Exterior House Washing: Everything You Need To Know

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Washing your house isn’t just about making it look pretty.

It’s about making it safe.

Without regular exterior house washing, you run a high risk of incurring permanent damage such as rot, stain, mould growth, and more.

A good wash is also an excellent way to stop all those spiders, earwigs, and centipedes from getting too cosy.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly why you need to wash your house regularly, what you’ll need to do it, and the correct steps for a complete and thorough wash.

In our guide to exterior house washing, you’ll find:

  • Why washing your house is so important
    • The risks of not washing your house
  • Different methods for exterior house washing
    • Soft washing vs pressure washing
  • A step by step guide to exterior washing
    • Preparing the environment
    • Making your cleaning mixture
    • Washing the house
    • Checking your work
    • Final steps

Let’s get into it.

A Clean House is a Happy House: Why You Should Wash Yours

Keeping the exterior of your house clean can protect your home from damage and save you money in the long term.

If not looked after properly, a home can quickly start to fall apart. If you plan on living in yours for a while, you need to understand the importance of maintaining it.

And that begins with a good wash.

The dangers of not washing your house

After rain or fog, moisture can cling to your house and cause damages or imperfections that are tough to get rid of.

When mould forms, it can eat away at painted surfaces, destroying both their appearance and the weather protection the paint provides.

Small cracks and crevices, such as the edges of your windows and doorways, are especially prone to accumulating mould, algae, moss, and dirt.

As well as damaging your property, these things can also attract unwanted pests such as animals and insects.

Ways To Wash Your House

There are two main methods for washing your house: Soft washing and pressure washing.

Soft Washing

Soft washing uses low pressure and is a lot safer in terms of preventing damage to your house. For most situations, a soft wash is your way to go.

Concrete that is under three years old should always be soft washed to ensure its structural integrity is not compromised.

When soft washing your house, you may want to consider using special cleansers to help destroy unwanted materials such as moss.

Unless you’re dealing with particularly difficult stains or residual material, we recommend you choose soft washing as your standard method of exterior care.

You can tackle the job yourself, or hire a professional to ensure the job is done safely and correctly.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is the process of using water under high pressure.

This method is much more effective at removing stubborn stains, loose paint, and other heavily embedded contaminants.

However, high-pressure water can easily destroy fragile materials such as weak timber, loose shingles, and even thin glass. For this reason, it is not recommended in most circumstances.

Although pressure washing runs the risk of damaging old or delicate surfaces, it does offer the best solution for removing tougher substances. It is also great at preparing wood or aluminium siding for painting.

When it comes to pressure washing your house, your safest bet is to leave it to the professionals.

Exterior House Washing: Step by Step

Now that you understand why washing your house is important and the different methods for doing it, let’s dive into the steps.

What you’ll need to wash your house

First up, let’s make sure you’ve got everything you need to get started. In this article, we will only be looking at the soft washing method.

The essentials for washing your house are as follows:

  • Soaps, bleach, or other desired cleaning product.
  • A pump sprayer.
  • A ladder (depending on the height of your house).
  • A power washer.
  • Safety goggles.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Sun protection.
  • Old clothes for working in.
  • A warm, dry day (ideal for identifying stains and blemishes).
  • A mat or tarp to cover nearby plants and belongings.

Once you’ve acquired all of the above, you’re ready to start washing your house.

NB: Please bear in mind, these steps are for low-pressure house washing. We recommend high-pressure washing only when absolutely necessary.

Step 1) Prepare the environment

Lay your mat or tarp over any items, including plants, that you don’t wish to get dirty. 

Exterior house washing can be a very messy job, so it’s essential that you protect everything before getting started.

You should also inform any members of your house or neighbours living in close proximity that you will be performing an exterior wash.

If there’s a risk of debris hitting a neighbour’s car or property, make sure you take steps to mitigate the risk before it happens. You can’t power wash away a lawsuit.

Step 2) Prepare your mixture

Whether you’re using bleach, a special cleaner, soap, or a combination of each (diluted with water, of course), your first step will be to get it ready.

Follow the instructions on the back of the bottle if using a storebought cleaning agent when diluting your mixture.

If using bleach, a good rule of thumb is to dilute it to 1% bleach, 99% water.

When finished mixing, fill the pump sprayer with your chosen mixture.

If you decide to go with any mixture that isn’t simply soap and water, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after preparation and keep any chemicals well away from your eyes.

Step 3) Spray, wash, repeat

Working in sections of 3–5 square meters at a time, begin by coating an area of the wall with your cleaning mixture.

Start from the bottom and move upwards, avoiding any windows where possible.

Allow a few minutes for the mixture to do its work, then rinse the walls with your pressure washer.

Repeat this process for the entire house.

Step 4) Check for any missed spots

If you have a large house with lots of walls, there’s a good chance you will have missed a few spots.

That’s okay; you’re only human.

Do a quick once-over of the entire property, attacking any remaining stains or grime with the soft washer.

When you’re finished, dispose of the chemicals safely and wash your hands thoroughly. Be sure to throw any clothes that may have been in contact with chemicals straight into the wash.

Step 5) Invite everyone over for a barbecue!

Congratulations, you’ve now got a sparkly new exterior for your home!

Invite your friends and family over to show off your house’s fresh new look, or keep it a secret and save the enjoyment for yourself – the choice is yours.

Lastly, remember that house maintenance needs to be a regular thing. 

The longer you leave it, the greater the risk of irreversible damage in the future.