Fix-It Chick: Springing cleaning, outside

When it comes to spring cleaning, remember the outside of the house needs some loving, too!

Clean the gutters.

Despite all the newfangled gutter cleaning tools out there, the best way to clean a gutter is still with a pair of gloves, a ladder and a garden trowel or gutter scoop. Start from the down spout and work your way to the end of each gutter run. Reattach any loose gutter spikes, check for leaks and patch any holes or worn spots. Angle gutters 1/2 inch per 20 feet for proper water flow.

Clean the rain barrels.

Drain away stagnant water and use a high-pressured garden hose to loosen and remove debris that has accumulated in the bottom of the barrel. Clean the tops and sides of the barrel. Tighten all fittings and replace the filter screen.

Clean the air conditioner.

Clear away vegetation and debris within 2 feet of the housing. Use a brush or vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the fins. Spraying the air conditioner with water may cause damage. Make a note to change the filter before the day is done.

Clean the windows, inside and out.

Use a squeegee and a bucket of cleaning solution or wipe away dirt with newspaper and spray on window cleaner.

Clean and repair window screens.

Remove the window screens and spray them down with a garden hose. Replace any torn or loose screening before re-installing the window screens.

Clean and repair the deck.

Sweep up any loose debris. Wet the surface down with a garden hose. Spray or mop on a phosphate free cleaner. Let the cleaner soak in and do its work before rinsing it away. Tighten any loose screws or bolts. Sand down any rough edges and replace any rotten boards.

Clean and repair the driveway.

Sweep up dirt and debris. Use a high-pressure garden hose to clear away remaining dirt. Patch and seal cracks with an appropriate driveway repair product.

Clean the lawn.

Pickup sticks and trash. Rake up leaves or mulch them with a mulching mower. Clear away vegetation growing within 2 feet of the home’s foundation. Trim back shrubs and trees before they start to bud.

Clean patio furniture with a mild detergent.

Apply new finish as needed.

Clean the grill inside and out, and celebrate spring with a cookout.

You deserve it!

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


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