Cleaning your home’s vinyl siding is a big job because it’s such a large area, but the results are so satisfying, and you get to enjoy your new façade every day. If you haven’t cleaned your siding in a long time (or ever), a little extra effort may be necessary, depending on its current state.
Most siding will become dirty after a period of time, building up a coating of ordinary soil, pollen, bird droppings and more. This kind of dirt is fairly easily removed with one of a number of a simple homemade solutions containing water, vinegar, borax and/or laundry detergent. You can find commercial solutions for sale in home improvement stores, but they generally don’t work any better than a cleaner you can make at home.
The safest way to clean your vinyl siding is with a rag or a mop. Once you have your solution mixed, begin scrubbing from the bottom and work your way up, rinsing frequently. No doubt about it, this is a lengthy, tedious job — one many homeowners would like to avoid.
WITH A POWER WASHER
Because hand-washing is so labor-intensive, a lot of people like to use a power washer — it’s so much faster and easier. But you have to be careful with a power washer, because the pressure might force some of the water behind the siding and onto the wood behind it, where rot can quickly set in. It’s safer if you can aim the washer down at the siding, but that can be hard to do if your house is more than one story.
WITH A HOSE
A good compromise is using your hose and attaching a cleaning solution bottle to the nozzle. Although you can have the same trouble with water getting behind the panels with a hose as you can with a power washer, you can generally avoid this issue by setting your sprayer at a gentle level and angling it carefully. Many types of commercial cleaner are available for this method too, but again, you can make your own. You can even buy your own hose-end sprayer for about $10 that you can use over and over again with whatever solution you prepare.
If your vinyl siding is sporting any mold or mildew, you’ll need to include some chlorine bleach in your mixture. Make sure it is properly diluted — straight-on chlorine bleach can damage many surfaces, not the least of which is vinyl siding. With mold or mildew, it is best to spray on the solution and let it sit for a time — about 10 minutes, until you see the stains have disappeared — then rinse off with clean water. A bleach solution can wreak havoc with plants, so if you have landscaping close to your home, you might want to apply the solution and rinse it away with a long-handled mop.
If you have questions about the care and upkeep of your vinyl siding, or if you need new siding, don’t hesitate to call Renovation by Burbach, the area’s leading installer of vinyl siding and other types of home coverings. We can show you how to keep your siding clean and in tip-top shape for many years to come.