Vinyl siding is a durable, versatile, and resilient building material, but it requires routine maintenance and cleaning.
The growing popularity of vinyl siding is undisputed. According to statistics from the US Census Bureau, vinyl siding has been the leading exterior siding in the US since 1995. Its popularity shows no sign of deterioration. In 2011, 33% of new single family homes sold in the US were on the material side. However, that doesn’t mean homeowners know how to clean vinyl siding – and keep them clean.
Because it is an exterior product, the vinyl siding can collect a variety of dirt and stains from pollen, bird and insect droppings, cobwebs, and rust. In shady, damp areas, mold and mildew can grow, and vinyl is also susceptible to discoloration from insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Additionally, a number of commonly used household maintenance products can affect the finish of the vinyl siding, including caulking, driveway sealants, tar, motor oil, and paint.
Fortunately, vinyl siding is pretty easy to clean, and there are a variety of products that can remove typical stains. Read on and we’ll show you how to properly clean vinyl siding.
According to the Vinyl Siding Institute, it’s best to use a soft cloth or an ordinary long-handled brush with soft bristles. Start at the bottom and work up to avoid streaking. When cleaning the vinyl siding, remember to thoroughly rinse off any residue during operation.
Some good vinyl sider cleaner solutions include:
- 70% water, 30% white vinegar are great all-purpose vinyl siding cleaners that will remove mild mold and mildew stains.
- For a stronger solution, mix one-third cup of powdered laundry detergent, two-thirds of a cup of powdered household cleaner, one quart of liquid laundry bleach, and one gallon of water.
- If you’re concerned about landscaping, use a vinyl side cleaning solution, which is a gallon of water and a cup of oxygen bleach in a bucket. The oxygen bleach will clean the vinyl without harming your landscape.
- Simple Green offers an environmentally friendly cleaner specially formulated for use on vinyl and aluminum siding, stucco, terracotta roof tiles and painted wood. The non-toxic biodegradable concentrate can be used manually or with a pressure washer.
- General household cleaners (e.g. Fantastik, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Windex, and Lysol) can be used on stubborn dirt and stains, including those from topsoil, grass, grease, oil, rust, crayon, ink, and chewing gum. Rust stains can be removed with products designed for this purpose (e.g. Super Iron Out and Instant Rust Out).
Top tips for using a pressure washer:
Cleaning the vinyl siding is even easier with a pressure washer, although some manufacturers advise against it and other manufacturers recommend limited pressure.
If you are unsure how to use a pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding, first make sure that the power is at eye level and pointing directly at the siding, not at an upward angle. That way, you won’t drive water behind the siding. Use caution when using a pressure washer around openings such as windows, doors and plumbing.
What not to do:
Do not use vinyl siding cleaners that contain organic solvents, neat chlorine bleach, liquid grease removers, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaner. Any of these products can damage the surface of the vinyl siding. Also, avoid using highly abrasive gas scrubbers or steel wool. These, too, can cause damage when cleaning the vinyl siding.
With a little time and effort, vinyl siding can look “like new” and provide years of trouble-free protection for your home.
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