By Tamara Gane
Your front porch might not be able to talk, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t saying a lot about you. Your front porch is the first impression your home makes to the outside world - a handshake extended to neighbors and guests. If your porch is unkempt, people will assume the inside of your house is, too. Don’t let that happen! Here are five easy things you can do to keep your front porch clean and prevent it from giving you a bad name.
1) Get Rid of Mold and Mildew:
When you look at a picture of this front porch, what do you notice?
The first thing I see is mildew covering the bottom of what would otherwise be attractive flower pots. It’s not a good look! Mildew is an unpleasant, unhealthy sight and if you have mildew on your porch it's a clear sign of neglect. It would be easy to look at this picture and think this front porch belongs to someone who doesn’t care about their home. Except that this front porch is mine. And I do care.
So, how did this happen? Slowly. Insidiously. Mildew doesn’t happen all at once, it creeps out stealthily while you’re asleep, one dot at a time. And because I walked past it every day the changes to my flowerpot didn’t even register. This is how even the best of us can get lulled into neglecting the most commonly used areas of our homes. We see them so often we get used to them and don’t notice incremental changes.
The good news is that it’s very easy to get rid of mildew on your front porch. One part bleach to five parts water will do the trick. In this case, the mildew came off immediately, but on areas where it may be more difficult to remove, such as the floor, you may need to scrub with a stiff brush. When you’re finished, use your hose and give the entire area a thorough rinse.
Tip: You can also Use a pressure washer on your concrete or cement floor to make it look like new again.
Getting rid of the mildew on your front porch will have an instant impact on your home’s curb appeal and show the world how much you care about your home.
2) Take Down Your Christmas Decorations:
I worked for many years in the home improvement industry, which meant I visited an average of four different homes every day. I saw it all, including the fact that many people left their Christmas decorations up for months on end in otherwise meticulous homes. Christmas wreaths were the most commonly overlooked. I would frequently see them hanging on doors in springtime. My only explanation for the phenomenon was that just like the mildew on the flower pots, these good people basically tuned out their holiday decorations because they walked past them so many times they forgot they were there (either that or each spouse was hoping the other would do it).
You should not leave Christmas, or any decorations up longer than two weeks past the holiday. It’s a surefire way to annoy your neighbors and make delivery professionals wonder if everything’s alright in there.
Bring in the decorations once they’re out of season and stop giving your porch an excuse to bad mouth you.
3) Clean Your Front Door:
In your living room, the focal point is often a large piece of art or a fireplace. On your porch, the focal point is your front door. How often do you clean your front door? If the answer is never, it’s fair to say your overdue. In addition to the fact that the knob is a purveyor of germs due to the multitude of hands that grasp it, it gets dirty. After all, it’s outside, exposed to the elements, the dog jumps on it and people touch it with dirty, greasy hands.
The good news is that front doors are easy to clean! For the first step, take a vacuum with a hose attachment, leaf blower, or cloth to remove debris, such as large pieces of dirt, spiderwebs, etc. Next just mix equal parts vinegar and water and wipe with a sponge. For dirt that is embedded and difficult to remove, try using a textured sponge (the type you use to wash dishes) and a little bit of baking soda to dislodge it. Keep wiping until your sponge comes clean, rinsing as often as necessary along the way.
Cleaning your front door will give your porch an instant makeover and signal to the outside world that your home is also fresh and clean on the inside as well.
4) We Get It. You Didn’t Ask For The Phonebooks
You came home after a hard day of work and there it was. A phone book. You never asked for it, and don’t need it because, you know, the internet, but someone put it on your front porch nevertheless. It doesn’t seem fair that you should be required to dispose of something you never asked for in the first place so you walk past it. And you do the same the next day. And the next. You do it so often you no longer even notice it’s there. Until another one is delivered and the whole cycle starts again.
Although you may be able to argue the moral high ground here, in the end, you’re only punishing yourself. Leaving phone books or other items clutter on your front porch makes your house look like an unmade bed. Life isn’t always fair. Do yourself a favor, keep your porch clean by bringing in the phonebooks. You can use them to make decorative paper, for fire starter, or, recycle them.
5) Don’t Forget the Ceiling:
If your front porch has an overhang, it can attract dirt, cobwebs, and dead insects. Grab a stiff bristled broom to remove them on a regular basis and make sure that the ceiling looks just as clean as the rest of your porch.
Now that it’s clean, these tips will help you decorate your front porch and make a stunning first impression. You’ll be glad you did!
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tamara Gane and www.shutterstock.com