(Note: I included affiliate links in this post. My complete disclosure policy is HERE.)
I love everything about spring…the flowers, the warmer weather, the cool evenings…except for that yellow pine pollen! Every spring, a thick layer of yellow pollen blankets everything outside. It makes me sneeze just thinking about it.
For the first time in my life, I have a screened porch. So, for the first time in my life, I had to figure out how to clean the pollen off of it.
As you can see, here’s what’s on the porch – and all of it needed cleaning (including the dog, although that’s not covered in this post!):
- Sectional with cushions and pillows. We have the Arholma sectional from IKEA. The covers of the cushions are washable (although you cannot put them in the dryer).
- Small fridge (out of picture)
- Coffee table
- Dining table and chairs (all wood)
- Indoor/outdoor rug from World Market
- Air hockey table (from Target)
Here’s what supplies you’ll need to clean your screened porch:
- Sprayer or pressure washer – I used a sprayer like this garden hose sprayer. You can rent or buy a pressure washer (which my neighbors did – I heard their pressure washer going at the same time I was hosing away!), but a hose sprayer with a jet or spray setting will work fine.
- Fence or some other way to hang up an indoor/outdoor rug, if you have one.
- Shop-Vac or other vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Mild spray cleaner
- Old beach or bath towels
Also, make sure you are wearing clothes you do not mind getting dirty and wet! I wore my grubby clothes and rain boots for this!
How to Clean a Screened Porch in Five Steps:
As with most projects, preparation is key. Here’s what you need to do for the prep stage.
First, vacuum the rug. Did I do this? No, I didn’t. But, in retrospect, it would have been a good thing to do before moving the rug off the porch.
Use a shop vac for this if you have one, just so you don’t get your regular indoor vacuum polleny (yes, I just made up that word). If you don’t have a shop vac, use your regular vacuum, but then make sure to clean it well after you’re finished de-pollening (another word I just made up). This vacuuming is not going to get the rug completely pollen-free; in fact, far from it. But it will make it bearable to move!
As I said, I didn’t do this. I tried to hose the rug down with the rest of the porch. DO NOT do that! Trust me. Hosing it down doesn’t clean the rug; the yellow, pollen-filled water just ended up pooling on the rug. And then I had to move the rug, which is MUCH heavier when wet!
Trust me. Give it a good vacuum and then roll it up and move it off the porch. Drape it over a fence or something else that can hold its weight. This is an easier task with two people if your rug is large.
Second, dust the ceiling fan. Do this as part of your prep because the pollen from the fan will fall down onto whatever is below it. So cleaning the fan first means that you’ve gotten that out of the way and can clean up whatever falls! To clean the fan, you can use a fancy duster, or just fasten a damp rag to a broom (with rubber bands) and wipe the blades down.
Third, move all soft surfaces off the porch. This means moving pillows, cushions, and, yes, the rug. If you have a clean, non-polleny surface, you can go ahead and take the covers off the cushions and wash them. I didn’t, so I just laid them on the walkway by the porch and did this later.
Get the hose and sprayer ready! Start with the screens. Using the “jet” or “spray” setting, start at the TOP of the screens and spray them – use a back-and-forth motion and make sure you get the whole screen area. You want to clean these screens so that the pollen doesn’t just blow off them, back onto the porch.
For particularly stubborn dirt on the screens (pollen, leaves, etc.), use a wire brush dipped in mild soap. Then rinse with the sprayer.
If your screens are in bad shape and you’re worried about spraying them, just use a softer setting on the sprayer, like “mist.” The key is to rinse them off. You don’t have to blow them away!
Once you’ve finished the screens, it’s time to hose off the furniture. Again, use the “jet” or “spray” setting and power-wash all that yellow stuff off! Do this to all the furniture and hard surfaces EXCEPT anything plugged-in or electric (boogie woogie woogie).
Once you’ve hosed it all down, you should now have a lot of yellow-tinged water on your porch floor. Take the sprayer on “jet” or other strong setting and spray that water off the porch. Direct the water outside. If the sprayer isn’t strong enough to do this, you can also do it with a broom. Just sweep all that water and pollen off the porch!
3. Wipe Down.
Take the old bath or beach towel and wipe down all the surfaces you just hosed, because there will still be some pollen still on them, and they will be wet. Start high and move to the floor: wipe down the furniture first, then put the towel on the floor and (I used my feet for this) wipe down the floor. This will get the rest of the pollen out.
Next it’s time to clean the electronic/plugged-in stuff: for me, that’s the fridge and the air hockey table. I took a mild spray cleaner – I used Method all-purpose spray cleaner – and wiped these pieces down with the rags. It took two passes to fully clean them.
4. Wash the Cushions
If you haven’t already done so, remove the covers from the pillows and cushions and throw them in the washer (or sink, if you can’t machine-wash them). I did this as the fourth step because I could put the cushions (the insides) on the sectional once it was clean.
Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before washing the cushion and pillow covers. The IKEA cushion covers we have can be washed in the machine, but cannot go in the dryer. I would not have wanted the covers to shrink!
Once the covers are dry, put them back on the cushions and pillows. I then spray them with Rust-Oleum NeverWet Outdoor Fabric Spray, Clear Finish, which causes water to roll right off the cushions. Seriously – coolest product ever. Here’s a demo:
(Disclosure: Rust-Oleum sent me this NeverWet product, but not in exchange for this post or any other promotion. I am only including it here because I think it’s a great product.)
5. The Rug
Once the rug is draped over a fence, hose it down. Having it draped over something will make it easier (1) to get all the dirt off of it and (2) for the rug to dry. Once dry, beat the rug, old-school style, with a broom to get the rest of the pollen and dirt off of it.
Put it back on the porch and then vacuum it once more, just for good measure.
And, with that, your porch is clean! Now all you have to do is shower so that you’re clean, too! (This is a DIRTY project. I was filthy and wet after!)
Have you tried cleaning pollen off a porch before? What are your secrets? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!
Now grab a sweet tea and sit a spell! You’ve earned it! Have a great weekend, y’all!