You’ve installed vinyl siding on your home, but it’s beginning to look a little drab or dull. Rain and wind or other factors like debris can dirty your siding over time, especially for houses near busy streets and in urban areas. If you are beginning to notice discoloration of your siding or any mold or mildew growing, it may be time to think about washing it. Here are two ways to clean vinyl siding.
Pressure washing is the more common way to go about cleaning your vinyl siding due to its time efficiency and lesser physical demand than washing by hand. However, in order to prevent permanent damage to your vinyl, it is important that it is done correctly.
Here are six steps for the best way to clean vinyl siding.
- If your siding is already damaged or in need of repairs, it is essential to get these repairs done before you begin. It is also beneficial to check with your manufacturer to see if they recommend pressure washing their product at all. If you decide to proceed with power washing, the first step is to rent or purchase one. Popular sites for research and purchasing a pressure washer include Pressure Washers Direct and Lowes.
- Before you begin, saturate any garden beds around the perimeter of the house so the pressure washing chemicals run off.
- Determine if whether to use a soap and water mixture or a commercial detergent. The owner’s manual on the pressure washer should be used to determine this. In general, a detergent will be more effective in removing tough stains.
- Start with a low amount of pressure, like a PSI between 1,300 and 1,600 and increase it as you begin to remove dirt and grime. If more pressure is needed to cause an effect, increase it as necessary.
- Stand a few feet away from the siding and hold the tool at eye level, spraying straight on. Pointing the nozzle upward could cause water to get in behind your siding and result in water damage. Spray side by side along the horizontal pattern of the vinyl to avoid streaking. Tilt the sprayer to a 45-degree angle around windows and trim to dislodge dirt.
- When you’ve determined the job is done, rinse the entire siding from top to bottom and let dry. You can use a towel to spot dry corners of the siding that could be points of entry for water.
If your vinyl siding is more susceptible to damage, it may be beneficial to hand wash it. Check with your manufacturer to determine which method is right for their product. If you do decide to hand wash, here is an easy step by step process to follow:
- Step one is to choose your cleaning solution. There are a couple different factors that you should take into account when choosing which solution to use. You could buy cleaning solutions on sites like Amazon and Home Depot, and you can find a list of commonly bought solutions here. The pros of a commercial cleaner is that it is generally more effective, however it is less environmentally friendly than a homemade solution.
- If you opt for a homemade mixture, there are a couple simple recipes you could use. Most commonly used is a vinegar water mixture. Fill a bucket with about 30% water and 70% white vinegar. Another effective type of vinyl cleaner that can be made from water and any general-purpose cleaner such as Dawn dish soap.
- Scrub the vinyl in sections, rinsing periodically.
- To avoid causing any abrasions, use a soft bristle brush to scrub. It is important to scrub hard enough so that you can see a noticeable difference in the tone of the vinyl, but not hard enough to crack or damage the siding. For tougher stains, try applying a baking soda paste to the spot and let it sit for 1-2 minutes before scrubbing.