Vinyl siding is one of the most popular home exterior choices today, thanks to its low cost, easy upkeep, and simple yet attractive appearance.
However, even the most straightforward type of house siding requires some occasional maintenance, and you need to know the best tips and tricks to get the job done right. We’ll show you how to clean vinyl siding properly.
Vinyl siding is a safe and durable form of protection for a home’s exterior. It’s manufactured from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and has recently made lots of development in weatherproofing and mimicking the look of real wood.
It’s one of the most affordable options available for siding and only requires minimal maintenance. It’s pretty easy to clean – you just need to know how.
While a pressure washer certainly makes the job easier, it’s not a requirement. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you could even damage your vinyl siding with a pressure washer.
There are plenty of ways to get vinyl siding clean and we’ll touch on all of them so you have some options and can choose the one that works best for you.
If you have an electric pressure washer and a single story home, you should be able to get the job done quickly and safely. You can use soap and water, or specialized cleaning products which specify that they’re approved for use in an electric pressure washer.
Use smooth strokes from bottom to top to “paint” on the soap, and let it sit for a few minutes to soak into the grime.
Next, gently spray from a few feet away at first, until you can gauge how much power to use. You want to clean the siding, not damage it. Use your brush attachment to scrub gently at any extra thick dirt or stains on the vinyl.
When using the pressure washer, keep in mind that the flow is extremely strong and could damage the vinyl if you aren’t careful. Set the spray pattern to a wide flow setting so that the power isn’t concentrated into one laser-like stream.
Secondly, while you’ll soap and scrub from the bottom up, you should rinse from the top down – this will keep the water from getting up under the joints and edges. Never aim a sharp spray at vents, light fixtures, or window panes.
If you don’t have a pressure washer or are concerned about possible damage, you can clean your vinyl siding without one and still do a great job.
You can use a washcloth or a soft-bristled brush to scrub the siding with water and mild household detergent.
Prevent unsightly streaks by washing from bottom to top, and be sure to rinse away residue with clean water while you work. It just takes a little elbow grease, but you should be able to remove even the toughest stains without a pressure washer.
If you’re concerned about mold on your vinyl siding, cleaning it with a bleach solution could be an effective route. You should get a plain spray bottle and fill it with three parts lukewarm water and one part bleach.
Cover any plants and electrical outlets in the immediate area, and give the siding a quick spray with your garden hose. Next, spray the bleach solution onto the siding and let it rest for a couple minutes.
Scrub the siding in small sections, rinsing well with fresh water as you go along. Bleach should never be allowed to dry fully before being rinsed off, so be prepared to finish the job once you’ve begun.
If you’re about to tackle the dirty siding but also love your plants, you may be wondering how to keep them safe from cleaning solutions.
If you’re using bleach, or another chemical solvent in the pressure washer, it’s best to get some sheeting and completely cover your landscaping to avoid killing the plants.
You can also use something less toxic to clean your vinyl siding, depending on the kind of dirt you’re dealing with. Three teaspoons of mild dish liquid in a gallon of water is effective for cleaning, but also won’t kill the plants if you happen to splash a bit while working.
You may be concerned about using harsh chemicals to clean your siding, especially if you have children around, and would like to find a more natural method. There are several different options that are more friendly to our health and the environment.
Baking soda and vinegar make a great natural cleaning combo, or either one can be used alone. Wet down your baking soda in some water, or just scrub some into the grime, plain. Baking soda is an abrasive, so sometimes a little on a damp sponge will do wonders by itself.
You can also use a spray bottle containing a solution of 70% water, 30% vinegar to clean naturally – but be sure to cover your plants for this.
Finally, if the grime isn’t too serious, plain old water and elbow grease can work just fine on vinyl siding.
Two story (or more!) homes may be more difficult to clean. Ladders are helpful, but are also a fall risk and will tire you out unless your house is pretty small.
A pressure washer is usually the easiest way to clean vinyl siding in hard to reach places – just follow the above mentioned suggestions for power washing vinyl siding.
If you’d rather do it by hand, any home improvement store should carry an RV brush: a long-handled pole with a brush on the end used to clean motor homes. This is a simple and straightforward way to reach dirt or mildew on vinyl siding higher up the walls.
When considering using any particular cleaning solution on your vinyl siding, you should make sure it’s compatible with the material. The manufacturer may have a list of approved solutions that won’t damage the vinyl – or, you can run a simple test on your own.
Simply apply a small amount of cleaning solution to a rag, and wash a small section of siding in a less noticeable area of the house. Wait approximately 48 hours, occasionally observing the area, to see if any discoloration or other unpleasant side effects occur. If not, the solution should be safe to clean the rest of the house.
Vinyl siding isn’t too difficult to clean, you just need to know how to do it. Now that you know some of the best suggestions for cleaning vinyl siding, you’ll be able to get your house sparkling just like new in no time.
Does your siding appear to be worn out and looks poor even after cleaning? If you’re in the market for new vinyl siding, look no further than Feldco. We’re Rockford’s number one vinyl siding company and would love to help you with your next project – get a free quote now!