For Canadians, every change of season brings with it around-the-house chores to check off your to-do list. To help you get the outside of your home ready for the summer, we’re sharing eight tasks you can manage to do in a weekend or two. Do the whole list and you’ll be ready to kick off summer with a clean and tidy outdoor space ready for enjoying the warmer days to come!
1. Clean out your shed
Whether it’s neatly packed or filled to the max, any outdoor storage space will benefit from a spring clean. First, pick a sunny day and pull everything out onto your lawn. Next, knock down the cob webs and sweep out the dust. If you spot mould or mildew, ask your local hardware store for the right cleaning product. Otherwise, warm water and dish soap will help remove grime and dirt. Finally, purge what you don’t need before reloading.
2. Refresh your deck, patio or walkways
Boost your home’s curb appeal by cleaning up wear and tear like salt and leaf stains. A power washer will work on most hard surfaces (test a small area first) but you don’t need one to get results. Dish soap, water and a scrub brush work well and won’t damage wood decking, patio or concrete surfaces. Add a little elbow grease and the results will be worth the effort.
3. Wash your vinyl siding
Vinyl siding is sure to look worse for wear after the winter. For an all-purpose siding cleaning solution, mix about three parts water to one part vinegar. For more stubborn stains, mix one cup of oxygen bleach with about four litres of water (oxygen bleach won’t damage nearby landscaping or plants). Apply either solution with a soft bristle brush and scrub from bottom to top before rinsing thoroughly with a hose. Do the same if you have vinyl fencing.
4. Get your BBQ ready
Start by firing up your grill to burn off any leftover grime before using a wire BBQ brush. Next, disconnect the gas or propane and let the grills cool before removing and soaking in a bucket or other plastic container filled with hot water and dish soap. While soaking, replace the grease tray and give the knobs, interior and exterior surfaces a wipe-down with soapy water. Finally, scrub grills and let them drip dry before replacing. Reminder: this is only for gas or propane grills. Other types will have different cleaning methods.
5. Clean your window tracks
While washing curtains, windows and screens is a spring cleaning must-do, don’t forget to look at interior and exterior window tracks, too. First, use a vacuum fitted with a brush attachment to suck up dirt and grime. Next, use a household degreaser (like Mr. Clean) to soak the area before scrubbing with a brush (an old toothbrush also works). Finally, use a sponge or paper towel to soak up the remaining dirt, making your windows look like new.
6. Start lawn care early
Give your lawn some TLC to encourage healthy growth this summer by first raking up any leftover leaves, dead grass or debris. The next steps — aeration and seeding — can be done yourself or by a lawn care company. Aeration is the process of removing cork-sized holes to allow nutrients into the soil. Do this with a hand tool for smaller lawns, or rent an aerator from a hardware store. Finally, get a seed mix made for spring seeding and follow the directions to kick-start healthy, green growth this year.
7. Freshen up your patio furniture
Whether your patio furniture weathered the ice and snow or you stored it inside, it’s sure to need a cleaning before patio season. If your set is plastic or metal, use a soft bristled brush and warm water with dish soap to wash away dust and dirt before rinsing clean. For other materials like teak, wicker or wood, use an oil soap (like Murphy Oil Soap) to gently wash away grime and give you a fresh start for spring.
8. Clean your outdoor garbage bins
Guaranteed to be the most smelly but satisfying task on this list, cleaning your outdoor bins is well worth the effort. Wait until garbage or recycling day when your bins are empty and start by rinsing them out with the hose. Next, mix about four cups of vinegar with half a cup of dish soap in a big bucket of water. Use an old broom, mop head or scrub brush to wash the inside and outside before rinsing clean.
Whether you do it all in one weekend or over a few, tackle this list and your outdoor space will be ready for summer in no time.