Your house has lost some of its curb appeal. The paint looks dull. Mold and moss are creeping into view.
You could blame Rogue Valley winters. Although cold-weather smog in the Rogue Valley is not as bad as it was 30 to 40 years ago, we still have temperature inversions. “The net result is that particulates can stick to the outside of your house,” says Stan Parrish, who’s been supervising the hardware department at Black Bird in Medford for decades.
If you’re getting ready to wash the exterior of your house, or get rid of that moss and mildew, stop for just a moment. “Consider the ramifications of what you plan to do,” suggests Stan Parrish of Black Bird in Medford.
“Chlorine bleach will kill mildew and fungus but it may also bleach the color of your exterior paint, and if it gets into the driveway and then the lawn, it will kill grass.”
Parrish also urges people to be careful if they plan to use a pressure washer. If your paint is older, you may wind up spraying off chunks of it.
“Make sure your paint is sound and your siding is sound,” he says. “You can test it by just pushing on it with a fingernail. Look for soft spots.”
One way to avoid trouble is to do a test on a small area. Go to the back of your house, pick a spot that’s been exposed to winter weather. Find a corner or maybe an area behind a gutter that won’t be too noticeable and then apply the product you’ve selected.
With all of these cleaning products, use caution. Wear gloves. Always avoid contact with skin and especially eyes.
Another situation Parrish cites is that over time paint will chalk and develop a powdery surface. And dirt may collect in the powder.
Washing the exterior of your home may be the answer. It could restore the color of your paint and allow you to go longer without repainting, says Judy Bateman, manager of Hubbard’s Ace Home Center of north Medford. She adds, “Likewise, cleaning your deck may make it possible to stain less often.”
And there are other benefits to washing the outside of your home. Says Parrish, “It gives you a chance to take a close look for things like missing nails and paint coming loose.”
Several new products now on the market can help, along with some older ones that still work.
“This has been an awesome product for us,” says Bateman speaking of a new outdoor cleaner called 30 Seconds. It is so named because the cleaner acts in about 30 seconds in many cases. It’s a liquid you mix one part concentrate to one part water. You spray it on, wait 30 seconds, then hose it off. Its popularity is due to how quickly it works.
It claims to clean slimy green and slippery black algae, moss and mold and you can put it on just about any surface and apply it with a pump sprayer. The product costs about $11 a gallon.
Another new product is a powder called OxiClean Outdoor. It is designed to remove dirt, grime and muck stains on stucco, siding, fences, driveways, patios and trash cans. The manufacturer says it is safe around plants and shrubs. A 56-ounce container sells for about $11.
If you’re using a pressure washer, there’s Concentrated Deck and House Wash from Mi-T-M Corporation. It claims to remove mildew stains and chalk buildup on weathered paint. A quart sells for a little over $4.
So the house isn’t the only thing in need of a good washing, you say? For outdoor furniture that needs help, try CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner. You spray it on, and then wipe it off. Cost is a little over $7 a quart.
“There are a zillion products out there,” says Parrish. “Sometimes just good old dishwashing soap will make your house look better.”
Unlike the 30 Seconds, many products take time to soak in and work. Parrish’s suggestion: “Be patient.”