Dust, winter grime and stains may leave you wondering how to clean your vinyl siding. Depending on the size of your house, the process may take a day or an entire weekend. Fortunately, you won’t need any special tools or dangerous chemicals to get the job done right.
Skip the Pressure Washer
Although your siding may look dingy, a pressure washer isn’t the answer. The force from the pressurized water can crack or punch holes through your siding, plus it can endanger your home’s windows. Even if the siding withstands the pressure, the water may loosen the clips that hold the vinyl siding in place. Although the quick cleaning power of a pressure washer is tempting, it’s just not the best tool for cleaning vinyl siding.
Before you clean, take a few minutes to walk around the home and inspect for damage. Although rare, vinyl siding may sometimes comes loose from wind. Clip any loose siding back in place before you clean so it isn’t completely knocked off.
Cracks or holes in the siding are another concern. These usually happen, because of heavy hail or another impact. You don’t want water seeping behind the siding when you clean, so have any damage repaired before you begin.
The Big Clean
Your siding is in good repair and you’re ready to get it clean. Follow these simple steps to wash your vinyl siding:
- Hose down the house with a garden hose to wash away the dust and loose dirt.
- Fill a large bucket with warm water and liquid dish soap.
- Dip a long-handled deck brush into the soapy water. Scrub the siding with the brush to remove the dirt.
- Rinse each section of the house after you scrub it so soap residue doesn’t remain on the siding.
If you need to use a ladder to reach every bit of your walls, make sure you have a partner on hand to keep it steady.
Sometimes mildew and algae grows on vinyl siding, especially in wet or humid climates. Although bleach kills mildew, it can also damage any plants or grass growing near your home. Instead, use an oxygenated bleach, which is harmless to your plants and won’t damage the vinyl siding. Dilute the bleach in water and spray it on the siding before scrubbing it with the deck brush. The San-Antonio Express News recommends using a pump sprayer, because it will quickly distribute the cleaner without the dangerous pressure of a pressure washer.
Regular washing helps prevent mildew growth on siding, but there are other steps you can take. Keep bushes and plants trimmed back so they don’t rest against the siding and trap moisture. Piles of leaves or items stored against the side of the house can also become a moisture trap.
Related Resource: Types of Windows That Are Easiest To Clean
Usually, spring is the best time to get your home’s exterior clean. You can clean at any time of year, as long as temperatures are above freezing, if bad weather or other environmental conditions make your siding grimy. Now that you know how to clean vinyl siding, you are prepared to handle this chore annually.