I just LOVE pinning pictures of serene and lovely outdoor spaces, especially porches. I was thrilled to buy a house with not one but two unique porch spaces. The large front wrap around porch and the upstairs porch. I could not wait to dive in and spent a great deal of time, money, energy and pain turning these spaces into something special, you know, like out of a magazine or Pinterest. Well, guess what? They don’t stay that way! In fact, what I created was something else to clean and maintain. These two porches demand a great deal of attention for spaces that are not used everyday. In fact, they really CAN’T be enjoyed unless they are Clean and Clear Outdoor Spaces (of spiders and wasps). Oh reality, how you disappoint me…
My house is wrapped in vinyl siding which does not have to be painted, but has to be cleaned, especially if you have trees. It’s pollen/mildew coated in the spring and dirt/spider web coated in the fall. The floor is painted tongue and groove pine. The furnishings and accessories are things I have collected over the years or found at thrift stores.
See that little brush in the photo above? That is my best friend when it comes to cleaning this porch. I have had this brush for a very long time and I don’t even know what it is called. My husband says it is a car washing brush. It has very soft bristles which spread out and reach into the millions of cracks and crevices created by vinyl siding. Other items needed:
1. Large bucket with very hot water. Never underestimate the power of hot soapy water when it comes to cleaning. Of course, I use a touch of Dawn to dissolve the dirt and other environmental gifts clinging to the vinyl. If it is really bad, add a little bleach.
2. 409 Cleaner is amazing when cleaning vinyl, gutters and floors. Oh yeah, the gutters have to be clean too. Wow, it never ends…
3. Old English is used to condition the wood furniture and any wooden accessories after cleaning. Even though the porch is completely covered by a roof, the wood seems to dry out and fade. Old English provides moisturizing and a little stain to bring the color back out.
4. Bug Spray. Whether you choose natural or the hard stuff, you will need some sort of pest control. Trust me, keep it close!
I simply start at one end and work my way around. Dipping the brush into the soapy water and starting at the top going side to side, clean the vinyl. You may rinse or towel dry. If your vinyl seems dull and faded use a little Armor All to make it look brand new.
See how this brush spreads out and gets that ridge clean?
It is also awesome for grabbing those spider webs. Just grab and dip into the hot soapy water.
Take a look at this dirty threshold! See that black dirt? It actually coated most of the exposed porch floor.
That little brush worked wonders on that threshold and sticky gooey dirt.
Much better! Oh and by the way, this brush is great for getting that layer of grim off windows before Washing Windows like a Pro.
Just that little bit of handle helped with the low areas. I could reach both high and low without a great deal of discomfort. Not a lot of climbing or crawling, if you know what I mean.
Now, while I am cleaning, I pay very close attention to what is “buzzing” around me and where it is buzzing to. Let me just share that I have been the victim of several wasps attacks while working on this house and yard. My son says that I have managed to create the perfect environment for them and in some ways, he is exactly right. See how the bench is carefully leaned against the wall. That is not just for cleaning purposes. It is for checking and cleaning as well.
Here are a few examples of where these demons of pain take up residence.
So, right there out in the open ready to attack at a moments notice!
Yep, see that nice gentle curve on the wicker love seat. Got popped really good when moving it one day to sweep.
This one was no surprise, but it is a real favorite! Here is a link to one suggestion on how to control. I found an article with a suggestion on how to keep them out of shutters.
Nothing is worse than pulling out a chair in your lovely Outdoor Dining Room and getting stung by several wasps! At least it was me and not a guest or small child. This is the drill. Before using the outdoor dining table, it is cleaned and checked. High Maintenance I tell you!
Now they have gone too far. Behind the accessories? Really? The antique jello mold. What next?
See this innocent little country table? Well, I merely walked past it one day and received the kiss of wasp venom on my leg. Let’s just say, I have a special name for these creatures that my children were NEVER allowed to say in my presence. It is a very bad word..
Remember Evoking Vintage Memories. Well let’s just say the spiders LOVED using the metal framework to build an arachnid universe.
Oh and the underside of tables. Do not forget the underside of tables! In the corners!
Once I locate the creatures of misery, I choose to annihilate immediately with bug spray or wasp foam. However, I have been told it is best to wait until dark when they return to the next so that you can eliminate them all at once. Here is another informative article to check out. They discovered that dish soap and water drowns them immediately.
Enough of this misery, let’s shift back to cleaning.
Back to the auto cleaning brush of many uses. Wicker gets dirty and dirt gets into to all the open weaves. This little brush is awesome for scrubbing down some wicker and getting all the spider webs from underneath. After cleaning the furniture, I spray underneath on the bottoms and allow to dry before anyone uses.
I also discovered by accident that the brush is great for cleaning baskets and other woven accessories used on the porch.
Even though it is a lot of work and up keep, I love my porch spaces. If any of you have suggestions on how to maintain your outdoor spaces, we would love to hear from you!