Cooler weather is upon us, from the extreme cold in the northern states to the moderate but still cool weather in the south. Depending on your location and how much extreme weather, such as snow, you will experience as well as how often you plan to use your outdoor porch during winter will determine some steps in winterizing. All porches, however, need a good seasonal cleanup, so this is a good time to do that regardless of where you live.
To begin with, you will want to wash down or, for certain fabrics, wipe down any furniture used outside. Some types of furniture, especially the kind with PVC pipe arms and legs, will harbor mold. The mold can be removed with a light bleach solution rub down. You can also purchase cleaning sprays with bleach in their ingredients. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth and let air dry. Place all furniture in the yard, weather permitting, or to one end of the porch. If you plan to store the furniture during the winter months, this is the time to put the cleaned furniture where it is to be stored.
Once you have the porch area free of furniture and potted plants, it is time to tackle the screens and porch. Do the screens first so any debris will fall on the porch floor before you clean the floor. First, sweep the screens down, top to bottom, with a stiff broom. Be sure to check all corners for spider webs. Next, spray the screens with hose water. If the porch floor cannot be heavily wet, use a wet cloth and wipe down both the inside and outside of the screens. Let air dry.
Your final job is to give the floor a good cleaning. If you can wash the screens with hose-water, then you want to sweep the floor before you clean it but after you have swept down the screens. Some porches have indoor-outdoor carpeting on the floors and will need to be vacuumed before the actual cleaning. Cement and tile floors can be washed with a mild detergent and then rinsed. Indoor-outdoor carpeting can also be cleaned with a mild rug cleaner. Some areas may have become stained and will need extra attention by scrubbing or using an appropriate stain remover. Wipe down any walls and screen supports before the floor is washed. Check corners for gathered debris. Allow all areas where water has been used to dry thoroughly. If possible, choose a sunny day with some wind to clean your screened-in porch as this will make drying go a lot faster.
While it may seem unnecessary to thoroughly clean a screened-in porch, you will find that screens, floors, and most certainly the furniture will last longer and look better if taken care of properly. Rust, mold, and fading are quick to take over when a screened-in porch and its furniture is not winterized each year.