One of the best things about vinyl siding is that it requires very little maintenance to keep it looking great. But just like anything that is exposed to the elements every day, vinyl siding can collect dirt or grime. Even so, vinyl siding is easy to clean, you shouldn’t need to do it more than once a year, and you most likely already have most of the supplies you’ll need laying around your house.
Start with A Rinse
Don’t pull out the big guns right away. It can be tempting to get that industrial power washer and start blasting away, but that’s probably overkill (and may cause more problems). Start with water and your normal hose. Often a rinse with the hose can remove loose dirt, pollen, and other residues that can make your siding look dull.
More Pressure Isn’t Always the Answer
Can you use a power washer on vinyl siding? It’s probably not a good idea even though vinyl siding is extremely durable and will hold up to a lot. Plus, you don’t really need all that pressure. In fact, too much pressure can force water under your siding, which can damage your home, and defeats the main purpose of your siding—keep moisture and the elements out of your home. Getting moisture under your siding is particularly easy to do when you start pointing a pressure washer upwards to get the top of your siding, as siding isn’t designed to take so much water pressure from below.
Still Need More Power? Brush It Off
If your hose isn’t getting the job done by itself, try a soft-bristled brush. We’ve found that the long-handled brushes that are designed to be used on cars, and which attach to the end of your hose, work great for siding. Be careful grabbing that push broom from the garage and scrubbing away, as the hard bristles can dull the gloss on your siding and make it look splotchy. This also goes for abrasive household cleaning products.
When cleaning your siding like this, you will want to work from bottom to top to avoid streaking.
The Right Solution Might Be a Solution
You don’t need to be a chemist to mix up a solution that can help cut through tough-to-clean grime and stains. In fact, you probably have what you need laying around your house already.
Vinegar: Start with a mixture of 70% water and 30% white vinegar. If you are cleaning a large area, using vinegar is also a lot cheaper than buying large quantities of fancy cleaning solutions.
Detergent and Household Cleaner: If vinegar isn’t getting it done, you can mix 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent and 2/3 cup of an all-purpose household cleaner (like Spic and Span) with a gallon of water.
Add Bleach: If your siding has mildew* on it, you may need to add 2 to 4 cups of liquid laundry bleach to the detergent mixture mentioned above. *Vinyl siding is mold and mildew resistant. However, if your siding is coated in a thin layer of dirt, pollen, etc., mildew can end up growing on that coating.
Try some of these cleaning solutions for more advanced stains:
|Gum||Fantastik, Murphy’s Oil Soap|
|Grass||Fantastik, Lysol, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Windex|
|Lipstick||Fantastik, Murphy’s Oil Soap|
|Motor Oil||Fantastik, Lysol, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Windex|
|Paint||Brillo Pad, Soft Scrub|
|Rust||Fantastik, Murphy’s Oil Soap|
Make Sure to Rinse
If you’re using a solution to clean your vinyl siding, make sure to thoroughly rinse it with water when you are done. This will not only help rise off any leftover dirt and grime, but it is also a good idea to rise away any residue of the solutions you might have used in the cleaning process.