you must do it again soon thereafter.

Wet, rainy weather can make repairs difficult and dangerous. Avoid exterior painting in spring since the outside temperatures are too cool or damp, which may cause the paint not to adhere or cure properly. Consider waiting till summer or early fall to paint.

Major landscaping projects such as extensive tree or shrub removal, major lawn renovations, or new garden beds installations are better done in the fall. Opt for light landscaping like weeding, pruning, and planting instead.

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