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Five Things To Make Outdoor Cleaning Jobs More Bearable

Illustration for article titled Five Things To Make Outdoor Cleaning Jobs More Bearable
5 Neat Things5 Neat ThingsJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” Each week, she’ll round up five essential cleaning products, tools and organizational systems to help you live your tidiest lives.

Fall is in full swing, which means crisp weather and leaves and apple picking and all manner of other lovely autumnal things. It also means that winter is on its way, so if you have outdoor space that you use during the warmer months, you’ll need to show that outdoor space some love before the snow freezes your patio furniture to your deck. These are some things that can help make that job a little less cumbersome.


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The Good Trash Bags

If you’re going to undertake a big outdoor cleanup project, heavy duty trash bags are pretty much required. They’re also great to have on hand before the holiday season gets going, what with its parties and boughs of holly and suchlike, for use in cleaning up after big gatherings with lots of bottles and cans. Hefty Strong Large Trash Bags are made from thicker plastic than standard kitchen trash bags, so branches (or, um, bottles) won’t pierce through, leaving you with a whole other mess to clean up.

A Power Drill Scrubbing Set

Drill Brush Power Scrubber Kit
Drill Brush Power Scrubber Kit
Graphic: Shep McAllister

If you own a power drill, you should know that there are all kinds of attachments you can buy to help you clean things faster. For outdoor cleaning jobs, you’d want to go with a heavy duty brush attachment set like this one, that’s designed for use on concrete and brick. It has three different scrubber attachments: A scrub brush, and two flat round brushes, a 4 inch for scrubbing larger flat surfaces, and a 2 inch for getting into corners and other tight spots.

A Power Washer


But let’s say mere drill attachments don’t adequately feed your need for power! If you’re anything like me, I’m so so so sorry and also you probably have intense fantasies involving power washing tools. For those among us who’ve lost hours and hours of our lives to r/powerwashingporn, the dream truly is to have a power washer to call our own — and if you have a big outdoor cleanup project involving brick, stucco, pavers or even sturdy outdoor furniture, investing in a small-ish power washer is a good way to justify the purchase. This Greenworks model is great for two reasons: 1) It’s less than $100, and 2) It’s on the small side for these machines, at only 16 lbs., so it’s easy to tote around and won’t take up too much storage space.

A Gutter Cleaning Attachment


But let’s say you already have a power washer and you want to LEVEL UP on your fancy power equipment! There are all sorts of attachments you can get for a power washer, and as soon as I’m done writing this I’m going to go spend a few hours lost in a “oooooh look at THAT power washer attachment” hole, including one for cleaning gutters. So! If gutter cleaning is a thing you need to do, and you missed out on your chance to buy the now discontinued robot gutter cleaner (mmm-hm), that little add-on is well worth investing in.

An Upholstery Brush


But let’s say you don’t want to invest in something quite as advanced as a pressure washer. I can’t say that I understand you, but I’m here for you nonetheless: An upholstery brush and a little elbow grease will go a long way in cleaning outdoor furniture that’s gone grimy, or moldy, or bird shitty in the course of being outside. If you put your furniture away for the winter, it’s a good idea to clean it before it gets covered and stored, and this $6 upholstery brush combined with diluted dish soap or laundry detergent will more than get the job done, no fancy power equipment needed.

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person