There are so many advantages to choosing vinyl siding that our clients have made it our company’s most popular installation type. Vinyl’s superior durability, minimum maintenance, and low cost are its biggest draws.
Yet, vinyl siding can gather stains, mold, dirt, and mildew over time, making it look dull, dingy, and worn-out. Fortunately, it also has an easy-to-clean surface. With a few simple tools and a little bit of elbow grease, you can get any vinyl siding back to like-new condition in just a few hours. Here are techniques for cleaning your vinyl siding.
Get Your Home Ready Before You Start Cleaning
While getting ready to clean your vinyl siding, take these steps to circumvent potential hazards and prevent significant messes.
Think of Your Safety and the Safety of Your Family First
Be sure to wear clothes that are comfortable but that you don’t mind getting dirty. You also need to protect yourself by wearing closed-toe shoes and personal protective equipment (PPE), including:
- A face mask to avoid fumes from your cleaning chemicals
- Goggles to safeguard your eyes from dirty and soapy backsplash
- Thick gloves to protect your hands from loose siding or protruding nails
Ensure children and pets are safely secured indoors and toys and outdoor furniture are removed from the area.
If you’re using a ladder, have your spouse or friend hold it while you’re working from it.
Protect Your Home’s Interior, Landscaping, and Electricity
The next step is to take a walk around the perimeter of your home. This is an excellent opportunity to make sure that your vinyl siding is still in good repair and has not been damaged by falling branches or other natural hazards.
Shut your windows and doors to stop soap and water from spraying into your house. Be sure to cover your landscaping, plants, and potted flowers with plastic tarps to protect them from cleaning products or falling debris.
This is particularly vital if you intend to power-wash your siding or if you’re planning to use strong detergent.
Switch off outlets, unplug power cords connected to your home, and protect electrical units and light fixtures with sheets of plastic and duct tape.
Select the Right Day for Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding
Pick a day that preferably has little to no direct sunlight. Cloudy or overcast days are better for cleaning your siding and windows because the sun would dry wet spots rapidly and unevenly.
Assemble Your Vinyl Siding Cleaning Tools
Once you’ve taken steps to prepare for the job, it’s time to gather your cleaning equipment. To clean your siding successfully, you’ll need the proper tools. In most cases, you can wash your home with standard items found around the house, and your siding will still turn out looking great.
Items and solutions we recommend for cleaning your vinyl siding include:
- Mild detergent: Laundry detergent is an excellent option for cleaning dirty surfaces
- Bleach cleaning solution: You can use one quart of bleach per gallon of water to create a mold- and bacteria-killing solution. This solution is excellent for whitening dingy surfaces; however, its toxic fumes are harsh on your lungs and skin.
- Vinegar cleaning solution: To create a safer cleaning disinfectant, mix 30-to-70 vinegar-to-water. This recipe is non-toxic, meaning you’ll avoid dangerous fumes; however, it only kills about 80% of all mold and bacteria.
- Bucket: Use a five-gallon (or larger) bucket to hold the detergent, bleach, or vinegar solution.
- A soft-bristled, long-handled brush: A long-handled mop or, preferably, an RV brush works well for cleaning hard-to-reach spots. Just make sure it’s long enough to reach the top of your siding.
- A hose: Decent water pressure is ideal, but you may only need to use it for rinsing rather than mild pressure washing. If you need more power, you’ll be better off renting a pressure washer.
Give Your Vinyl Siding a Good Spraying and a Good Scrubbing
We recommend cleaning your siding in three to five-foot segments, making sure each section is clean to your satisfaction before moving on. Begin by hosing off each siding segment with plain water.
You’d be surprised how much dirt and grime this can remove with minimal effort!
Test Your Cleaning Solution
Test your cleaning solution on a small area to ensure it will work without damaging paint or siding finish. Simply add laundry detergent, bleach solution, or vinegar solution in your bucket and fill it with water.
Proper Cleaning Techniques
Use your brush, mop, or a soft cloth to scrub stubborn spots until you see changes. Scrub gently enough to avoid cracking the vinyl but hard enough to get rid of the grime.
To avoid streaking, begin cleaning your siding from the bottom of your house and work your way to the top. As soon as you’ve completed a vertical section, repeat the process until you’ve completed your home.
Rinse Your Siding as You Go
As you’re washing, use your hose and rinse your house from top to bottom to prevent spotting and uneven drying.
Make sure you’re using only a non-abrasive material so that your siding is not at risk of damage. For most homes, that’s all it takes to get siding looking brand new again.
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Should You Power Wash Vinyl Siding?
Power washers are not typically required to clean your siding successfully. If you haven’t washed your siding in a few years or have particularly stubborn dirt, however, you might want to rent a power washer from your local hardware store to make the job easier.
There are several things to remember when using a pressure washer on your siding:
- Read the instruction manual carefully first.
- Follow your siding manufacturer’s power washing guidelines. Some say you should avoid using them, while others may provide PSI (pounds per square inch) pressure limits and cleanser recommendations.
- Stand far enough away from the siding so that the powerful force of the water won’t damage it.
- Use caution when using a power washer anywhere near electrical wiring, doors, windows, or plumbing components.
- Avoid angling the power washer up into the siding in such a way that it might jam water up and under the boards, possibly compromising your home’s waterproofing.
If you follow these tips, using a power washer to clean your vinyl siding can be a fast and efficient way to get the job done. Do not sandblast your siding!
Dealing with Mold and Mildew on Vinyl Siding
If your vinyl siding is marred by ugly brown or dark green patches, you may have a mold and mildew problem. The stains caused by mold and mildew are undoubtedly unappealing to look at, but they can also present a health hazard if left to flourish and spread.
The best way to tackle mold and mildew on vinyl siding is to add a drop of laundry bleach to your pre-existing solution of water and detergent. Then, all you need to do is scrub the siding a bit. The stains will soon disappear, leaving your siding clean and sanitized.
Schedule Your Virtual Consultation with Opal Today!
Cleaning even the dirtiest vinyl siding doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow our easy techniques. However, before performing any siding cleaning, be sure to review the care and maintenance manual for your specific product. Every siding is different, and some have a unique finish that requires extra care.
Opal Enterprises is proud to install high-quality vinyl siding by Alside, an easy-to-clean product that offers superior protection for your home. Nevertheless, if your current siding isn’t performing, contact us, and we’ll help you determine the best way to fix the problem. Are you ready to transform your home? Schedule your free virtual consultation today!