Installing vinyl siding on your home is one of the best investments you can make. Properly cared for, it will keep your home beautiful and maintenance-free for decades to come.
But when your vinyl siding gets dirty because of wear and tear or exposure to the elements, how do you keep it looking brand new? To help you properly maintain the exterior of your home, here are some tips on how to clean vinyl siding.
NOTE: You must take extreme care when cleaning your vinyl siding. Improper maintenance could damage or ruin the appearance of the siding panels and void your valuable warranty. It could even cause major damage to your home.
Tips from the Experts
According to the Vinyl Siding Institute, the only things you need to periodically clean your vinyl sidings are:
- A garden hose
- A mild soap and water solution
- A long-handled soft bristle brush
- A soft cleaning cloth
Approved Vinyl Siding Cleaners
Ordinary household cleaners can be used to tackle simple stains such as dirt, spider webs, and bird droppings. These could include Armor All, Nice & Easy, Simple Green, etc., or their equivalents.
The VSI recommends specific products or their equivalents to take care of different types of vinyl siding stains.
- Bubble gum– a solution of 70% water and 30% vinegar, Murphy Oil Soap, or Fantastik
- Crayon – Lestoil
- Pencil — Soft Scrub
- Felt tip markers — Fantastik or water-based cleaners
- Automobile grease — Windex, Murphy Oil Soap, Lestoil, or Fantastik
- Motor oil — Windex, Murphy Oil Soap, Lysol, Fantastik
- Paint — Soft Scrub, Brillo Pad
- Oil-based caulk — Fantastik
- Rust — Windex, Murphy Oil Soap, Fantastik
- Tar — Soft Scrub
- Topsoil — Murphy Oil Soap, Lestoil, Fantastik
To clean larger mold- or mildew-infested sections, the following solutions are acceptable:
- 70% water and 30% vinegar
- 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent (such as Tide or the equivalent), 2/3 cup of powdered household cleaner, (Spic n’ Span or the equivalent), one quart of liquid laundry bleach, and one gallon of water.
Due to the differences in vinyl siding from different manufacturers, always do a spot check in a small area to ensure that a specific cleaner will not stain or discolor your siding.
Never use any undiluted chlorine bleach, nail polish remover, liquid grease remover, cleaners containing any organic solvents, or furniture polish, as these could damage the surface of your vinyl siding.
Vinyl Siding Cleaning Techniques
Always start at the bottom and work your way up, taking care to rinse off the cleaning solution before it dries onto your vinyl siding. For homes with brick facing, the VSI recommends that you cover the brick with a tarp, so it is not stained or discolored by the runoff.
Use the soft brush to lightly scrub dirt, debris, and stains out of the textured siding.
Can I Clean My Vinyl Siding with a Power Washer?
Yes, with a couple of caveats and precautions.
Always read the power washer instructions thoroughly before using it to clean your vinyl siding. Too much direct water pressure can severely damage your vinyl siding and dislodge panels and trim pieces.
Exercise extreme caution around any wall openings such as doors, windows, plumbing, and electrical wiring. Keep the water stream level and never aim it upward, as you may drive water behind the siding.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s warranty before cleaning your vinyl siding with a power washer. Some siding manufacturers do not allow pressure washers to be used on their products, while others place strict limitations on both the cleaners used and the allowable water pressure.
Failing to follow these guidelines may void your warranty, damage your siding and the rest of your home, and leave you responsible for any repairs.
The Bottom Line about Cleaning Vinyl Siding
Properly caring for and cleaning your vinyl siding is an easy home maintenance task. If you follow the guidelines from the manufacturer and advice from professionals, you will enjoy a lifetime of virtually maintenance-free beauty.