Vinyl siding is a versatile, durable, and resilient material, but it requires routine maintenance to keep it looking nice. Because it is likely to accumulate dirt, stains, mold, and mildew over time, it can cause your home’s exterior to look grimy and worn out. However, with a little elbow grease, you can make it look brand new! Follow these simple tips to clean your vinyl siding like a professional and make your home’s exterior look clean and crisp!
Before You Begin
Before you get started, get comfy! Wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes, rubber gloves, and safety goggles to protect yourself from any cleaning chemicals. Move your outdoor furniture, toys, and other objects from the area, so they don’t get in your way. If you are using a ladder, make sure you have a friend hold it for safety purposes.
Protect Your Things
Before you begin, close all windows and doors to prevent water from spraying inside the house. Prevent damage from cleaning products by covering plants, pots, and landscaping with plastic tarps. You should also turn off, unplug, and cover lights and electrical units with plastic sheets and secure them with duct tape. It is also best to clean your vinyl siding on a cloudy day to avoid uneven drying from the sun.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need the right equipment to clean vinyl siding effectively. Here are the items and solutions we recommend when cleaning vinyl siding:
- Store-bought cleaning solutions (Clorox, Windex, Lysol, etc.)
- A soft cloth
- A long-handled, soft-bristle brush
- Hose/buckets of water
- Pressure washer (optional)
Bleach and vinegar solutions can be helpful and hurtful in many ways when cleaning your vinyl siding. Here are the recommended mixtures and the pros and cons of using them.
Bleach Cleaning Solution
Recipe: 1 quart of bleach for each gallon of water
- Makes discolored surfaces bright/white again
- Destroys almost all bacteria and mold
- Gives off toxic fumes, so it must be used in a well-ventilated area
- Harsh on skin, lungs, and environment
Vinegar Cleaning Solution
Recipe: 30/70 mixture of vinegar to water
- Typically kills about 80% of bacteria and mold
- No dangerous fumes
- Non-toxic, natural, and safe to use
- Chemical/bleach solutions typically eliminate all bacteria and mold
For Mold/Mildew Spots
Cleaning solutions like Windex or Clorox can treat small areas of mold and mildew. For larger sections, use ⅓ cup of powdered laundry detergent, ⅔ cup of powdered household cleaner, 1 quart of bleach, and 1 gallon of water.
*Make sure to test a small section of your siding with your cleaning solutions to make sure it works without damaging the paint or finish
Cleaning by Hand
Cleaning vinyl siding by hand is the simplest way to get rid of unwanted stains. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to use some elbow grease! The best way to clean vinyl siding by hand is to work in small 5’x5’ sections at a time. This makes it easier to identify what is clean and still dirty. Next, begin scrubbing at the bottom of the siding, working your way up to avoid streaking. Once you finish this vertical section, start working your way around the rest of your home.
The Right Way
Dip your cloth or brush in your cleaning solution of choice and scrub the siding until you start seeing a noticeable change. Although you want to get rid of the built-up grime, be gentle with it to avoid cracking the siding. To finish, rinse with water from top to bottom on each section for even drying.
Cleaning With a Pressure Washer
Cleaning by hand can take a long time and be extremely tiring, so some use a pressure washer. Pressure washing saves time and energy while still producing crisp and clean results. However, if misused, it can cause damage to your siding. Check to see if your manufacturer recommends using a pressure washer on your vinyl siding. Read power washer instructions carefully before use. Use your cleaning solution with the power washer if the product is compatible; otherwise, plain water will work.
The Right Way
Determine the amount of pressure that can be safely applied to your vinyl siding. Stand a few feet away from the house, holding the nozzle at a 25-degree angle at eye level. Point the nozzle straight at the siding with two hands (an upward spray can force water behind the vinyl siding, causing more mold and mildew growth). Pressure wash from bottom to top in small sections, using a side-to-side motion and a steady pace. Rinse with a hose.
By following these guidelines, vinyl siding can be kept looking “like new” and provide many years of trouble-free protection for your home. Keep your house looking like new with shining vinyl siding and summertime routine roof maintenance. Want to upgrade your home’s exterior? Contact the HomeWise Roofing and Exteriors professionals, Omaha’s trusted exterior experts.