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Tips for cleaning your conservatory

Whether you’ve installed a conservatory to create some extra living space in your home or you’re simply looking to add value to your property for when the time comes to sell, conservatories need adequate maintenance if they are to continue looking as pristine and sparkling as they did on the day that you made the purchase. Especially if the conservatory is used frequently (children and pets are primary culprits), the interior of your conservatory can start showing signs of wear sooner than you would hope. Likewise, in the notoriously cold British climate, the exterior of your conservatory is not only susceptible to the frosty elements, but the roof can start to accumulate leaves and debris need to be removed.

The interior

A conservatory can start to show wear after excessive use, but this is true to a greater extent if you smoke in the conservatory – smoke stains may occur on the frames of your conservatory which will need to be scrubbed thoroughly. If the conservatory has not been designed for optimal ventilation, there is also the risk of unsightly mildew occurring. While you should always follow the guidelines that came with your conservatory, using a soft cleaning towel with some warm water and dishwashing liquid is generally a safe option for scrubbing up. Light polishing for the furniture is recommended, as is a hoovering and general clean once a week (just like you would for any other room of the house). Especially if your conservatory roof isn’t UV-resistant, your furniture is likely to experience fading over time. One way to combat this is to rotate your furniture every couple of months so that the same spots are not consistently in the hottest parts of the room, increasing the longevity of the furniture. Alternatively, you can select furniture which is designed to resist UV light –synthetic rattan is a good option and it is also highly durable, meaning it will not degrade as fast as traditional conservatory furniture which is made out of cane and bamboo.

The exterior

While you can normally tell by eye when the exterior of your conservatory needs a good clean, as a general rule of thumb, once every three months should be sufficient. If you have purchased a conservatory roof with self-cleaning glass, dirt and debris will not accumulate to the same extent, but it is still worth giving them a clean a few times a year. It is recommended that you purchase a water-fed conservatory cleaning pole which will enable you to clean the roof from ground level and blast all the dirt and debris off the roof with a jet of water. If this is not possible using a ladder to reach the roof of your conservatory is the next best choice – although you should use a conservatory-specific ladder and someone should always be standing at the bottom to hold it steady. A ladder will enable you to clean the conservatory roof by hand but under no circumstances should you stand unaided on the roof as it may collapse under your weight – so use an extendable brush while standing on the ladder. If algae has started to grow on your roof, use an algae-specific solution and clean it thoroughly so that it doesn’t come back anytime soon! Clean the windows of your conservatory with the same cleaning solution that you would use on the other windows in your house. Ensure all dirt and debris are cleaned from the drainpipe and gutters. For timber-framed conservatories, it helps to use a breathable finish so that moisture trapped within the frame can leave – this will prevent the onset of rot, making your wooden frame last longer and look better. A fresh oil treatment will help to bring out the natural grain of the wood, however for those with oak conservatories, it is often desirable to leave the wood untreated to create a rustic, weathered aesthetic. The choice is down to you.

(Photo by foshie)