How to do Siding cleaning for your home
Vinyl siding is durable, modern, and aesthetically pleasing. It’s affordable but also keeps your home protected from the elements. However, to keep vinyl siding looking and functioning at its best, it does require some maintenance from time to time. If left unattended, siding will begin to fall victim to mold, mildew, stains, dirt, and other debris. Your home will begin to look dirty and old—and nobody wants that!
Thankfully, you can keep your home’s exterior in tip-top shape by following the steps noted below to effectively clean your siding. You have two options for effective cleaning: hand washing or pressure washing. While pressure washing may seem like the best way to go (as it requires less time and manual labor), you should never attempt to use machinery you are unfamiliar with as this can cause extensive damage to your home and cost you more money in the long run!
No matter which method you go with, you can wash your vinyl siding in just a few simple steps with only a few simple products and pieces of equipment. Don’t feel like you need to call in a professional for the job—unless you really want to, that is. This project is easy enough to DIY!
Before you start cleaning, take a few minutes to prepare both yourself and your space to avoid wasting time and energy on unnecessary hassles. These steps will also help keep you and your family safe while avoiding any potential damage to your home’s exterior.
First and foremost, wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes, rubber gloves, a face mask, and safety goggles to protect yourself from inhaling or coming into contact with toxic fumes. Clear the area of any outdoor furniture, toys, pets, etc. to ensure you have a work space free from obstacles or distractions.
Make sure all doors and windows are closed—nobody wants a flood in their living room! Also, take some time to cover any plants with plastic tarp to prevent damage from highly pressurized water or harmful chemicals, securing this with duct tape. Unplug and cover any lighting fixtures so as to not damage them in the process.
Also keep in mind that you’ll want to clean your siding on a day that’s not too hot or too cold. Warm weather and overcast conditions are ideal, as direct sunlight can dry areas of your siding too quickly and leave an uneven finish.
Gather Your Equipment
To get the job done right, you’ll need the right equipment. Here’s what we recommend having on hand:
- Store-bought vinyl siding cleaning products (more on this below)
- Soft cloth
- Long-handled, soft-bristle brush
- Hose/buckets of water
- Pressure washer (optional)
Mix Your Cleaning Solution
There are many solutions to choose from when you DIY and clean your vinyl siding. Here are several mixtures we recommend, along with some pros and cons of each. Not all solutions are created equal!
- Bleach solution – Use 1 quart of bleach for each gallon of water
- Pros: Bleach will whiten the surface of your siding and destroy any bacteria or mold that has built up over time.
- Cons: Bleach must be used in a well-ventilated area and with caution. It emits highly toxic fumes and can be harsh on skin, lungs, and the environment. Avoid using bleach around kids, pets, and wildlife.
- Vinegar solution – Use a 30:70 mixture of vinegar to water
- Pros: Vinegar does NOT emit dangerous fumes. It is completely non-toxic, natural, and safe to use. It also kills about 80% of bacteria and mold.
- Cons: Unlike bleach, vinegar does not kill all bacteria and mold.
Clean Your Siding By Hand: A Step-by-Step Process
This is by far the simplest way to clean your siding and rid your home of unwanted exterior stains. However, it will require a bit more manual labor than if you were to use a pressure washer.
Divide the Surface Area
Start by dividing the surface area into small 5×5 ft sections to avoid any mixups with respect to where you are cleaning. This will improve your efficiency and speed up the process for both cleaning and drying.
Test Your Solution
Test your cleaning solution on a small section located at the back of the house. This will ensure you won’t damage or discolor your home’s exterior.
Scrub From Top to Bottom
Dip your cloth or brush into your cleaning solution and begin working it into one defined area. Scrub one section at a time, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom to avoid any streaking. Don’t scrub too hard, as you don’t want to damage the vinyl. As you finish scrubbing one section, go ahead and rinse with a hose from top to bottom to remove any excess cleaning solution and leave your home sparkling clean.
Clean Your Siding with a Pressure Washer:A Step-by-Step Process
If you own a pressure washer and are familiar with its use, you might want to explore the option of pressure washing your home’s exterior. This is a great way to save time and energy and will also produce superior results if done correctly. Be cautious, however, as pressure washing can damage your home’s siding if the process is not performed properly.
Check with Your Manufacturer
Before you begin the process, double check with your siding manufacturer that pressure washing will not damage your siding. This will save you money in the long run, especially if the company advises you to NOT use a pressure washer for cleaning.
Prepare Your Pressure Washer
If your machine allows it, add your vinegar or bleach solution to your pressure washer. Otherwise, plain ol’ water will get the job done right. Determine the appropriate amount of pressure your home’s siding will accept before you fully commit. Holding your machine eye-level and using a 25-degree nozzle, point it straight at the siding. Test a small area and review your results before moving forward.
The Pressure Washing Process
Begin pressure washing your home from bottom to top in small sections. Use a side-to-side motion and move at a steady pace in order to prevent any streaking. Be careful, as an upward spray can force water behind the vinyl siding—creating a comfy home for mold and mildew and causing problems for you in the future. Once you’re finished with one side of the house, rinse with a garden hose.
What to do When There’s Mold
Leaky gutters, moist environments, uneven siding, and other unpleasant factors can lead to mold growth on your vinyl siding. This can be harmful to you, your family, and your home’s structural integrity, so don’t delay nipping this issue in the bud as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn the best ways to address these nasty problems.
Recommended Cleaning Solution
You can use the same recommended bleach or vinegar solution listed above to kill mold and mildew on vinyl siding. You should always let the solution soak in for 20 minutes or more to be 100% sure all bacteria is killed. Focus on portions that look the worst. Rinse the entire surface area when you are finished to avoid any leftover particles that could possibly regenerate and grow again. Always keep kids and pets away while clearing mold and wear protective equipment.
- You should wash your home’s siding at least once per year to keep it looking shiny and new!
- Adding a baking soda paste to the vinegar solution will break up and remove any stains that won’t come off otherwise. This is a powerful, all-natural cleaning solution for tough spots.
- Try using a toothbrush or another small brush to clean any tiny cracks and crevices you can’t otherwise reach.
- If you aren’t familiar with using a pressure washer, just avoid it entirely. It’s much easier to accidentally damage your home with machinery than it is to try and learn as you go. You’ll be much better off just cleaning by hand!
- Always be sure to keep kids and pets away while using a pressure washer. Even though it’s “just water,” pressure washers rely on a powerful force that can seriously injure someone.
Although it may seem like a hassle at first, washing your home’s vinyl siding doesn’t have to be a huge chore! Simply follow these easy steps to make cleaning a breeze and leave your home’s exterior looking and functioning at its best.