Vinyl siding has quickly become the most popular siding material in the United States. It’s durable, looks great, and doesn’t rot or flake. However, it does get a dull and dirty look over time. Fortunately, cleaning vinyl siding is an easy task to do yourself. Here’s how to make your siding look great again.
Because you will be spraying water and cleaner all around your house, there are a few things to do to protect yourself and items around your house.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Turn off power to any outside electrical units such as lights, outlets, etc.
- Cover plants such as shrubs or flowers to prevent the detergent from damaging them.
- Cover any etched glass or metal that may be damaged by cleaning solutions.
- Remove any other articles that may be in the way such as outdoor furniture or toys.
- Check over the siding for signs of mold or mildew. If you’re unsure if it’s mold, place a drop of bleach on it. If it turns white, it’s mold; if it stays dark, it’s dirt.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding
You Will Need:
- Laundry detergent
- Soft bristled brush and/or
- Broom and old towels and/or
- Sponge mop
- Large buckets (5 gallon buckets work best)
- Pressure washer (optional)
The Cleaning Process:
- It will be easiest to work around your house in 3-5 foot sections.
- Fill a large bucket with 4 gallons of water and mix in ¼ cup of laundry detergent.
- Gather your cleaning tool, either a brush, mop or wrap an old towel around the head of a broom and secure with duct tape. You’ll want something with a long handle.
- Begin by using the hose to spray away any loose dirt and debris. If you have a pressure washer available, that can be used in place of the hose and will likely lessen (or completely eliminate) the amount of scrubbing needed. Be careful not to force water behind the vinyl panels through the seams. That could cause mold and mildew problems that are much more work to get rid of!
- Starting at the top, dip the chosen cleaning tool into the soapy water and begin scrubbing away any dirt and debris from the siding. Continue working your way down to the bottom of your section. It is important to start at the top, as the dirt will drain downwards. If you were to start at the bottom, then you would have to re-clean the bottom later to remove the dirt that drips down from the top.
- Use the hose to rinse away the soapy water. Be sure to remove all the soap before it dries or it will leave a mark on the siding.
- Continue on, repeating steps 4-7 for each section.
Removing Mineral Deposits
White hazy mineral deposits, also known as limescale, can be deposited onto your siding by sprinklers or other watering methods. Here’s how to remove the buildup.
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- A spray bottle
- A scrub brush
Steps to Remove the Limescale:
- Mix an equal amount of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the stains thoroughly with the solution.
- Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes. Do not let it dry out. Reapply more solution if needed to prevent it from drying.
- Scrub the area with a soft-bristled scrub brush. Do not use a stiff-bristle brush or scrub very hard as you don’t want to damage the siding.
- If the stains are stubborn, repeat the process using straight vinegar as many times as needed.
- Rinse the area using filtered or distilled water if possible.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you’re concerned about putting chemicals into the ground, there are several eco-friendly detergents available to choose from as well.
- Trisodium Phosphate can also be used in place of the laundry detergent.
- Bleach can be used to remove mildew build-up present on many houses. Mix a mild solution of 1 part bleach with 5 parts water and remove by scrubbing away with a scrub brush.
- If using a ladder to clean siding near the top of your house, have an additional person available to help. Trying to scrub with a mop or broom while standing on a ladder can be extremely dangerous and should be done with extreme caution.
- Have stains that you can’t remove from your siding? The Vinyl Siding Institute offers a great list of cleaners for many kinds of stains that may be found on your vinyl.
- If your house is too big to complete yourself, you may want to have a professional clean the siding.
- Once the siding is clean, there are sealants that can be applied to prevent mold and mildew, such as Mold Armor or Moldex. These products can be found at most major supermarkets and hardware stores.