Egg from exterior house siding

The exterior of my 20 year old aluminum sided home was egged. I did not notice this until mid winter when it turned black. How do I clean the egg stain from the siding without causing damage to the siding finish?
Peggy

Happy Halloween!

The best solution is to use a pressure washer, but use caution because a high pressure unit can also damage the surface of the siding. The pressure washer can actually remove the paint from the surface.

It is a big expense to rent a pressure washer, so unless you have other areas (siding, patio, driveway, etc) to clean, it likely isn’t worth it. We have had some success in mixing an equal amount of vinegar, hot water, and a few drops of dish soap (1 cup of each) and soaking a thick terry towel. Hold this towel on the egg for an hour or so (a 2X4 can be leaned against the wall to hold up the towel). Agitate with a stiff scrub brush and hose down with your garden hose. This works great on auto finishes and we have had responses saying it worked from vinyl siding, however the stain was relatively fresh.

Exterior Gutters

This question was submitted from Louis M.

“How can the ground-in dirt and stains on an exterior gutter be removed?”

Ground-in dirt can be cleaned with success, however stains may be more of a challenge. The best thing to try for stains is a general purpose solvent or paint thinner. However if the stain has been there a long time exposed to the elements it may not come off easily.

Try these techniques :

When cleaning gutters, the main thing to be concerned about is safety. Be sure you are using the proper safety gear and if you have access to some kind of construction scaffolds it would be helpful.

Most good general purpose cleaners will be effective at cleaning gutters.

The key is to have a washing pail with warm water and either a sponge or a stiff brush. Preferably, use a sponge with a scrubber on the reverse side for stubborn stains.

Also have a pail with clear water or your garden hose handy for rinsing. Wash and rinse as you go; if the soap and dirt dry on the gutter before you rinse it off then you will have a greater challenge. Since dirt attaches itself to soap residue, the gutters will stay cleaner, longer if they are properly rinsed.

If the soil on the gutter is super bad you can use a stronger chemical called TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) available at any hardware store. Be sure to read the instructions on the container and follow all safety recommendations.

If you want to make the job a little easier, pre-spray the gutter as you are working to allow a little time for the soap to break down the in ground dirt.

Graffiti Off a Garage Door (Aluminum)

This question was submitted from LK.

“Someone has written not so choice words on my aluminum garage door with permanent marker. I need to remove them quickly. The people who bought our house take possession in the next couple of days. How do I remove the marker?”

You will need to buy a general purpose solvent designed for graffiti removal. You can buy this product at any janitorial supply or hardware store. If the graffiti is fresh it will come off easier.

Try these techniques :

It is a simple as putting the solvent on a good terry cleaning rag and wiping. Be sure to have a few rags on hand since as the rag gets saturated with the ink you will want to reverse it or use a new one to be sure you are not just redistributing the ink.

As always, remember to test a small area first when using techniques or chemicals you have not used before on the surface you are cleaning.

Best of luck; it sounds like as good idea to get out of the neighborhood!

Grease Stains off Wood Deck

This question was submitted from Richard G.

” How do I remove grease stains caused by a barbecue from a wooden deck?”

If the wood has been treated (stain or paint) you will have a bit of a chance. Unsealed wood will simply absorb the grease and it will discolor permanently.

Try these techniques :

Wood is very porous. Stains and paints, however, will partially seal these pours and form a bit of a barrier.

If this is the case you will need to remove or clean the stained surface, and refinish the wood.

You can remove the finish mechanically (sander, scraper) or chemically. Most home centers carry excellent wood cleaning products.

After you remove the stain (or as much of it as possible) be sure to reapply new paint or stain for continued protection from the elements (and BBQ grease!)

Gutters and Eaves

General Information:
Cleaning gutters or eves regularly will help increase the life of the gutters and prevent back-ups and overflows.

Tools & chemicals:
Rubber gloves, hose, bucket and multi-purpose chemical. You may also want a scoop or old slotted serving spoon.

Technique:
Start by scooping out leaves, debris etc. with your hands using rubber gloves or with a slotted spoon or cat litter scooper. Clean gutters at least once a year. Scoop out leaves etc. more frequently to prevent back up and overflow. Once you have removed the large debris, hose out the gutter. Use a mild soap and warm water and a brush to clean off the gutters. If your gutters are very dirty or haven’t been cleaned in years, you may have to use a more aggressive chemical. After cleaning is a good time to inspect for damage and facilitate repairs. Use ladders according to safety standards.

Hard Water Stains from Glass

Here is a question from Panda.

How can I clean dried on, very hard water from windows, both house and car ?

The professional auto detailer on our forum suggests that you use super fine steel wool and water to remove the stain itself, and then clean the window as you normally would with glass cleaner.

House Exterior Spring Check List

General Info:
Spring is the time most people tackle cleaning and maintenance chores.

  • Chimneys:
    Clean and inspect flues.
  • Siding & Trim:
    Wash siding, touch up damaged paint, repair loose siding.
  • Eves, Downspouts & Drains:Clean gutters, straighten and repair damaged downspouts and gutters. Flush Downspouts.
  • Roofing:
    Repair damaged shingles and flashing.
  • Windows:
    Clean windows and screens. Inspect for damage and repair.
  • Pests and birds etc:
  • Check vents, chimneys and other cracks and crannies for bird and insect nests.

Brooms

Descrption:
Normally, brooms are not thought of as requiring cleaning. However, a clean well-maintained broom will not only last longer than one that is not looked after, but it will do a better job when sweeping.

Technique:
One key to extending the life of your broom is to store it with the head of the broom off the floor or ground, (which means it either gets hung on the wall or from the ceiling) or stand it up on its handle. This will help prevent a buildup of dirt or moisture on the broom head. Also, the broom will not deform which (when this happens) restricts the broom’s ability to sweep efficiently. If your broom is dirty or moldy from moisture, try hosing off the broom head, then scrub lightly to remove debris or mold. If there is lots of debris in the broom head, try combing it out with an old wide-toothed comb or with your fingers.

Expanding Foam

General Info:

Expanding Foam comes in an aresol can, which reacts to air when it is sprayed, expanding and hardening into a solid foam. This product is most commonly used for form fitting unusual shaped objects for shipping, filling cracks in exterior walls for insulation and to prevent access by pests.

Tools & Chemicals:

Acetone, an old rag, pecut strips of cardboard or small pieces of wood, tools.

Technique:

  • If this foam ends up where you don’t want it, act immediatley! When this stuff cures it is absolutley permanent, forever and ever, until the end of time. Take the small pieces of cardboard and scrape off any excess. Throw this piece of carboard with the waste foam away now, put it down and you will get foam everywhere!
  • Be sure the area is well ventilated and there are no open flames! Pour some acetone onto the old rag. Using the rag, wipe away any residue that the cardboard did not remove. Use caution as acetone will damage some painted and plastic surfaces.
  • Throw this old rag away once you have used it!
  • If the foam has hardened, which means it has cured the only means of removal is mechanical (cutting, grinding, scraping).
  • Use whatever tools are nessecary to remove the excess foam, it can be cut, ground down, sanded filed, scraped, and the remaining residue can be removed with a wire brush. These actions are also likely to damage the surface that the foam is on.
  • There is no way to remove ‘fresh’ or cured foam from clothing. It is permanent.