Vinyl has become the most popular type of siding due to its low cost and high durability. It is relatively easy to manufacture and comes in many sizes, colors, and textures. Because vinyl will typically last 20 years or longer, it must be cleaned regularly to prevent discoloration and staining. Vinyl is susceptible to dirt, grime, green algae, insect remains, mold, mildew, and many other contaminants. For this reason, it is essential to know how to clean vinyl siding.
Tips for Cleaning Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding maintenance is relatively easy, especially if you clean it periodically rather than let the grime build up over time. Consider these tips for cleaning your vinyl siding:
- Use a soft-bristle brush or a soft cloth to decrease the chance of scratching or staining.
- Start at the bottom of your home and work your way up if washing the siding by hand.
- Rinse off your cleaning solution before it dries completely.
- Use the right vinyl siding cleaner. In many scenarios, you can use mild soap and water from a hose, but you can also use one of the vinyl siding washes listed below.
- Keep your vinyl clean for longer by avoiding using insecticides, paint, and other home renovation products near your siding.
- Consider hiring a professional to ensure the job gets done thoroughly.
Let’s dive deeper into the two primary options for cleaning your vinyl siding.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding With a Pressure Washer
While cleaning vinyl siding with a pressure washer is much easier than scrubbing your entire home by hand, the risk of damage rises significantly. In contrast to many videos on the internet, you should never use high pressure or a focused spray pattern when cleaning vinyl siding.
You want to stand 8 to 10 feet away from the home’s siding, and use a low-pressure setting. Avoid spraying upwards, as that can push water underneath the siding and dampen the underlying wood. Start by applying a cleaning solution that acts as a general-purpose cleaner and treats the home for algae, mold, and mildew. Some areas may require additional attention. Be sure to lightly scrub those areas with a soft bristle brush. Lastly, rinse the siding with fresh water.
It cannot be stressed enough — power washing vinyl can be risky. If you are inexperienced or have any doubts, your best bet is to hire a professional. A professional company will eliminate the risk of damaging your vinyl siding and save you the hassle of doing it yourself.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding Without a Pressure Washer
Pressure and power washers are complex and powerful machines. For the inexperienced, scrubbing vinyl by hand is a safe way to maintain it while preventing damage. Always use a soft-bristle brush, preferably with a long handle for those hard-to-reach areas. Using a hard bristle brush will scratch the vinyl surface and smooth out any texture on the panels.
For light stains caused mostly by mold or mildew, mix 70% vinegar and 30% water. For tougher stains, there are many commercially available products. With this in mind, be wary of cleaners with organic solvents or undiluted bleach. Lightly scrub the siding starting from the bottom of the home and work your way up to prevent streaking. Then, be sure to rinse away dirt and grime as it comes loose. Keep in mind that while scrubbing your siding is safe and can improve its look, it’s not nearly as reliable or thorough as using a pressure washer.
Cleaning Siding Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional
Keeping your vinyl siding clean has several benefits, including increasing your home’s value and helping your siding last as long as possible. Cleaning your siding yourself comes with the following benefits:
- Saving money
- Complete control over the project
- Your choice of cleaning substances
However, hiring a professional comes with additional advantages you might not see taking on the cleaning project yourself. Some of these benefits include:
- Saving time: Cleaning your vinyl siding — especially if you choose to clean without a pressure washer — can take up an entire afternoon you might rather spend relaxing, hanging out outside, or taking a day trip. Hiring a professional will save you this time.
- Experience: A reliable professional will have the expertise you likely don’t. They’ll know the proper cleaning steps and how to approach your home’s specific needs. A pro will also have the appropriate tools for the job.
- Better quality: A professional power washer will deliver better results. Additionally, cleaning vinyl siding yourself runs the risk of damaging your siding, leading you to spend more money than if you had hired a professional.
While you can clean siding yourself using a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush, working with a professional cleaning company comes with benefits you might not otherwise experience.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding FAQs
Does vinegar kill mold?
White vinegar is a mild acid. It will not kill 100% of mold spores but can be effective for light stains on your siding.
How should I clean vinyl siding high up?
There are several solutions to cleaning hard-to-reach areas on your vinyl siding, such as wand extensions and soft bristle brushes with long handles, but it’s best to hire a professional in these cases. An experienced technician will be able to safely and completely clean all areas of your vinyl siding.
How do I prevent algae growth on vinyl siding?
Algae are generally found in areas with a cool, moist climate and a lack of direct sunlight. The best way to prevent algae growth is to have your siding cleaned once per year.
How do I remove rust stains from vinyl siding?
The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) lists these cleaners as commonly accepted applications: Fantastik, Murphy Oil Soap, and Windex.
Note: While we are giving you these suggestions, in no way do we endorse or provide any warranties for these products.
About Perfect Power Wash
With 20+ years of experience and over 200,000 jobs completed, Perfect Power Wash is the #1 rated power washing company in Ohio. We have earned 27 national awards and carry an A+ rating with the BBB. Our PWNA-certified technicians go through rigorous training to ensure explicitly that we provide the safest and most effective results for your vinyl siding. Click here to learn more about our professional power washing services.