Tips for Properly Cleaning Siding

Cleaning siding can make your home look new.Here are some tips to keep your vinyl siding looking fresh and new. 

Vinyl siding is the most common siding of choice by homeowners (link to vinyl vs cement blog) and for good reason. It offers a complete mixture of affordability, durability, and attractiveness, all of which are obviously extremely important qualities for siding.

Vinyl siding can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, but a major element in ensuring the long lasting life of your home’s siding is proper maintenance. While vinyl siding doesn’t require much maintenance, thoroughly cleaning your siding at least once a year can go a long way to helping it maintain its superior durability and longevity.

Regular cleanings help keep your siding clear of mold, mildew, and grime that accumulates over the year from rain, snow, and wind kicking up dirt against your home. If left unchecked, mold and mildew in particular can cause your siding to degrade, losing its protective qualities, and can even begin making its way to the wood frame of your home underneath.

This simple chore performed at least once a year is an absolute must if you want to keep your siding healthy for longer, but what is the best way to clean your vinyl siding? Fortunately, cleaning your siding doesn’t require any special skills or equipment and can be done using simple cleaning tools and supplies you probably already have at home.

Here are our best vinyl siding cleaning tips for keeping your siding clean of mold, mildew, and dirt.

Cleaning By Hand

While using a pressure washer is typically the most common method for siding cleaning, for easier to reach areas of your home cleaning your siding by hand is a totally viable option for siding care. Just be sure you are practicing safety and not trying to reach difficult areas by dangling off a ladder! 

For effective siding cleaning by hand, you’ll need a cleaner. There are a couple different choices to choose from based on how dirty your siding is. For a light cleaning, a mixture of soap and water or a roughly 70/30% mixture of water to white vinegar can do the trick. For tougher areas, you can try 70/30% mixture of water to laundry bleach or a combination of about one gallon of water, one quart of laundry bleach, and ⅔ cup of laundry detergent, mixed thoroughly. There are also a number of commercially available siding cleaners you can likely find at your local hardware store, but be sure to be mindful of their unique instructions and recommendations as well as avoiding harsh chemicals.

Once you have your cleaning solution of choice you can apply it to your siding by hand using a sponge (just be sure you are taking precautions if you choose to use laundry bleach) or using a garden sprayer for harder to reach areas. Follow that up by scrubbing thoroughly with a brush and rinsing immediately with clean water from your hose.

Using a Pressure Washer

Using a pressure washer is the most common and effective method for cleaning vinyl siding, but there are a few things that those choosing this method need to be aware of to make sure they are doing so properly. The high pressure spray of the washer is extremely adept at removing even the most intense grime, but without caution high pressure levels can actually cause damage to siding. Be mindful and monitor your pressure levels to make sure you aren’t spraying with too much intensity.

Some other good pressure washing habits when it comes to siding cleaning is to start at least 5 feet away, which can also mitigate damage. You can always move closer if the stain or dirt is especially troublesome. Also, make sure that you are spraying at eye level or at a downward angle as much as possible. Spraying up can force the dirt and grime into nooks and underneath your siding, which will only make matters worse. Make sure you are extremely careful while you are spraying around windows and doors as well.

Siding Cleaning Don’ts

These tips will help you keep your siding looking beautiful and clean, but be mindful that “helpful” things can be harmful when done the wrong way. Here are a few things you should avoid when you start cleaning your siding.

While you may use different types of cleaning methods and solutions on your siding, it is important to avoid harmful chemicals. Undiluted bleach, polish remover, furniture polish, and organic solvents are just some of the major chemicals to stay away from. These solutions in fact may not be as effective cleaning and can directly damage your siding and cause it to erode, shortening its lifespan. 

When applying cleaners, also avoid harsh scrubbing brushes and steel wool, which can chip, scratch, and damage siding. Try your best to rinse off your cleaning solutions before they can dry as well, as some solution combinations can harden or congeal, making them just as hard to remove as the dirt you were trying to remove in the first place.

Cleaning your siding is important to keeping your siding last. But, no matter how durable vinyl siding is, sometimes storms and harsh elements can damage your siding. While you are giving them a much needed cleaning, if you notice any siding damage or feel it is time to replace your siding, call the experts at Lathrop Contracting! 


How often should I clean my siding?

Vinyl siding is very durable and can last for years, but it is important to clean it at least once a year.

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