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Over time, your siding can take on a weathered look. Organic matters, such as sap from trees and nearby plants, collect and attract dirt and pollen. Mold and mildew may form from moisture. Acid rain leaves streaks on light colors.
If you want to brighten up your home’s exterior, cleaning the siding is an inexpensive first step. According to Home Advisor, vinyl siding is a significant investment running between $6,127 and $15,913. Smart homeowners know keeping their siding in the best shape possible protects the expenditure and delays replacing what you already have.
However, cleaning siding incorrectly may result in damage and accelerate when you need to replace pieces or the entire covering. Fortunately, siding is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Here’s the best way to clean siding, one step at a time.
Step 1: Survey Your Siding
Before you start the job, walk around the outside of your home and see what you’re facing. Look for issues such as mold or mildew, which you may need to pre-treat before washing. If there are bird droppings or things such as tar on your siding, you’ll need to give these areas an extra scrub.
Note any streaks or discoloration from outdoor chemicals. Noting them now allows you to see if they disappear with a good scrub or need additional attention.
Step 2: Find a Soft Brush
Most experts agree a soft brush or cloth is the best thing for cleaning vinyl. Look for a soft bristle brush with an extendable handle to avoid climbing up and down off of a ladder.
Thoroughly washing the outside of a home can add value to the property. While you should give your vinyl a good scrub every year or so, doing so before listing your house could result in better curb appeal and a higher sales price.
Step 3: Use the Right Cleaning Solution
There are many different products available for cleaning vinyl. If your siding isn’t extremely dirty, you can try your soft brush and soap and water. Start at the bottom and work your way up to avoid streaking.
Pre-treat stubborn-looking stains with commercial household cleaning products, such as Fantastik or Windex, and work out any rust with specialty rust-removing products.
For mold and mildew, try a mixture of 30% white vinegar to 70% water. To protect plants around the home, opt for a commercial vinyl siding cleaner, such as Simple Green. You can find products at your local home improvement store formulated especially for vinyl.
Step 4: Consider Pressure Washing
There are pros and cons to using a pressure washer to clean your siding. You can rent a power washer from most home improvement stores for the day. However, many vinyl siding manufacturers recommend you not use one or only limited pressure. If you aren’t careful, you can get moisture under and behind the siding, creating future issues.
If you choose to use a pressure washer, either hire an experienced professional for the job or make sure you use the lowest setting and don’t get the stream of water up underneath the slats. Keep the spray on the surface only. Keep the stream at your eye level and shoot straight toward the vinyl, so the trajectory is horizontal to the ground.
Step 5: Avoid Abrasive Materials
Be cautious about the materials and solutions you use to clean your vinyl. Hard scrubbing might damage the surface as will harsh chemicals. The last thing you want to do is wind up with an exterior that looks worse than when you started.
Good old dish soap and hot water is typically your best bet for a good scrubbing. Remember, you can pre-treat grimey or moldy areas ahead of time, rinse and then come back and cleanse the entire house.
The Best Way to Clean Siding is Slow & Steady
Cleaning the exterior of your vinyl-sided home isn’t tricky, but it can be time-consuming. Don’t rush the job. Instead, take your time and work through each step. Get rid of stubborn stains and flaws first and then go back and do a soft scrub or light pressure wash of the full wall.
If necessary, complete one side of your house at a time. The key is to get the dirt and grime off and reveal the beauty of your vinyl siding again. You don’t have to complete the task in a single day.