Stucco has become increasingly popular as an exterior finish for homes, and now, it's never been easier to spray stucco onto your home. However, some homeowners pay less attention to a stucco exterior than they might to other types of siding. Instead, they assume it will always remain attractive without needing to be cleaned.
Although stucco requires little maintenance and cleaning, it should be cleaned at least once per year, or more often as weather conditions dictate. One reason stucco needs to be cleaned annually is because it is made of a porous material that attracts dirt like a magnet attracts iron.
There are companies that will clean your stuccoed house for you, but those services can be expensive. With a little effort, you can clean your own stucco yourself with a little time and, a lot less money.
Inspecting Your Home's Exterior
At least once a year, you should inspect the exterior of your home. If you live in an area of the country where your home is vulnerable to hail, wind, or large amounts of rainfall, you should pay particular attention to the cleaning needs of your stucco exterior. Look for cracks, pocking from hail, or any accumulation of dust and debris you might find on its surface. Particularly, look for areas where moisture may have entered the stucco and could lead to the growth of mold or mildew.
Inspect and repair your home’s exterior walls where you find pocking, cracks, mold, or stains. Keeping on top of little issues can help you avoid paying for pricey repairs in the future when they grow into larger problems.
Washing with a Garden Hose
Washing your exterior with a garden hose is a good first step that's both easy and affordable. A regular garden hose with a good steady stream will easily remove most dirt and debris you find on the surface without risking damage.
A pressure hose is not recommended for this, as the force of the pressure may crumble or compromise your exterior material.
You can remove any dirt that you did not get off with your hose by using a bucket of hot water, dish-washing detergent, and a stiff, nylon brush. However, avoid vigorous scrubbing of the stucco. This can loosen the cement material, or damage it.
Once dirt and debris have been scrubbed off, a good rinsing with a garden hose will remove any residual soapy water that could otherwise collect additional dirt, dust, and debris.
Removing Mold or Stains
If you discover mold, mildew, or stains on your stucco, an affordable solution of 1 part water and 1 part bleach applied to the stucco should do the trick. Allow it to soak for about 5 minutes. Once the solution has soaked into the stucco, it will typically remove the mildew, mold, or stain. Then, all that's necessary is to rinse the spot thoroughly with a hose, and your stucco will be vibrant once again.
Take care to use a water-bleach solution that will not dry on the exterior.