Exterior cleaning essentials for building maintenance

Maintaining a clean exterior is crucial for enhancing building appeal. We’ll explore essential techniques and tools for effective exterior cleaning to address common challenges and keep your property brilliant.

Common exterior cleaning challenges

Your commercial building’s exterior gets exposed to many environmental and manufactured factors that can diminish its appearance. Some common factors are:

  • Algae, mold, and mildew – thrive in humid or consistently wet areas and can cause stains.
  • Bad weather – streaks from rain and snow get dust stuck to windows.
  • Dirt and mud – accumulate, especially in windy areas or businesses near roads.
  • Fallen leaves – combined with mud, they can stick to the side of the building and cause mud and dirt to build up.
  • Foot traffic – mud tracked onto walkways.
  • Graffiti – hard to remove from most materials.
  • Pollen – during pollen season, yellow particles can stick to the building.

Exterior cleaning tools and equipment

Here are some standard tools and equipment to clean most build-up off of your building’s exterior.

Pressure washers and soft washing systems

  • Pressure washers – use high-pressure water to blast off dirt and grime to a level that cleaning solutions are unnecessary, but they can damage some delicate materials.
  • Soft washing systems – use low-pressure washing combined with cleaning solutions; they won’t damage surfaces and are easier to use.

Brushes, squeegees, and scrubbers

Depending on the material and grime you’re cleaning, you will need different brushes or scrubbers. Soft bristle brushes are good for cleaning vinyl siding. You should use nylon bristle brushes for harder-to-clean areas like masonry. Remember to set handles at the lengths needed to reach where you need cleaning. Squeegees come in handy when cleaning windows.

Cleaning solutions and chemical treatments

Powdered or liquid detergent mixed with water is a safe, effective cleaner for most build-up and materials.

For algae, mold, and mildew, you want to clean the biological stain and try to keep it from further growth. You can clean algae with scraping, brushing, and water. For mold and mildew, use three parts water to one part ammonia solution OR 3 quarts water, 1 quart laundry bleach, 3 oz. Trisodium phosphate, 1 oz. Powdered detergent.

There are many premixed commercial cleaning solutions that you can attach to your hose for convenient application.

Technique for effective exterior cleaning

General surface preparation and pre-treatment can include:

  • Removing what you can with water.
  • Removing significant build-up with a bristle brush (and scraper on durable, heavy build-up areas) and a cleaning solution.
  • Rinsing the grime and cleaning solution.
  • Repeating as needed.


Have your commercial building’s exterior cleaned once a year to keep it looking fresh. Not only does it help it stay attractive, but it can also reduce some maintenance costs. Contact JK Industries if you need cleaning or repairs for your commercial building’s exterior.