These outdoor cleaning tasks need to be completed before summer starts – here’s how to make them easier

Take the experts’ advice and tackle essential seasonal outdoor cleaning with ease this year

Patio furniture on decking with planters and trees in background
(Image credit: Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz)

With summer nearing, it’s time to pay attention to the outside of your home. Carrying out cleaning and maintenance now ensures the exterior of the house and areas such as decks and patios are in great condition – and the latter two are ready to be enjoyed as soon as the weather permits.

The pre-summer to-do list isn’t long, fortunately, and outdoor cleaning tips can make all the essential jobs easier. After all, no one wants to spend longer on chores than they have to. Here, we‘ve rounded up the tasks that are important to deal with before summer starts along with the experts’ advice on how to complete them more easily.

Pre-summer outdoor cleaning tasks made easy

Give your home a little tender loving care now and you’ll be set for the summer. Cleaning and maintenance prevents the wear and tear to which the outside of any home is subject becoming a larger problem with all the cost implications that brings.

These are the tasks home pros suggest you tackle now and the ways their long experience has shown them make these chores easier.

1. Clean gutters

A gutter on roof full of leaves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cleaning gutters is a task you should do before summer starts. Accumulated debris in the gutter means they won’t do their job and water won’t drain. Although less rain is to be expected as summer starts, it’s still important. 

However, the job isn’t a nice one. ‘Cleaning the gutters is an awful experience,’ points out Deborah Lamberton at ASAP Restoration. ‘It’s dirty, it smells like rotten leaves, it’s hard work, and it’s dangerous getting onto the roof to do it.’

But there is a way to avoid cleaning gutters from the roof and to get the job done more easily. Deborah explains: ‘Technology has come to the rescue in the form of extendable hose attachments for pressure washing out gutters from the ground like this gutter cleaning tool from Amazon.’

2. Remove mold and algae from decking

deck railing ideas

(Image credit: Future / David Giles)

Spruce up your deck so it’s ready – and safe – for use. Mold and algae can cause slips and falls as well as turning it into an area in which it’s far from appealing to sit if you don’t remove green mold and mildew, so clean it before summer begins.

The way to make this job easier? ‘The key to removing mold and algae from decks is using a quality deck cleaner,’ explains Scott Paul, owner at ‘Deck cleaners are designed to loosen debris like dirt and gray wood fibers and also rid the deck of contaminants like mold and algae. If the proper cleaner is not used then the mold and algae will continue to grow and will reappear in no time. 

‘This is especially important if you are staining the deck,’ he notes. ‘Improper cleaning can mean mold and algae get trapped below the new deck stain and begin to eat away at the wood, causing rot and decay.’

A pressure washer will remove debris from the deck, but you can clean a deck without a pressure washer using a stiff brush instead. 

3. Refresh exterior paintwork

white painted house exterior

(Image credit: Jenn Verrier)

The exterior of your house might be showing a little wear and tear with paint on exterior walls and trim in bad shape, but if you want to make your front yard look nice, enhance curb appeal and keep your home sound, it’s an issue that needs addressing.

Cleaning before painting the exterior of a house is essential (otherwise, the paint won’t adhere properly) but that can feel like an onerous task. There is a way to avoid the labor, though. ‘Use a pressure washer (you can rent these) to do a targeted clean along any areas where the paint is flaking, bubbling, or looking dull,’ recommends realtor and curb appeal expert Eric Bramlett, who also has his own real estate portfolio to take care of.

‘The high-pressure stream will slough off that unsightly failing paint and provide you with a clean, prepped surface for touch-ups. Look for exterior paint designed for excellent adhesion, get yourself a good angled brush, and you can have those problem areas looking fresh again in spot treatments versus an all-over re-paint. While you’re at it, take care of any caulk failures around trim, too.’

4. Maintain awnings

outdoor seating area with sofas and balcony above

(Image credit: Noah Webb)

If you want your home to be comfortably shaded when the temperature rises, take the opportunity to clean and maintain awnings.

‘Checking the awning’s frame and fabric helps spot any damages that may make it unusable during summer,’ says Mike Falahee, president of awnings specialists Marygrove. ‘As you are doing this, you should check for any tears or rips, and if you find any, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible.’

But awnings also need cleaning and there is a straightforward and effective way to do so. ‘When cleaning your awning, you should avoid using harsh chemicals,’ Mike explains. ‘I find acetone the perfect chemical to clean awnings to give them a fresh look.’

5. Fix patios and decks

Mid-century wooden patio furniture ideas set against a bright blue painted wall.

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Both patios and decks can show damage and addressing any problems before summer will make the job a simpler one. 

‘Do a speed lap around the area, looking specifically for major splinters, deep cracks, or boards coming loose,’ advises Eric Bramlett. ‘Mark those key spots with some bright tape or chalk so you can focus your efforts there.

‘For tiny hairline cracks, I’m a fan of using a concrete crack sealer or wood putty that comes in a easy caulk-style tube – way faster than meticulously mixing up batches.’

As for dealing with a grimy patio, overusing a pressure washer is one of the patio cleaning mistakes to avoid. Instead, you can easily clean patio pavers without a pressure washer using soapy water and a stiff brush.


How do I keep my outdoor living area clean?

Sweeping hard surfaces with a stiff broom will keep outdoor surfaces clean, and they can be hosed down if necessary. Be sure to keep up with the tasks that keep pests away, too. ‘Clearing old piles of leaves, checking your plants for insect problems, and clearing any debris lying around the base of your house are important tasks,’ says Brett Bennett, director of operations, PURCOR Pest. ‘This can help you to get rid of any potential homes for pests.’

It’s worth checking on the condition of sofas, tables and chairs as you might need to clean outdoor furniture before using it again this summer. Add instant color to the yard by painting garden furniture, too. And it’s the right time to clean an outdoor rug that’s used for a patio or deck as well.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.