How To Clean Vinyl Siding
If you have invested in vinyl siding for your home, likely one of the major reasons was because of the easy upkeep. Indeed, vinyl siding looks great long after installation, especially compared with some older types of siding. This may mean that it gets dirty way before it needs replacing, fixing, or painting. The good news is that cleaning your vinyl siding is much faster, easier and cheaper than painting or replacing it. The bad news is that you have to use a little elbow grease to get it looking like new. But, fear not: cleaning siding doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, there are plenty of ways to have your home looking good as new all on your own.
Perhaps the easiest method of cleaning your siding is with a power washer. However, there are some risks with this method. You have to make sure your siding will withstand the pressure of the wash. Some siding manufacturers warn against using a power washer or state a maximum pressure to use. Be careful around windows and other features, and make sure to point the washer down, not up between the siding slats. Power washers can also cost a bit of extra money if you don’t own one already to rent or to buy, but they make the whole process much faster and simpler. They also don’t require the use of any cleaning agents that may be harmful to you, your family, and your landscaping.
You can also wash your siding the old fashioned way with a bucket and mop. A solution of 70% water and 30% white vinegar will remove light stains and mildew if your siding hasn’t gone too long since its last cleaning or installation. If you need a more powerful agent, add 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner, 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent, and a quart of liquid laundry bleach to a gallon of water. Store-bought cleaners and especially bleach can hurt skin, eyes, and any plant life in the area, so be careful if you choose to use these powerful chemicals.
If you need to take off heavy duty stains and you don’t want to handle harsh chemicals, look for eco-friendly and skin-friendly cleaning agents at your local home goods store. Many brands now offer very effective yet safe cleaning solutions.
What to Avoid
Though many common cleaners will work just fine, it is not recommended to use any acetone-based products, degreasers, polishes, organic solvents, or undiluted chlorine products. These can damage your vinyl siding. If you are having a hard time removing stains and stuck-on grime, it may be tempting to use an abrasive tool such as steel wool, but this can do permanent damage to the finish on your siding and cause discoloration and indentation that can collect more dirt in the long run.
No one likes to clean their house, but it may not be the daunting job you imagine. Determine what is right for you and your family, and don’t wait to get your vinyl siding and your house looking its best!