Don't Forget To Wash Your House

You washed the car, cleaned the carpet and turned your windows into spotless glass. Now it's time to wash your house! That's right, wash your house. It's a great way to "freshen-up" your house's paint without the expense of a new paint job.

Most of today's painted surfaces are either latex or acrylic, so it's important that you wash your house at least once a year. Otherwise, industrial pollution (dirt, smoke and dust) that settles on the surface is agitated by the wind and rain, causing a sandpaper effect that ruins the paint, shortening the life of your paint job.

But with a recommended yearly house wash, this problem is minimized, restoring your house's paint to a much longer life. A pressure washer is the best way to wash and brighten your house. An electric or small gas-powered pressure washer (2000 psi) is good enough for most normal house cleaning.

Older wood homes or homes that had termites require a little more caution than stucco homes. If you're working with soft wood, like redwood, a direct blast could blow a hole in it. So it's best to spray at a 45 degree angle. Because there are so many different types of pressure washers and cleaning solutions available for each specific job, it's best to determine your objective to make sure you get the right equipment and cleaning solutions for your specific needs.

For example, to wash your house when preparation for repainting is not a consideration, mix 1/2 gallon cleaning solution to 5 gallons of water. Be sure to close all windows, cover any outside light fixtures and electrical outlets with plastic bags and use masking tape to cover all flush receptacles.

Use precaution around windows and exposed areas. To decrease impact of pressure, use wider nozzle (25-40 degrees) and back away from surface.

While operating, it's important to remember to keep fingers away from the spray tip, and keep children and animals clear. Always wash from the bottom up and rinse from the top down to avoid streaking. Work at an angle to the surface begin cleaned, holding the nozzle 10-12 inches from the surface.

Eaves and crawl spaces often have vent openings. Be careful not to spray into them when washing or cleaning; you could cause some damage. What's more, soft water produces the best results. In areas that have hard water, wipe windows with a soft cloth to prevent spotting.

To prepare a surface for repainting, mix 1 gallon of a paint prep chemical to 4 gallons of water. (Paint prep provides a non-gloss surface that's essential for good paint adhesion. Use a large chemical spray nozzle to apply paint prep solution.) Once again, spray cleaning solution from the bottom up and rinse from the top down. Use a pressure washer to blast off all loose, cracked, blistered, weathered and peeling paint. Also, wash off dirt, moss, mildew, oxidation and chalking.

And while you are at it, clean your sidewalks, gutters, roof, walls, driveway and trash cans. A pressure washer will remove most oil residue and stains from your driveway.

Afterwards, you'll notice a sparkling home free of cob webs and unappealing dirt stains. And you'll find your paint job will last a lot longer too.