6 Things You Should Never Do When Cleaning Your Home’s Exterior

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Regularly cleaning your home’s exterior can improve its look and protect the structure from the damaging effects of pollen, mold, moss and other debris that can accumulate on your siding, roof, walkways, and more. You’ll not only protect the safety of your family, but you’ll also protect the investment in your home. You can even increase the value of your property by increasing your home’s curb appeal.

Cleaning your home’s exterior is not as easy as cleaning the interior. You need to use the right cleaners and the right tools, or else you’ll end up causing a bigger problem. Here are six things you should never do to clean your home’s exterior:

Clean Your Own Upper Windows

Cleaning your windows may seem like the simplest of all exterior cleaning jobs. If you live in a single-story house on flat ground, it probably is. You just need some paper towels and window cleaner and maybe a step stool to reach the top sash.

However, if you live in a two-story house, have tall windows, or live on a slope — and most houses fall into one of these categories — cleaning your windows will be more of a challenge. Attempting to clean your own windows will put your house and your safety at risk. You could fall off a ladder and hurt yourself badly, or you could break the windows by putting too much pressure on them trying to clean hard-to-reach places on the second floor.

Use the Wrong Cleaners

There is no one-size-fits-all cleaning solution for your exterior. A cleaner that’s designed for your deck could strip the paint right off your siding. A harsh cleaner designed to get stains out of your driveway could cause pits in your shingles.

Take precaution to always use cleaners that are explicitly designed for the surface you are cleaning. If don’t follow the instructions, you could end up damaging your exterior.

Pressure Wash Your Vinyl Siding

Pressure washing is typically the best way to clean your home’s exterior as it will get out tough stains quickly. However, vinyl siding does not stain the way wood or concrete does. You can simply hand wash your vinyl siding with a soft cloth or brush and a mild cleanser.

Pressure washing your vinyl siding won’t hurt it. However, the pressure could force the water under the vinyl siding. The water could rot the wood underneath, and it can encourage the growth of mold and mildew.

Pressure Wash Wood

A pressure washer can eat away at the surface of wood, whether it is wood siding, wood shake, or wood fencing. The pressure washer will get the wood clean, certainly, but it will also leave behind a rough surface that is splintered and pitted.

If you use a pressure washer on your wood, you may have to sand, fill and re-finish it. Otherwise, you’ll weaken the wood and leave it vulnerable to the elements and to pests.

Clean Your Own Roof

Your roof is a delicate system of shingles, tiles, flashings, sealants and fasteners. If any of these things break down or fall out of place, your roof will become ineffective. Leaks will form, spreading water damage and mold growth throughout your home.

If you attempt to clean your own roof, you could damage any of its elements and put your home at risk. You also put yourself at risk by trying to work at those heights. If you lose your footing, you could fall and become seriously injured.


You might think that you are safe to clean your gutters, windows, siding or any other exterior elements so long as you have a good ladder. But anything can knock you off the ladder or cause you to lose your balance. You could reach too far, slip and fall to the ground. If you have tools in your hand, you could cut or impale yourself during the fall.

Attempting to perform your own exterior cleaning can be too dangerous, even if you feel like you have the right tools.

It is almost always better to hire a professional to clean your home’s exterior, whether you need a simple window cleaning or you need a more thorough cleaning of your siding and trim. Professionals have the right tools and cleaners to get the job done right and to protect your home and your family’s safety. By hiring a professional, you’ll lower your maintenance costs and increase the curb appeal (and value) of your home.

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