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How to Clean Vinyl Siding

August 16, 2012 Categories: Home Renovation Tips

Though vinyl siding is a low maintenance option for your home, it is important to clean it periodically so you can get the most life out of it. Over time, dirt, mold and mildew can build up which causes vinyl siding to look unsightly and dull. The good thing about cleaning vinyl siding is that it's relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Just follow this step by step quide and your home's siding will look as good as new in no time!

Pressure washerMaterials & Tools

  • Garden Hose
  • Pressure Washer
  • Bleach
  • Detergent or Soap
  • Soft Bristle Brush or Soft Cloths
  • Buckets
  • Plastic Bags
  • Ladder (optional)
  • Drop Cloth (optional)

Cost

  • Pressure Washer: $75/day
  • Other Materials: $25

Time

  • 6-8 hours

Instructions

Step 1: Gather materials and prepare your cleaning solution.

Cover your plants before you begin pressure washingIf you have plants around your home, you will want to protect them with a drop cloth before beginning. Then, prepare one cleaning solution specifically for dirt using three parts water and one part soap or detergent. If you have mold and/or mildew stains on your vinyl siding, dilute bleach with nine parts water and one part bleach. You'll also want to rent a pressure washer for the day from your local hardware store to ensure that the siding gets a good cleaning.

Step 2: Spot Clean the Vinyl Siding

Use a brush to spot clean your sidingFirst, you will need to go around and check for mildew or moldy spots. Since a pressure washer may not remove these spots, you'll need to use your bleach solution and soft bristle brush to scrub them out. For any caked on dirt, clean the spots with the detergent mixture, this helps loosen up the dirt for the pressure washer. Work in small sections and from top to bottom. If you notice any debris in the gutters or between panels, remove it and dispose in plastic garbage bags.

Step 3: Pressure Wash

Pressure wash your vinyl sidingOnce you have spot cleaned your siding, you will want to give it a good pressure wash to remove all dirt and hard to reach stains. Attach your garden hose to an outside faucet and then attach your pressure washer to the garden hose.

Starting at the bottom and working from side to side, hold the pressure washer at a 45' angle and begin to spray the siding in nice, even strokes. To clean around windows and/or light fixtures, hold the nozzle at an angle and spray away from windows/fixtures. Since pressure washers generate high pressure, spray your vinyl siding directly (not from underneath). This will help avoid damage to the siding as well as prevent water from getting under the paneling and causing mold, mildew and rot.

Once you are done with the pressure washer, remove the attachment and rinse your siding with clean, clear water.

Tips

  • Wear gloves, long sleeves and goggles to protect your eyes and skin when using the pressure washer
  • Be sure to rinse any soapy mixtures off thoroughly (if it dries, it can cause stains)
  • Work when it's overcast and never wash a wall that is directly sunlit (solutions will dry faster and cause stains)
  • If you are using a commercial cleaner, always spot check to make sure it is safe to use
  • Pressure washers generate very high pressure and should be handled carefully. Do not use when small children are around. This is not an outdoor water toy!

One of the reasons vinyl siding is so popular is that it is an easy material to maintain. Generally, an annual rinse with a pressure washer is recommended. For deeper stains, mold and mildew, you will need to spot clean as necessary with each rinse. It's relatively little work that can be done in less than a day. Plus, your siding will look almost as good as the day it was installed! If you are planning on painting after cleaning, check out these tips on painting vinyl siding.