Keeping the inside of your house clean is essential to your health, happiness, and ability to enjoy your space. And while you’re busy tidying indoors, don’t forget to show some TLC to your home’s exterior.
Just as you don’t want to use harmful chemicals inside your home, you should avoid using them outdoors. Plus, if you don’t select the right products for outdoor cleaning, you could inadvertently harm the environment.
Luckily, you can clean without dirtying the world around you. This article will discuss eco-friendly ways to clean the outside of your house as well as:
- Why environmentally friendly cleaning is important
- How to green clean the surface of your house
- DIY home cleaning solutions you can make
- Best all-natural cleaning products to buy
If doing all of this yourself seems like too work, consider hiring professional cleaners to get the job done well.
Why Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Is Important
Eco-friendly cleaning is crucial because it helps lessen the effects of chemicals on the environment. While clearing nasty grime from outdoor surfaces, you might also be washing harsh chemicals straight into the surrounding environment.
Some household cleaners contain carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur elements. These compounds are significant players in biological processes, and disrupting their natural balance is detrimental.
The National Library of Medicine says, “the redistribution of those chemical elements and human-produced toxins on regional scales may have profound effects on human health and ecosystem function.” Such effects include toxic buildup in the food chain and shifts in biodiversity.
Scientific explanations aside – Earth is the only home we have, and we should treat it with care. By mindfully using cleaning products that are less likely to harm the environment, you create a brighter, safer future for yourself and generations to come.
How to Green Clean the Exterior of Your House
Now that you understand the importance of eco-friendly cleaning, you’re ready to get scrubbing.
Several items in your pantry might be the green cleaning solutions you need. Substances like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are all-natural cleaners that can remove tough grime from outdoor bricks, cement, and glass.
The following sections will provide eco-friendly cleaning tips for common parts of your home’s exterior.
Pressure washing your house’s siding with water can be an effective and eco-friendly way to clean. However, pressure washing with too much force can damage certain exterior materials.
If your house has vinyl siding, avoid pressure washing. If you aim the pressure washer upward while cleaning, water could force its way under the siding and cause damage – or lead to nasty mold and rot. In most cases, you can remove dirt, dust, and potential stains from the vinyl with a watering hose, damp cloth, and soft bristle brush.
If you opt to clean your vinyl siding with a pressure washer, carefully read the pressure washer instructions and siding manufacturer’s manual first.
If power washing or rinsing your house’s siding isn’t getting it squeaky clean, you can make stain remover with items from your pantry.
A white vinegar solution is the best eco-friendly and affordable way to clean vinyl siding.
Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of vinegar. Put the solution in a spray bottle and apply it to problem areas on the vinyl siding.
Let the solution sit on the siding for a few minutes, giving the acidic vinegar time to break through stains and mold. Next, use a sponge or brush to scrub the solution into the spot. Once you’ve removed the stain, rinse the area thoroughly with warm water.
Although vinegar is a natural solvent, it can still damage plants and grass because of its high acid content. For this reason, you should always dilute it before using it in outdoor cleaning tasks. Cover your plants with a tarp before cleaning if you’re concerned about vinegar getting on your lawn or garden.
If your home is made of brick, you can use several eco-friendly home remedies to remove dust, grime, and mold.
Brick is susceptible to damage from pressure washing, so be careful if you decide to take that route. Intense water pressure can wear away the mortar holding the bricks together.
You can keep your brick cleaning routine green by avoiding chemical cleaners altogether. Acidic chemicals and bleach can stain bricks and wear down grout over time. Such chemicals aren’t typically necessary for routine brick cleaning, anyway.
Start with a leaf blower, broom, and watering hose to freshen up your brick house or dividing wall. Use the leaf blower to remove dust and pollen, then the broom to remove any remaining cobwebs. After clearing dry debris, rinse the surface with a watering hose, starting at the top and working your way down.
Use a gentle soap to break down dirt if rinsing isn’t doing the trick. Mix dish soap with hot water and apply it to the brick with a spray bottle. Then, use a brush to break up residue and rinse away the solution.
Once you’ve removed dust and dirt from the brick’s surface, you can spot treat sections with remaining stains, mildew, or rust.
Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap with a tablespoon of salt, combining the two to form a paste. Alternatively, create a similar cleaning paste with 3 tablespoons of dish soap and half a cup of baking soda. Create as much of either solution as you need to treat the stains.
Use a paintbrush or sponge to apply a layer of paste to the brick. Leave the solution on the brick for about 15 minutes, giving it time to break down the stain. Rinse the solution away with warm water after allowing it to set in. Then, use a wet sponge or soft-bristled brush to wash away the remaining paste.
Your driveway needs cleaning, just like the rest of your home’s exterior.
Rain drainage and car spills can leave your driveway stained, unsightly, and in desperate need of scrubbing. However, you should always avoid chemical cleaners when washing your driveway.
Most driveways have a slight slope that allows rainwater to drain off. The water typically drains to the street and enters a public storm drain. The harsh chemicals you use on your driveway could wash into street drains and contaminate the local water supply.
Luckily, green cleaning your driveway is easy.
You can typically clean your concrete or asphalt driveway by sweeping away dust and debris and then rinsing the area down with water. This method freshens up the concrete without involving any chemicals.
Home remedies can work if the water isn’t removing hefty dirt and oil stains.
If you notice your car has leaked liquid on your driveway, don’t panic. Baking soda’s absorptive qualities allow it to soak up fresh oil stains.
Pour a generous layer of baking soda onto the oily area and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the powder has had time to absorb the liquid, use a bristle brush to scrub the area. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse the baking soda away with warm water.
If baking soda didn’t clean up the mess, try scrubbing the area with laundry detergent. When selecting a detergent for outdoor cleaning projects, always ensure it’s biodegradable.
No matter how much you dilute the product, it will still run off your driveway into nearby grass or storm drains. According to the University of Connecticut Office of Sustainability, “chemical cleaners produce 30,948 tons of hazardous waste each year, and some ingredients of cleaning products are associated with eutrophication of streams,” which can harm aquatic organisms.
Biodegradable cleaning products break down naturally and don’t contaminate soil or groundwater. This quick, natural decomposition is crucial because it eliminates toxic buildup, creating a more sustainable way to clean.
Like your house’s siding, your windows accumulate dust, dirt, and smudges. You can create a non-toxic window cleaner with lemon juice and vinegar.
The acid in lemon juice and vinegar breaks through the buildup on the windows, leaving them sparkling and streakless. The organic compounds in vinegar have antibacterial properties and will disinfect glass surfaces.
Fill a spray bottle with 3 cups of water, half a cup of white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. If you don’t have white vinegar, lemon juice works well as a substitute.
Shake the spray bottle until the contents are thoroughly combined. That’s it – you have a bottle of all-purpose cleaner for your outdoor windows and glass countertops.
If you dislike the scent of the vinegar or lemon juice solution, add essential oils to the mixture to improve it. About 10 drops of your favorite essential oil fragrance should improve the smell without artificial chemicals.
When cleaning your windows – or any part of your home – use a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels.
According to this Stanford Magazine article, “in the oxygen-starved conditions of a landfill, paper towels break down and generate methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.” The article also mentions that if everyone in the U.S. used five paper towels per day, we’d produce over six million pounds of paper waste daily.
You can help slow this unsustainable paper use by cleaning with reusable options.
Microfiber cloths are incredibly absorbent and attract dust and dirt. These washable, reusable cloths clean more thoroughly than paper towels without producing paper waste.
Wooden Patios and Decks
While you’re sprucing up your home’s exterior, don’t neglect your wooden deck or patio space. Wood is porous, making it more susceptible to mold, mildew, and algae growths. If fungal growth progresses, your wood could start rotting.
Luckily, you can clean outdoor wooden surfaces using the eco-friendly products we’ve discussed.
For routine cleaning, use a leaf blower or broom to remove dust and dirt from the deck. Next, spray down your deck with warm water.
Usually, sweeping and rinsing the wood with slight pressure from a hose will remove most grime. However, you might need to use a homemade cleaning solution for stubborn stains.
Mix 1 gallon of warm water with 2 tablespoons of dishwasher detergent. Then, clean the deck by mopping the solution across its surface. You can spot treat stains on composite and wood decking with white vinegar and baking soda.
Combine a gallon of water, half a cup of vinegar, and one-fourth cup of baking soda. Spread the solution onto the wood and use a soft brush to scrub it in. Use a hose or bucket to rinse away the remaining mixture.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products To Buy
Next, we’ll discuss green cleaning supplies from brands with ingredient transparency policies and eco-friendly certifications. These products are available at most retail stores, so you won’t have to look hard to find them.
Method is a cleaning brand that sells plant-based products for various needs. According to the brand’s website, “all of Method’s ingredients are comprehensively assessed by a leading research firm to ensure their safety for people and the environment.”
While most of Method’s products are designed for indoor cleaning, it offers a glass cleaner perfect for outdoor furniture and windows. It also sells a wide range of laundry and dish detergent products you can use to clean outdoor surfaces.
Seventh Generation is another popular cleaning brand with the “mission to transform the world into a healthy, sustainable, and equitable place for the next seven generations.”
Seventh Generation offers dozens of products to clean the outside of your home.
Its all-purpose cleaners are perfect for glass and vinyl surfaces, and its glass cleaner will leave your windows sparkling. The company adds fragrance to products with essential oils but also offers unscented options for those with sensitive skin.
The USDA BioPreferred Program certifies that all Seventh Generation products contain plant-based formulas instead of non-renewable petroleum sources.
Simple Green is another brand that creates eco-friendly cleaning products.
Simple Green makes a variety of all-purpose cleaners and pressure washing solutions for decks, driveways, and house siding. Some of the company’s products are EPA Safer Choice-Certified.
Safer Choice is an EPA Pollution Prevention program designed to help people “find products that perform and contain ingredients safer for human health and the environment.”
Check the EPA’s Safer Choice-Certified product list for more information on environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and standards.
Cleaning the outside of your house is key to your property’s curb appeal and long-term maintenance. Removing buildup and stains from siding, bricks, windows, and concrete will help these parts of your home last longer, saving you from costly repairs and replacements down the road.
We hope this article provides you with eco-friendly cleaning solutions for the outside of your house. You can buy green cleaning products at the store or create your own solutions with materials from your pantry.
We suggest testing out eco-friendly cleaning remedies before purchasing commercial products. You’ll save money and avoid wasteful packaging while mindfully cleaning your home.
Once you find a solution that works for your home’s exterior, you’ll be on your way to sustainable, responsible homeownership.