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How to Clean Balcony Without Upsetting Neighbors: 6 Ideas

Pouring chemicals over a balcony is not the most neighborly way to clean it.

It will inevitably drip onto the ground eventually and anyone below will be left with a nasty surprise.

Instead of using harmful chemicals, these simple tips will keep your balcony clean and inviting, and at the same time keep your downstairs neighbors in good spirits:

  • Know laws and regulations in your area to avoid legal issues
  • Practice good balcony etiquette
  • Install a balcony drain
  • Consider vacuuming or sweeping instead of mopping
  • Avoid cleaning your balcony on rainy days
  • Use a cleaner without a strong scent

Read More: How to Clean Balcony Without Drain

A balcony, like any other part of a house, needs to be regularly cleaned.

Spills, corrosion and other build ups are not good to look at and can be a health hazard too.

But unlike other indoor spaces that you don’t share with your neighbors, cleaning a balcony is a delicate matter.

Discover: 13 Inspiring Indoor Balcony Ideas

When people build their homes or apartments, they often have balconies that overhang other balconies.

By cleaning your balcony you will inevitably spread the dirt to your neighbor‘s balcony below.

To avoid this, read on for simple tips to clean your balcony without startling or hurting your neighbors.

Related: How to Clean Balcony Floor Without Water

How to clean balcony with neighbors below

1. Know laws and regulations in your area to avoid legal issues

Renting a place does not mean you have the right to neglect the property.

In many cities and towns, there are ordinances and tenancy agreements in place that regulate how people can treat rented property.

If you live in one of these areas, your landlord may come knocking if you ignore their balcony for too long.

Other areas have rules in place to keep renters from damaging their own property or the property of others.

Before you begin your balcony makeover, speak with your landlord and find out what the laws are concerning maintenance.

Read More: How Long Do Balcony Repairs Take?

Keep a copy of these rules for reference if you have any issues later on.

Although cleaning the balcony may not be a violation of any laws or lease contract, it may become a nuisance to your neighbors on the lower floor or property value of the apartment.

These guidelines are in place for your own safety, so don’t think you can ignore them.

2. Practice good balcony etiquette (improve your communication skills)

Greeting your neighbors, cleaning up after yourself and letting people know when you’re finished working on your balcony can win you the support of your neighbors.

Find Out: Neighbors Smell Coming Through Vents (Solved!)

If you live in an apartment complex or high-rise building, you may have very thick walls that mask most sounds.

Another great way to create something positive out of a necessary chore is to build a relationship with your neighbors and you will likely have them looking forward to your balcony make-over.

Bringing them a beer or some cookies will give you an opportunity to talk and to ask them if they have any questions or concerns.

A friendly gesture like that can make a huge difference in the way your neighbors view you, and this will put you ahead of the pack when it comes to negotiations.

If your neighbors know you and trust that the work you are doing won’t cause problems for their unit, then any complaints they might have about new cleaning products, accessories or even colors won’t be as strong as they would otherwise be and can be settled ahead of time. 

3. Install a balcony drain

Lack of drainage is the #1 cause of flooding in apartments.

A balcony drain will help to prevent that water from spilling into living areas below.

Gutters, scuppers, downspouts, and balcony drains are all tools that help to keep water away from balconies and stairwells.

Related: Can You Put Gutters on Your Balcony?

Read More: Can a Balcony Have Stairs?

Gutters direct rainwater away from the foundation of a house, scuppers direct rainwater from windows, skylights, etc. down to the ground, and downspouts lead water from gutters away from the foundation of a house.

As a property owner, you control the appearance and functionality of your balcony.

To reduce the chances of rainwater and wastewater making its way downstairs or into living rooms, your balcony needs to be properly graded and drained.

This will save tenants from quarrels, lawsuits and other complications that can sour the relationship between a landlord and tenant.

Bacteria, mold, mildew and rot can occur when water is left to stand for too long on wood, metal or masonry surfaces.

So, for the safety of your neighbors and for your own sanity, there should be a way to carry away any excess water by means of a balcony drip edge or drain.

4. Consider vacuuming or sweeping instead of mopping

Frequent mopping can cause a lot of water to be wasted.

While this might not seem to be as big of a deal in areas with plentiful amounts of rain, it is still important to consider if you have neighbors beneath you.

Water often runs down to lower floors.

This can cause problems for the residents below where there is no proper drainage.

Try to mop your balcony as little as possible.

However, if you can, use a broom to do the job instead of a mop.

This will help to reduce the amount of water you are using because you only need to sweep up the mess.

Alternatively, a vacuum cleaner can do an even better job at picking up dirt and dust from the balcony floor.

If you feel mopping must be done, consider a squeeze mop.

A squeeze mop can pick up water better and doesn’t have a wet floor issue.

5. Avoid cleaning your balcony on rainy days

You may think it is easiest to clean your balcony when the weather is mild.

However, cleaning products and water can create a lot of extra mess to fellow residents.

If your balcony is very dirty, consider waiting until it’s dryer out to clean it.

Taking out the bucket and cleaning agents to mop when it’s raining is probably going to create a solution of messy water and chemicals that can find its way to your neighbor’s balcony.

You may be surprised by how much extra work this is going to be for the person living on the floor below you.

Be mindful of your neighbors and try to clean as little as possible during the rainy season, especially if your balcony lacks sufficient drainage.

Stained balcony floors are the last thing you want to give another tenant especially when you live in a high-rise building with many neighbors above and below.

When the waste water pools on their balcony, it will not only stain their property, but it will also leave them with a big mess to clean up.

6. Use a cleaner without a strong scent

Cleaning the balcony is no picnic, but using the right tools can make the job much easier.

There are many products on the market that can remove dirt from unpainted cement balconies, and even more that remove dirt from glass or metal facades.

Having said that, a strong odor can capture the attention of a neighbor, especially if it is a stench.

This might not be as big of an issue in areas with many plants and natural scents.

Related: Small Trees for Balconies

However, if you live in an open apartment building or one with a lot of people, this could stop you from making your balcony more appealing to visitors.

Some cleaners still have strong scents that a neighboring condo complex might not enjoy smelling.

Try to find one that doesn’t have any strong smells.

Industrial or inorganic acids like hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, which are common in drain cleaners, are especially strong.

Home cleaning products that don’t use these types of chemicals may be a good choice for you.

If you want to use an organic acid, make sure it’s mild and not strong.

Nontoxic, biodegradable cleaners are also a good option. They will not leave a strong scent for your neighbor to sniff out and shouldn’t hurt the environment either.

Cleaning supplies that are made for use in carpets or upholstery work well. They will leave nothing behind to create a bad smell either.

Make your downstairs neighbors happy after cleaning!

Solving a balcony problem is as difficult as any other household problem.

It is important to be aware of the noise and smell from the cleaning product, waste disposing practices, and what your neighbors might think about a loud balcony cleaning.

The solution to a cleaning that doesn’t upset your neighbors is more than just cleaning.

It’s also an appropriate disposal of waste after cleaning, and the understanding of how your own balconies function in relation to other balconies, being responsible for yourself and your neighbors.

Some of these reasons may seem obvious, but they’re not often thought through.

Use the tips mentioned here to enjoy a clean balcony and avoid the need for neighbors to call the city, property manager or get angry.

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.