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How to Clean Vinyl Siding

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If you have vinyl siding on your home, it's one of the most maintenance-free materials. Vinyl siding is resistant to damage and doesn’t rust, peel, or corrode. Unlike wood siding, it doesn't need to be repainted or sealed on a regular basis. And it won't dent like aluminum siding. The only thing you may need to do for vinyl siding is a periodic hosing off.

If your home doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight or gets dirty from pollen, surrounding trees, or other debris, you may need to do a bit more than a quick hose-down with your garden hose. Luckily, it's easy to clean vinyl siding with a few tools and a good cleaning solution.

There are a number of cleaning solutions you can use, many of which you can mix up in your own kitchen.  A good all-purpose cleaner can be made with a 70/30 mixture of water to white vinegar. You can also use laundry soap or oil-free dish soap diluted in water. Simple Green is a natural cleaning solution that is kind to the environment.

You can apply your cleaning solution using a garden sprayer, available at most home improvement stores. If you're using a pressure washer, some have a reservoir to add cleaning solution to the water spray. It's important to read the manufacturer's instructions regarding acceptable cleaning solutions so you don't damage the pressure washer.

Before you begin cleaning your siding, it's a good idea to protect surrounding landscaping by covering it with plastic or a lightweight tarp. Work in manageable sections of your siding, starting at the bottom and working up to avoid streaking. If using a garden hose, wet the section and apply your cleaning solution. Use a soft-bristled brush and scrub side to side. Rinse well, then move to the next section. If you have a second story you'll more than likely need to be up on a ladder to reach it, so be sure to take all safety precautions when working on a ladder. 

Whether you're using a hose or a pressure washer, aim the spray directly onto the siding. Avoid spraying at an upwards angle that could allow water to get behind the siding. If this happens, it could cause mold to grow and potentially damage the wood framing behind the siding.

After you finish cleaning, you might have some stubborn stains remaining. If you have mold or mildew spots, you can use a solution of one part bleach to four parts water. Murphy Oil Soap is effective for removing grass stains, grease, and clay. For any rust spots, apply a few sprays of Windex.

Homeowners with vinyl siding benefit from this virtually maintenance-free material.  With a cleaning once or twice a year, your siding will look as good as new for years to come!

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