Balcony Maintenance 101: What You Should Know

A nice balcony can be a major selling point when you’re looking for a new apartment, but it requires different maintenance from the rest of your apartment. From wiping your windows to vacuuming and sweeping regularly, here are five tips for how to maintain your first apartment balcony.

Mind your downstairs neighbors

The first thing to keep in mind before doing anything on your balcony is whether you have neighbors below you. Part of being a respectful apartment neighbor is being mindful of others, and this is especially important on an outdoor balcony where things you drop or liquids you spill could make their way onto your downstairs neighbor’s property.

Before using water or especially cleaning chemicals to clean your balcony, make sure there’s no one on the balcony or porch underneath you. If you’re using harsh chemicals, be careful not to spill any through cracks in the balcony onto your downstairs neighbor’s outdoor furniture or plants.

Work top to bottom

When cleaning and maintaining your apartment balcony, it’s important to work top to bottom for the most efficient process. While maintaining hanging plants or knocking down spiderwebs, you’ll most likely get the floor and outdoor furniture dirty, so do all these tasks first. Next, wipe down all your furniture, and finally, wrap up by cleaning the ground.

Streak-free window wiping

Your balcony should look great whether you’re on it or inside your apartment looking out, so getting your windows cleaned well is an absolute must. If your windows are especially dirty, start by using a rag and a bucket of warm, soapy water to get any dirt and grime off them. Wipe down the window frame while you’re at it.

After you get most of the grime off, spray the window down with a bottle of store-bought or homemade window cleaner, Finally, wipe the window down with a clean microfiber cloth or soft towel. If streaks or dirt remain, spray the window with a cleaner and wipe it down again. Two passes of the cleaner and rag should usually do the trick.

How to clean different types of balconies

Different types of balcony materials will tolerate different cleaning methods, and it’s important to know the difference so you don’t damage the balcony. Your balcony is likely either made from concrete, wood, or a wood-plastic composite. Concrete balconies will be resilient and difficult to damage, so you can use a harsh degreaser like laundry detergent or an alkaline degreaser with a scrub brush.

It’s usually pretty easy to tell the difference between wood and composite decking, as wood decking will look much more natural and have signs of aging and natural wear and tear. Clean a wood balcony with a soft scrub brush or a sponge, using a gentle cleansing agent like vinegar or soapy water. Be sure not to scrub the paint off. With a composite wood balcony, you can be a little rougher, even using a harsh bristle brush.

Vacuum or sweep regularly

One simple regular task that can make your balcony maintenance much easier is being sure to vacuum or sweep once or twice a week. Dead bugs, spiderwebs, and dust and dirt can accumulate over time and be difficult to clean up all at once. Taking care of these problems before they stack up will always pay off in the long term.

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