How to Clean Vinyl Siding
Keep mildew and dirt from taking over your house by learning how to clean vinyl siding.
Vinyl has been the number-one siding choice in the United States since 1995. And it’s easy to see why – vinyl is low maintenance, comes in numerous colors and designs, and is much less expensive than materials like brick, stone, or wood.
But even with all its benefits, vinyl can accumulate grime and mildew. Here are the two best ways to clean it off.
The Best Vinyl Siding Cleaning Solutions
Before we get to vinyl siding cleaning methods, you need to pick a solution. Several cleaning products (homemade and store-bought) work wonders.
Water + White Distilled Vinegar – Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar with 2 parts water to make the best homemade vinyl siding cleaner. Use this solution for general dirt and grime. It also can power through mold and mildew build-up.
Krud Kutter House and Siding Pressure Washer Cleaner – If you’ll be washing your siding with a pressure washer, try Krud Kutter. It’s pressure washer-safe and powerful enough to break down mildew stains. It’s also bleach free.
Mold Armor EZ House Wash – Try this for a vinyl siding cleaner that attaches to a garden hose. It cleans mold, mildew, and algae. The Mold Armor does contain bleach, though, so be cautious about saturating your plants.
Simple Green OxySolve House and Siding Cleaner – You can use this product in your pressure washer or use it to hand wash your siding. It contains “safer” ingredients, making it a good choice if you don’t like bleach-based cleaners.
What to Do Before Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding
Before washing vinyl siding, check for any loose or missing pieces. Secure loose parts so they don’t break off during the cleaning process.
Also, check your manufacturer’s instructions. For example, some manufacturers warn against using a pressure washer or have specific instructions.
How to Hand Wash Vinyl Siding
Hand-washing vinyl siding can be long and labor-intensive but is safer than using a power washer.
Step 1: Wet the Siding with a Hose
Use your garden hose to wet a small, manageable section of siding.
Step 2: Wash in Sections and Rinse
Mix your cleaner in a bucket.
Use a long-handled brush or a soft cloth to wash the siding. For textured vinyl, stick with a brush to get to the nooks and crannies.
Work from top to bottom to prevent streaking.
After you’ve washed a section, rinse it before the soap dries on the house.
Step 3: Repeat
Repeat until the house is done, paying extra attention to stained areas and mold build-up.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer
Washing vinyl siding with a pressure washer speeds up the process and allows you to break down stains. But you have to take the following precautions:
- Use the cleaning or low-pressure setting when washing vinyl siding.
- Hold the pressure washer nozzle straight. Avoid aiming it upward, or you can knock the siding loose.
- Use caution around windows, doors, and trim work.
- You can do these same steps for a cleaner that connects to a hose – wet, wash, and rinse.
Step 1: Wet the Siding
Start by wetting a small, manageable area of siding using the low-pressure setting.
Step 2: Add Pressure Washer Cleaner and Wash
Add your pressure washer cleaner to the soap reservoir. Then, wash the siding using low pressure.
Step 3: Rinse Off and Repeat
Rinse off the soap. Repeat steps 1-3 until your house is clean.
When to Clean Vinyl Siding
To control algae and mildew, wash your vinyl siding once per year. If your house is prone to dirt build-up or mold growth, you can wash it more often.
It’s best to clean vinyl siding on a mild day. When temperatures are too hot, soap can dry to the house before you can rinse it off.
Tips for Removing Stains from Vinyl
- Rust stains – Spray vinyl siding rust stains with a solution of half white distilled vinegar and half water. Allow it to sit for five minutes, then wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t work, scrub the area with a paste of baking soda and water.
- Vinyl siding oxidation stains – If your vinyl siding looks or feels chalky, you’re experiencing oxidation caused by the sun’s UV Rays. You can wash off most of the chalkiness with a vinyl siding cleaner.
- Black mold stains – Start by scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristled brush, removing as much mold as possible. Then, spray the area with half water and white distilled vinegar, allowing it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Next, scrub off the mold and rinse. The acetic acid in the vinegar will kill the mold spores.
- Green mold – Green mold, mildew, and algae are easy to remove from vinyl unless they’ve been sitting for years. Use a pressure washer or a garden hose and a store-bought siding cleaner to remove the mold. Depending on the severity, you may need to clean the area twice.