Its long-lasting durability is just one reason why vinyl siding is such a popular choice among homeowners. The sturdy exterior handles harsh weather with ease, and it’s resistant to direct sunlight, which makes it an efficient and cost-effective material.
Still, although this power material is known to last for decades, it still needs a bit of maintenance along the way. While the panels will hold up to most issues quite well, they do have to be cleaned from time to time—which will keep them looking their best and increase their life span. Fortunately, cleaning vinyl siding is a simple process. Anyone can do it effectively and easily, without any specialized equipment other than a ladder and a brush.
Collect Your Cleaning Supplies
You can’t begin the cleaning job without having all the necessary supplies. Luckily, the list of items is pretty small, and it’s easy enough to get what you need from a local home improvement store or even some general stores.
The main tool that you’ll want for the job is a long-handled, soft-bristled brush—this is what you will do all the washing with. It will look similar to a push broom and will make it easy to reach large sections of your siding effectively. If you have family or friends helping out, make sure to get several of these brushes to speed up the job.
When it comes to choosing a cleaner, there are quite a few available options. If you don’t want to mess with mixing up your own cleaner, you can go with something like a bio-degradable vinyl cleaner, which you should be able to get at most home improvement stores. However, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and mixing up a cleaner yourself, you can make a DIY solution for less money.
- Light Duty Cleaner: To create a light-duty cleaner, mix together seven parts water to three parts white vinegar. That’s all you need to remove light mold, mildew, and discoloration. The mixture will work well on your home and you won’t have to worry about doing damage to anything nearby. Best of all, it is a natural solution and doesn’t pose a risk to anyone. The only downside is that you’ll have to deal with that vinegar smell as you wipe down the house.
- Heavy Duty Cleaner: For heavy discoloration or mold, you’ll have to rely on household cleaners to get the job done. First, add a gallon of water to a large bucket. Then toss in a third cup of powder laundry detergent, two-thirds of a cup of household cleaner, one quart of liquid laundry bleach, and one gallon of water. This solution will smell strong, but it will do a thorough and effective job at cleaning heavier stains.
Unless you live in a single-level home, you probably won’t be able to clean all the siding off of the ground. If sections of your home will still be out of reach with even a five- or six-foot handled brush, you’ll have to invest in a ladder.
If you only need to get an extra six feet or so off the ground, it makes sense to go with a step ladder, because it will be more convenient to work from. If you need to go even higher, you’ll likely want to invest in an extension ladder instead to make sure you can reach all the parts of your home.
For safety measures, make sure the ladder is durable and can hold your weight—and anyone else’s weight who will be using it—without a problem.
How to Clean Siding
Dip the brush in the cleaning solution and scrub the upper portion of the siding first, working your way down to the ground as you go. Use a heavy back-and-forth motion to scrub away any dirt and grime. After you scrub one section of your home, rinse it off with a hose with a sprayer or a garden sprayer. Continue around the outside of the home until all the sections are scrubbed completely.
It might take a few days to complete the job, but cleaning your vinyl siding will prevent mildew and mold from developing—and you only have to do a few times a year to keep the siding in good shape. This will extend the life of the covering overall, and it’ll also save you money in the long run.