How to Clean Vinyl Siding

Keeping the outside of your home clean is one of the most tedious parts about being a homeowner.  Cleaning vinyl siding is no exception, but there methods to make this job go more smoothly.

how to clean vinyl siding

After all, there are few things more irritating and disheartening than rounding the corner to your driveway and noticing that the side of your home is completely discolored.  It doesn’t take a home clad in white vinyl to notice mold, mildew, dirt or grime collecting, so grab a few tools and get your home back to what it should look like.

The Basic Wash-Down: Removing Dirt and Grime

For things like dirt and grime, you don’t need to go over-kill in your cleaning method.  Usually, dirt and grime will come off the side of your home with ease if just a garden hose and spray nozzle is used.

Step 1: Collect Your Tools

For getting dirt off vinyl siding, you won’t need too fancy of equipment. Make sure you have a long garden hose to avoid having to haul a short length everywhere you need to clean.  If you want, a pressure washer will also do the trick, but it is not needed to just remove dirt.

Use a spray nozzle that can harness maximum pressure through the hose.  If you are using a pressure washer, make sure you set it on a medium spray pattern, this should be plenty of force to knock the dirt and grime away.

Step 2: Start Washing

Once you have your nozzle and hose or pressure washer set up, the project can begin.  Ensure that the spray is wide enough so the power of the water doesn’t cause any damage to the siding.

This is the most common problem that homeowners run into when trying to clean the side of their homes.  To help prevent this from occurring, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Start from the bottom and work up.  Doing this first will also help you maintain control when you first begin if you’re not used to using high pressure on the side of your home.
  • Don’t let the water run behind the siding, as this could also cause damage.  When spraying, keep the stream even with the siding or down against it.

An alternative to using the garden hose and spray nozzle is simply using a soft bristled brush or even a soft cloth, as recommended by the Vinyl Siding Institute.  It’s also suggested that with this method, starting from the bottom and working upwards is best.

It’s also important to make sure that whatever cleaning solution you’re using to remove the dirt is removed and washed off completely.

Getting Rid of Mold and Mildew from Siding

moldy siding

When it comes to cleaning vinyl siding, mold and mildew are a different story from dirt and grime and cannot be so easily vanquished with just a garden hose and water.  Fortunately, this is a problem that’s experienced by almost every homeowner with vinyl siding.

There are many products available online and in stores that help with mold and mildew removal, and there are also solutions you can make by yourself using common household products.

For getting rid of mold and mildew, it’s important to select a solution that has a little bit of power behind it and is able to kill the growth of the spores.

It’s recommended to clean off your vinyl siding at least twice a year.  However, using certain chemical cleaning solutions to wash off the vinyl siding can help keep it cleaner longer, so having to do this chore could be more like every 9-12 months instead. Using solutions with bleach or other chemicals help kill mold spores and prevent their growth.

Cleaning Solutions to Remove Mold and Mildew

There are a couple different ways to make a solid cleaning solution for your vinyl siding. A solution of 30% vinegar and 70% water has produced successful results in cleaning off both mold and mildew on vinyl siding.

You can also mix 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent, 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate cleaner (TSP), and 1 gallon of water. Regular liquid bleach cleaner can also be used to remove mold and mildew.

Tips to Remember When Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding

If you choose to use bleach and other strong cleaners like TSP, be careful and make sure that you’re taking precautions.  Follow any instructions that are listed on all product labels before use.

It’s important to remember that when using bleach, don’t mix it with other cleaners that have ammonia or vinegar, because it can result in the formation of a dangerous chlorine gas.

Wear rubber gloves that cover a good portion of your arms to avoid direct contact with the bleach or chemical cleaner.  Cover any nearby plants with plastic trash bags because if they absorb any bleach that’s spilled, they could suffer serious damage.

Whatever solution you’re using, let it sit for about 15 minutes on the vinyl siding to ensure that mold and mildew growth is completely killed.  If you don’t want to use strong chemicals to clean off your vinyl siding, products are available on the market that are environmentally friendly and will produce the same successful results.

Don’t use any scrubbers that are known to be extremely abrasive or pads like steel wool.  Using rough scrubbers and brushes like these will scratch your vinyl siding, causing damage that you’ll be forced to replace or have to completely paint over.

Some vinyl manufacturers advise to not use a pressure washer.  This is because homeowners who are unfamiliar with using a power washer will end up causing irreparable damage to their siding in attempt to clean it.

Novice power washer users tend to use too much pressure when cleaning off their vinyl siding, which can result in dents and dings.  If you do decide on employing the use of a pressure washer, remember to take caution when working around windows, gutters, plumbing, and doors.

Make Cleaning Vinyl Siding an Easy Chore

Cleaning vinyl siding may seem like an overwhelming chore because it covers the entire exterior of your home, but with a few simple tools and chemicals, this chore can be done in under a few hours.  If you don’t have a power washer, simply using a brush or cloth by hand will do the job in removing dirt, mold, mildew and other residue.

If you’re not comfortable using certain solutions or tools for this project – don’t.  You want to avoid creating more work for yourself, and for cleaning vinyl siding, the simpler the set-up, the easier the job.  Contrary to popular belief, you can skip the power washer for this job if you’re not versed in its use and pick up a garden hose or a gentle cloth instead.

Cleaning off your vinyl siding will help maintain your home’s exterior looks and keep the vinyl in good condition for a long time.  Spotless vinyl is a key selling point to many home buyers, so if you’re looking to move, a clean exterior will go a long way when it comes to the resale value of your home.

The true first step in cleaning vinyl siding is to have vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is perfect for Cedar Rapids homes because it’ll never rot, warp or crack when exposed to moisture and the color will never fade. If your home needs an upgrade, you can trust Feldco for the best vinyl siding in Cedar Rapids – get a free quote now and join the over 350,000 homeowners who count on us.

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