Vinyl siding is arguably the most popular material for home exteriors — and for good reason. It’s durable, resilient, long-lasting, and incredibly versatile. However, because it’s an exterior element of the home, vinyl siding easily accumulates all kinds of debris as well as:
- Bird droppings
- Insect droppings
- Discoloration from insecticides, herbicides, or fertilizers used around the house
- Wear from regular maintenance products or repairs
Luckily, cleaning it all up is a fairly easy job, and there are a number of products out there that can help with the above. Below we’ll talk about how to clean vinyl siding, taking care of everything from basic cleanings to tough stains.
How Often Should You Clean Your Vinyl Siding?
Cleaning your vinyl siding is a regular household task, just like cleaning your gutters or sealing your driveway. Regular cleanings are important as all sorts of debris and moisture build-up can lead to mold and mildew growth. The maintenance products you use for your landscaping can also cause damage and deterioration. — plus, all of that buildup and discoloration will ruin your home’s aesthetic.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you clean your vinyl siding at least once a year. However, how often you should clean it will really depend on how quickly it gets dirty. For example, if you live in a shady and damp area, you’ll likely need to clean your siding several times throughout the year to prevent mildew and algae growth.
It’s also best to clean your siding when the forecast is mild and sunny, as it’ll make the job much easier.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Vinyl Siding
The most important thing you’ll need to clean your vinyl siding is a good solution. There are plenty of vinyl siding cleaning solutions available, but you can also easily mix your own cleaning solution with the products under your sink.
These are your options:
- A solution made from 70% water and 30% white distilled vinegar for removing lighter stains caused by mold and mildew
- ⅓ cup powdered laundry detergent, ⅔ cup powdered household cleaner, 1 quart liquid laundry bleach, and 1 gallon of water for an all-purpose solution
- A solution of 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup of oxygen bleach, which will clean without damaging the surrounding landscape
If you don’t want to mix your own solution, you can use:
- Ammonia (as directed on the bottle)
- Dawn dish soap
- Soft Scrub
- Specially formulated cleansers designed for vinyl siding, including Simple Green products (which are eco-friendly and biodegradable)
For tough stains, you can use:
- Oil-based soaps
- Super Iron Out or Instant Rust Out (for rust stains)
❌ Avoid using any products containing:
- Organic solvents
- Liquid grease remover
- Undiluted chlorine bleach
- Nail polish remover
- Furniture cleaners and polish
These things can cause damage to your vinyl siding!
The Tools and Materials You’ll Need 🪣
Once you’ve mixed or chosen a cleanser for your vinyl siding, you’ll need to round up the following supplies:
- A large bucket
- Rubber gloves
- Nylon scrub pad
- Soft-bristle brush with a long handle
- Garden hose
- A ladder
It’s important to avoid using any highly abrasive scrubbers or steel wool, as these things can also cause damage to your vinyl siding. It should also be noted that most manufacturers advise against using a power washer, while some recommend using a very limited amount of pressure if you choose to use one. (We recommend against using a pressure washer, as you can very easily make a mistake and damage not just your siding but your gutters and molding around doors and windows).
Before you get started, it’s important to take the proper precautions:
- When working with chemical solutions, make sure to read all the warnings and directions on the label to avoid injury
- Always dispose of any products as directed by the manufacturer to avoid hazardous waste
- Always wear rubber gloves to avoid any harsh chemical burns or irritation from DIY solutions
- If you plan to use a ladder, be sure to open it up and ensure it’s stable before climbing up
Cleaning vinyl siding is a simple process, but just like any DIY maintenance that includes chemicals and heights, you want to be careful to avoid accidents and injury.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding
Once you have everything you need, you can get started on cleaning your vinyl siding. Make sure you’re wearing the proper clothing, as certain solutions can permanently bleach or stain your clothing.
Let’s get started:
- Starting from the top of your home and working your way down, apply your chosen cleanser using the soft bristled cleaning brush
- As you apply the cleaners, make sure you’re scrubbing the full length of each piece of vinyl siding
- If necessary, go back for a secondary scrubbing with your sponge
- Starting from the bottom to avoid streaking, use your garden hose to rinse each section before the solution dries up
- For significantly dirty vinyl siding, you may have to repeat this process once or twice
To remove tough stains from your vinyl siding:
- Use your chosen cleanser or vinyl siding solution designed for stain removal
- For ultra-tough spots, like tar, paint drips, pencil, or pen marks, use your nylon scrub pad with your chosen solution. You can also use a non-abrasive bathtub cleaner (minus the nylon scrub pad)
- Use an ammonia-based cleaner or a solution made from 1 part bleach and 4 parts water (this works well for tough mold and mildew stains — just remember to never mix bleach and ammonia together!)
- After applying your cleanser and scrubbing, rinse your siding thoroughly before it dries up
Schedule Your Next Vinyl Siding Cleaning With the Pros
Cleaning your vinyl siding isn’t a difficult job, but it can be time-consuming — especially if you have a larger home. Sometimes, it’s better to put your day off to better use and call the professionals in to get the job done for you.
Bondoc Roofers offers all kinds of exterior home services, including vinyl siding maintenance. Give us a call today to schedule a cleaning or to learn more about our vinyl siding products if you’re in the market for an upgrade!