Have you ever looked at your wood surfaces outside and thought how to get them back to how they used to look?
You might have scrubbed and cleaned, but the effects aren’t good enough. Don’t worry, though, because wood repair is here to help!
It will not only make your surfaces look new again, but it will also keep them from getting damaged again. In this article, I’ll talk about surface restoration and the benefits of restoring wood for your outdoor areas. So, let’s get a cup of coffee and get started!
Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
Types of Outdoor Surfaces that Require Cleaning
There are many places outside that need to be cleaned, such as:
- High-touch surfaces: door handles, shopping carts, and stair rails
- Patios and sidewalks
- Wood decking
- Concrete and asphalt driveways
- Canvas awnings
- Plastic furniture
- Vinyl siding
- Pool cages
- Painted metal
Cleaning Methods for Different Outdoor Surfaces
Different ways to clean different outdoor areas are needed. Here are some popular ways to clean different surfaces outside:
- Stucco: Use a pressure washer and a cleaning solution to remove dirt, stains, and mildew.
- Bricks: Use a power washer and the right solution to remove dirt, stains, and moss.
- Algae: Use liquid dish soap and an exterior cleaning brush to remove algae from just about every outdoor surface.
- Specialized outdoor cleaning products: Use products like 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner and Green Gobbler Outdoor Cleaner to clean and brighten up outdoor furniture and surfaces.
When you clean outdoor areas, you should think about what kind of surface it is and how often it is touched or used.
Surfaces that people touch often should be cleaned often, while other surfaces only need to be cleaned when they look dirty.
It is also important to clean surfaces before sanitizing or cleansing them, because dirt and other impurities can make it harder for the chemicals used to kill germs to reach them.
Benefits of Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
Cleaning surfaces outside has many perks, such as:
- Increased property value: Regularly washing your exterior surfaces helps to keep them looking vibrant and new, which could potentially increase the value of your home or business.
- Improved safety: The buildup of dirt, debris, mold, mildew, and algae on outdoor surfaces can create a slippery surface that can lead to slips and falls. Power washing these surfaces will help remove this buildup for improved safety.
- Increased health and wellness: Outdoor contaminants such as mold, mildew, and algae can cause health problems. Power washing can help remove these contaminants, leading to increased health and wellness.
- Enhanced curb appeal: Power washing can clean up your home’s exterior and the hardscaping around the property, from algae-covered roof shingles to cobwebs under the eaves to bird droppings on the driveway and sidewalks. By removing dirt, stains, rust, and oxidation first, power washing helps create a clean slate before you re-stain your deck, which can increase curb appeal.
Methods of Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
It’s important to keep outdoor areas clean to keep their look and stop the spread of germs and diseases.
Depending on the type of outdoor surface and how dirty or grimy it is, there are different ways to clean it.
Cleaning Playground Equipment
When cleaning playground equipment that is used outside, the first step is to get rid of dirt and grime.
You can clean the surface with a sponge or cloth and an all-purpose cleaner that doesn’t scratch.
For surfaces that are very dirty, you may need to clean them more than once or soak them in a mix of non-abrasive all-purpose cleaner and warm water.
When mixed right, bleach solution can also be used to clean outdoor surfaces.
Cleaning Outdoor Furniture
A non-abrasive all-purpose cleaner and a sponge or cloth can be used to clean the surface of outdoor furniture.
You can get rid of tough dirt with a steel wool soap pad.
By putting a coat of paste wax on furniture and rubbing it with a clean, soft cloth, you can protect it from getting dirty again.
Cleaning Other Outdoor Surfaces
For other outdoor surfaces, like door and window handles, kitchen and food preparation areas, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, toilets, and faucets, touchscreen devices, computer keyboards, and work surfaces, you must first clean them with water and soap or a detergent to get rid of dirt, then disinfect them.
Surfaces that people touch often should be cleaned often, while other surfaces should only be cleaned when they look dirty.
It is important to read the label on cleaning products to make sure they can be used on the type of surface being cleaned.
Taking safety measures is important when cleaning objects outside.
First, when working with cleaning agents, it is best to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, safety goggles, or respirators.
Second, when cleaning up messes, it’s important to do things the right way.
Third, when cleaning or fixing the outside of windows above ground level, it’s important to use the right tools and safety measures.
When cleaning outdoor areas, you should think about what kind of surface it is and how often it is touched.
Germs are more likely to spread on surfaces that people touch often, so they should be cleaned more often or sanitized in addition to being cleaned.
It’s also important to clean surfaces first, because dirt and other impurities can make it harder for chemicals to reach germs and kill them.
When cleaning, you should always start with the cleanest (least dirty) area and work your way to the dirtiest (most dirty) area.
This way, you won’t spread dirt to areas that are already clean.
Spraying cleaning or disinfecting products on low-touch surfaces outside, like sidewalks, roads, or groundcover, is not required, effective, or recommended.
This won’t work because the sanitizer won’t work if there are things like dirt or trash around.
If you don’t have enough resources to clean and sterilize regularly, you should wash your hands often and try not to touch your face.
These are the best ways to stop the spread of any germs that might be on surfaces.
Frequency and Agents for Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
Frequency of Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
To stop the spread of germs, you should regularly clean things like door handles, shopping cart handles, and elevator buttons.
At least twice a year, business buildings should use a power washer to clean the outside, entrances, sidewalks, parking lots, dumpster areas, and other places where dirt, grease, and seasonal elements can build up.
Power washing is a good way to clean outdoor areas that are dirty or grimy.
It is best to power wash outdoor patios at the start of the warm weather season to get rid of any dirt, mildew, or algae growth.
This should be done every year at the beginning of spring.
It’s also important to clean outdoor furniture regularly to keep it looking nice and to keep it lasting a long time.
Outdoor furniture should be cleaned regularly by wiping down the surfaces with a soft-bristled brush and running water over them.
Deep cleaning should be done at least twice a year on outdoor furniture, once in the spring before it is used regularly and again in the fall before it is put away for the winter.
Agents for Cleaning Outdoor Surfaces
Outdoor areas can be cleaned with a variety of products.
Brands like Scotts, Mold Armor, and Spray & Forget are some of the most well-known outdoor cleaners.
But it’s important to make sure the cleaning products you choose won’t hurt the surfaces and tools you’re trying to clean and disinfect.
Most cleaning jobs for the environment should be done with neutral soaps that have a pH between 6 and 8 and are easy to dissolve in both warm and cold water.
There are also items like bathroom/toilet cleaners, floor polishers, glass cleaners, and outdoor furniture cleaners that may be helpful for cleaning certain areas or materials in the outdoor space.
There is a famous outdoor cleaner called 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner.
It is a concentrated formula that cleans outdoor surfaces in 30 seconds or less.
It gets rid of almost all types of algae, mold, and mildew on outdoor furniture, concrete patios, wood decking, concrete sidewalks, asphalt roads, bricks, canvas awnings, plastic furniture, and vinyl siding.
It is cheap, easy to use, and strong enough that you don’t need to use a power washer.
Environmental Impact of Cleaning Products
It is also important to think about how the cleaning items you use affect the environment.
Using green cleaning products can help lower the risks to people’s health and the environment that come with cleaning.
Hypochlorite (bleach), alcohols, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid, iodophor disinfection (Wescodyne), and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are some of the chemicals that are often used to clean and decontaminate surfaces.
But it’s important to remember that some of these chemicals can rust metal and irritate the skin and lungs, so it’s important to be careful and follow the directions when using them.
Paver Cleaning: The Missing Piece in Your Wood Restoration Puzzle
If you’re looking to restore your outdoor wood surfaces, you might be overlooking a crucial step: paver cleaning.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bringing your deck or fence back to life, but neglecting your pavers can lead to a lackluster finish.
Pavers are often overlooked because they’re not made of wood, but they play a vital role in the overall appearance of your outdoor space.
Dirt, grime, and algae can accumulate on pavers, making them look dull and uninviting.
By cleaning your pavers, you’ll not only improve the look of your outdoor space, but you’ll also prevent slips and falls.
So, don’t forget to add paver cleaning to your wood restoration checklist!
For more information:
Paver Cleaning 101: Benefits, Methods, and Maintenance
Removing Stains and Preventing Dirt
Over time, surfaces like concrete patios, sidewalks, and paving stones can get stains that are hard to get rid of.
There are a few ways to get rid of these stains and keep things outside from getting dirty quickly.
Dish Soap and Water
Using dish soap and water is one way to get rid of spots on outdoor surfaces.
Dish soap is a cleaner that works well to clean surfaces that are oily or dirty.
Mix some warm water and a few drops of dish soap to make a cleaning solution, and then rub it on the surface.
Let it sit for a while, then clean the patio with a mop and clean water.
Do the same thing as many times as you need.
Vinegar is another way to get rid of spots.
Mix equal parts vinegar and water, scrub the patio with the mixture, and then give it a good rinse.
If spots won’t come out, try vinegar that hasn’t been diluted.
Pour juice or vinegar on rust spots, let them sit, scrub, rinse, and do it again if needed.
Dishwashing Liquid and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
Try rubbing some cleaning liquid into a tough stain with a toothbrush and then rinsing it off.
If you have a spot that won’t come out, scrub it with a sponge with soft bristles.
Wipe off the cleaner.
Then, mop to make sure all of the degreaser is gone.
If the stain is still there, do the method again.
Some spots may need more work than others.
Try mixing one cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with a gallon of hot water and pouring this over the spot.
Soak it for at least 30 minutes, then use a brush to clean it.
Use your hose to clean it, and do it again if you need to.
Boost Your Cleaning Solution
If the stain doesn’t go away, add white vinegar and water or baking soda and water to your cleaning solution and try again.
Rinse the spot well with a bucket of water or a garden hose.
Once the area is totally dry, look at it to see if you need to do the same thing again.
Use a hose or pressure washer to get rid of water, mold, or mildew stains on concrete patios and walkways.
If the spots don’t go away, mix 1/4 cup bleach with 1 gallon of hot water and scrub the area with a brush.
Make sure to water the plants well before and after the process.
Regular Sweeping or Vacuuming
Surfaces that are outside can get dirty quickly because they are exposed to the weather and are used often.
But there are a number of ways to keep things outside from getting dirty quickly.
Cleaning and taking care of outdoor areas on a regular basis can help keep them clean and in good shape.
Using a broom or vacuum on outdoor surfaces often can keep them from getting dirty fast.
This will help get rid of any loose dirt, pollen, or other debris on the surface.
Make sure you sweep in all directions to make sure you get rid of all the trash.
Depending on the type of flooring, you may also need to use a cleaning product to get rid of stains and dirt that are hard to get rid of.
It is important to try any cleaning solutions on a small area of the surface first to make sure they won’t hurt the material.
A protective coating like Exterior Scotch Guard is another way to keep things outside from getting dirty quickly.
This can help keep water and dirt away from the surface, making it easier to clean.
Another quick and easy way to keep outdoor areas clean is to use a leaf blower to blow all the dirt and debris off the furniture and rug.
Preventing Mold and Mildew
To keep outdoor areas clean, it is also important to stop mold and mildew from growing.
Mold and mildew can grow quickly on surfaces outside, especially in damp or shady places.
Make sure to clean your surfaces often and let them dry completely after it rains to keep mold and mildew from growing.
You might also want to think about using a spray that stops mold and mildew in places that are likely to get it.
Using a Cleaning Solution
Lastly, a good way to keep outdoor surfaces clean is to use a cleaning product that is made just for them.
For example, you can spray 303 Outdoor Multi-Surface Cleaner on dirty spots and then scrub them clean.
Another product that can be used to clean outdoor objects in 30 seconds or less is 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner.
Follow the directions on the cleaner you choose and try it out on a small part of the surface first to make sure it won’t hurt the material.
Environmental Impact and Signs of Cleaning Needs
Cleaning outdoor surfaces is important for health and appearance, but if it’s not done right, it can also hurt the environment.
When industrial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals, they can cause pollution and waste.
Thousands of chemicals are washed into streams and rivers, and some of them stay in the environment and get into the food chain.
Also, these cleaning goods may contain chemicals that can irritate the eyes, skin, lungs, or other parts of the body.
So, it’s important to use cleaning products that are good for the earth and safe for people’s health.
Effects of Cleaning Products on the Environment
Cleaning products can have different effects on the earth, such as polluting the air and water and making more trash.
If chemicals from cleaning goods are not thrown away in the right way, they can pollute the water.
When these poisons get into streams and rivers, they can hurt the plants and animals that live there.
Also, using volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning products can change the quality of the air inside and add to smog outside.
Pressure Washing and Water Quality
Pressure washing is a popular way to clean things like buildings, equipment, and pavement that are outside.
But if it’s not done right, pressure cleaning can hurt the quality of the water.
If you have to use a chemical cleaner for pressure cleaning, you should take steps to keep the chemicals from going into the storm drains.
Food and grease splashes, concession stands, and outdoor kitchens should be cleaned with dry methods like absorbent materials or shop vacs.
Cleaning outdoor surfaces with water alone won’t hurt the earth as long as no harsh chemicals are used.
Signs of Cleaning Needs
Outdoor areas can get dirty and need to be cleaned for many reasons, like a lot of foot traffic, bad weather, and being exposed to dirt and dust.
Dirt, grime, and smudges on outdoor surfaces are signs that they need to be cleaned.
Sticky hands and dirty or dusty shoes can make surfaces dirty and in need of a good cleaning.
The surface should be cleaned if it looks dirty.
Door handles, shopping cart wheels, and elevator keys should be cleaned often because people use them a lot.
Soft Surfaces and Low-Touch Surfaces
When deciding how often to clean a surface, you should think about what kind of surface it is and how often it is touched.
The areas that people touch the most should be cleaned first.
Carpets and rugs should be cleaned with a product that has soap, detergent, or another type of cleaner that works well on soft surfaces.
It is not necessary, effective, or suggested to spray cleaning or disinfecting products on outdoor surfaces that are not touched often, like sidewalks, roads, or groundcover.
It’s important to keep in mind that spreading disinfectants, even outside, can be bad for people’s health and cause irritation or damage to the eyes, lungs, or skin.
Closing remarks and recommendations
In the end, wood restoration is an important part of keeping outdoor areas looking nice and lasting a long time. Whether it’s a deck, fence, or set of patio furniture, repairing the wood can give your outdoor space a new look. But before you start cleaning, it’s important to think about how your cleaning methods will affect the earth.
There are a lot of harsh chemicals in cleaning goods that can hurt plants, animals, and even people. As you start to restore wood, take a moment to think about how your choices will affect the end result. Think about using cleaning products that are good for the environment or even making your own with vinegar and baking soda.
At the end of the day, the point of wood restoration is to make your outdoor area look better and protect the environment. By cleaning and fixing up with care, you can achieve both of these goals and make a place that is both beautiful and good for the environment. So go ahead and fix up your wood surfaces, knowing that you’re doing something good for the world around you.
Looking for a new Pressure washer?
Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.
Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.
So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:
The Best Pressure Washer (For You!)
What are some ways you can keep the outside of a house clean?
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Links and references
- “Preserving Wood Features in Historic Buildings” by the Department of the Interior
- “How To Repair” by Furniture Physicians
My article on the topic:
Revive Outdoor Surfaces: Surface Restoration 101
Memory aid for myself: (Article status: blueprint)