GARDEN & TERRACE – SPRING CLEANING WITH A PRESSURE WASHER
The birds are starting to sing, the flowers are starting to blossom and the sun is warmer every day. Finally, after a dreary winter: spring is here! It is time to prepare the patio, ready the greenhouse and organise the garden tools for the year ahead. The easiest and fastest way to clean is with a pressure washer. Furniture, tools or garden paths – a pressure washer can be used to remove winter grime from almost anything. Here are some tips to make the cleaning really effective, and what to keep in mind.
CLEANING THE GARDEN FURNITURE
The weather is finally comfortable again. Time to take advantage of this. Shake off the dust from your furniture’s winter hibernation. It is simple and easy to clean plastic or metal items, but more care must be taken with wooden items – check for splits or other damage that has occured during the winter. If so, it’s better to use a soft sponge and lukewarm water than a powerful pressure washer. This also applies if your furniture is varnished. If you find any damage to the varnish, wash gently and carefully. But if the chairs and benches are undamaged, you can use the pressure washer freely. Remember to use a gentler setting for the water jet. Some gardeners clean their garden furniture three times a year. The process begins in the spring, freshening the items in summer and then a final clean before storage in autumn. Then the furniture is covered. Please remember, should always be cleaned with water, and never with chemical detergents.
TIME TO CLEAN TERRACES AND PATHS
In autumn and winter, garden paths made of brick or stone can become slippery and dangerous. This is mainly due to algae, which thrives in damp and shady conditions. The best way to avoid the risk of slipping is to clean the garden paths with a pressure washer. Before starting, it’s a good idea to remove weeds from any gaps and sweep away excess dirt. After cleaning the worst away, sprinkle some construction sand over the stones and tiles. The sand fills the cleaned joints and settles on the porous surfaces. This improves our grip when walking on the surface. You’ll also prevent the seeds of plants and grasses from settling in the joints and starting to germinate. Tip: when using the pressure washer for the first time, start in the furhest corner. You can test whether your paving can withstand this method of cleaning. It’s best to start with a low pressure, and then slowly increase it for the desired effect. Stones made of robust materials such as concrete, granite, basalt or quartz can be easily cleaned with a pressure washer. If you have soft natural stone, you should use a brush instead.
CLEAN THE GARDEN TOOLS
Everything from wheelbarrows to shovels – give them a clean as they a woken from winter slumber. Soil and plant residues from last autumn must be removed! Why? Simply because: Rust may have formed under the dirt. It not only looks ugly, but also shortens the life of your shovels, forks and rakes. Of course, this can be fixed using a brush, sponge and a bucket of water. But it’s much more fun and simpler with a pressure washer. Once the dirt is gone, wipe the tools thoroughly, brush away the rust and oil the equipment where necessary. By the way: make sure you wear gloves and goggles when working with your pressure washer. There’s always a risk of getting something in your eye.
CLEANING PLANT POTS AND BUCKETS
Even large and heavy plant pots benefit from a high-pressure washing treatment. A spick and span patio or terrace looks smart. Before you start, however, you should take a good look at your pots. Are the pots cracked? Has anything come loose? Do they have any frost damage? If the pot is no longer completely intact, it’s best to use a brush and sponge. But if there’s no visible damage, then the pressure washer can be used – at a lower pressure. Empty pots are first surface cleaned with a hand brush. When the pots are finally clean and dry, you can place them on the terrace, in front of the house or on the garden paths. Terracotta pots should only be washed with clean water. This is to make sure they keep their patina.
NO BACTERIA OR PESTS IN THE GREENHOUSE
Wise gardeners already know that the greenhouse should be cleaned at least once a year. Both inside and outside. How to avoid mould and pests. It is a really good idea to clean twice a year – first in spring, and then again in autumn. Before tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers are seeded, the window panes should be cleaned and the shelves wiped dry. This will keep your vegetables happy. Now they can soak up as much light and sun as possible during the day and flourish. After everything is harvested in late autumn, clean again. This prepares the greenhouse for winter before the potted patio plants move in. Just like in spring: both the inside and the outside need to be cleaned. For the inside – it’s easy to use a sponge, brush and water. On the outside, a pressure washer can come in handy. But be careful: if you’re not sure whether individual components can withstand the pressure, you should clean them by hand instead. You don’t need to worry about any nearby plants being damaged by the pressure washer – as long as you aim carefully and only use water.