Cleaning Vinyl Siding 101

Vinyl siding is the number one selling siding in the U.S. and cleaning vinyl siding is one of the most asked questions about it. Cleaning your siding is relatively easy and simple and should become a regular yearly project to keep your investment looking top notch.

Even though vinyl siding is very low maintenance, it has common problems found in all sidings, dirt, dust, grime that collects on anything left outdoors.

Since vinyl siding is non-porous, dirt and grime will stick to the outside surface of the siding and therefore needs to be cleaned often.

Cleaning your home's exterior will help you maintain curb appeal for years to come and protect your asset. And it is so simple to do.

 Most manufacturers recommend that you rinse off your siding with a simple garden hose at least once or twice a year to maintain the brand new appearance.

First, plan on spending a half a day on some weekend, preferably a nice warm day. And don't forget to get the kids and wife involved too.



Step One:

Gather your supplies.

  • You will need a long-handled extension pole with a soft bristled brush attached. A brush used for cleaning RV's is a good investment and it will last for many years.
  • A garden hose. You can hook together several to make rinsing easier.
  • A big bucket.
  • Short handled brush for hard to clean spots.
  • Laundry detergent like Tide or dish washing soap. You can get specially vinyl siding cleaners from Walmart and Home Depot stores.
  • A radio, so you can listen to some music to make the job more enjoyable. 
  • House-hold laundry beach in case you have some mold areas.
  • Spray bottle of Mr Clean or similar product for grease or smudges.



Step Two:

Prepare the exterior of the house. Walk around the house and remove any items leaning against the exterior walls such as bicycles, toys, unused lumber, trash cans, grills. Clean up any and all unsightly items, that is just good housekeeping.

Cut back or trim any limbs or plants that actually touch the siding. Make sure that all windows and doors are closed. Remove screens from windows, they can be cleaned at the same time.

Don't forget to come back and clean all the windows while screens are out. Clean the windows after you clean the vinyl siding to avoid any soapy water from drying and streaking the siding. Rinse often.

The same long handled telescoping pole used with the brush attached can be used to clean the windows too. You can buy a squeegee attachment at Home Depot that fits on the extension pole.


Soft bristled brush that attaches to extension pole.

Long telescoping poles with screw attachment on on end lets you attach your brush, paint brush or window squeegee to it.

These are good investments because you can use them around the house to clean hard to reach areas and do windows.


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Using common house hold cleaners

Mix a solution of laundry detergent like Tide in a large bucket.

Before washing with the soapy water, take the water hose and spray down the area to be washed. Just spraying the siding with the garden hose will remove a lot of dust and dirt.

Take the extension pole with the cleaning brush and dip the brush in the soapy water and start to gently scrub the vinyl siding in small areas at a time, say 10' x 10'. Rinse often. If the soapy water starts to dry it will spot and streak. Also start at the bottom of the house and work up.

This is to prevent the soapy water from running down the siding onto dirty areas and causing streaking. Wash an bottom area, rinse, wash the top area. Always rinse often.

Windows:

While you are washing down the exterior walls, be sure to get the windows, window frames and panes. You already have the cleaning solution and you are already out there. Kill two birds at once. Remember that the sun will cause the windows to streak if you don't rinse often and completely.

Just work your way around the perimeter of the house, hosing down small sections at a time and then scrubbing and rinsing. You want to ensure that each section is clean and rinsed before you move on.

Scrub gently, be careful not to scratch the vinyl or pull it loose from the house. Doing a good thorough cleaning every year will make cleaning much easier with less scrubbing. Normally one scrubbing a year will be enough.

Be careful with the garden hose. You need to be careful how you spray water on the vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is not nailed tightly against your house and is not water proof. In fact vinyl siding is 'hung' onto the house so that air can dry out any moisture that gets behind the siding.

You want to avoid spraying water up underneath the siding. Always hold the hose so that the water spray is pointed in a downward angle to allow the dirty water to run down the siding. 


NOTE:

Vinyl siding is resistant to mold and mildew. However, it still may succumb to them over time, especially if you have not cleaned the siding for several years. If you have some mold and mildew, youcan add some liquid laundry bleach to the cleaning solution and gently scrub infected areas. Allow the bleach solution to work for a few minutes before rinsing.

Once you have a yearly cleaning cycle implemented mold and mildew should not be much of a problem again.

An alternative to using chlorine bleach to your water is a product called TSP. It is available in any home improvement store, Walmart and even paint stores. Be sure to follow all instructions on the package for best results.

Usually a ladder along with the 14' to 16' telescoping pole with brush attachment is enough to wash most single story homes. If you have a two or more story house you should consider hiring a professional pressure washing company to do the cleaning. They will have the necessary ladders to reach the second story. 

You can find them in any Yellow Pages under pressure washing. When yo call them just ask what they charge to clean vinyl siding on a two story house.Shop around prices will vary considerably.


Get the wife and kids out to help you. Make a family day out of it. It is unpleasant work so make the best out of it.

Once the house is nice and clean, you will be amazed how good it looks. A nice clean house looks great. It makes your house look like it is freshly painted. It will have better curb appeal and will certainly make your neighbors jealous.

Happy cleaning.

All About Siding Staff

How did you clean your vinyl siding

Cleaning vinyl siding should be an easy project, but it usually isn't! Tell us about your experience and what you used.

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