Is your vinyl siding dirty or faded? Has the winter weather taken its toll on the exterior of your home? Worse yet, has your siding been infested with mildew and algae?
Notably, vinyl siding is the go-to cladding for most houses in the United States. The material is considered to be more affordable, durable and easy to maintain. Unfortunately, most homeowners assume that the material is virtually maintenance-free. This assumption is mostly inaccurate and will often lead to your house having an unkempt exterior. To combat this, you should probably consider these cleaning tips to ensure your vinyl siding last longer.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding
Before embarking on cleaning your vinyl siding, consider the following.
- Safety First
Before you start cleaning vinyl siding, it is paramount to avoid any potential hazards. You should wear comfortable clothing which include safety goggles, a face mask, and close-toe shoes. If you are using a ladder, you should have help holding the ladder in place.
- Protect Your Stuff
Consider closing all doors and windows to prevent water from spraying into the house. Additionally, it is advisable to move all your outdoor furniture, toys, and objects which will significantly reduce any chances of water damage.
- Choose the Right Day
Cloudy days are considered the best days to clean your vinyl siding. When there is direct sunlight, the vinyl will probably have dry spots too quickly with the end result looking somewhat uneven.
What You Need to Clean Vinyl Siding
In order to effectively clean your vinyl siding, it is paramount that you have the right equipment. Here are some recommended items:
- Soft cloth
- Long-handled, soft-bristle brush
- Hose/Bucket of water
- Vinyl siding cleaning solution
- Choosing a Cleaning Solution for Your Vinyl Siding
Before cleaning your vinyl siding, you’ll need a solution to wipe off any dirt or grime on the surface. Options available include:
Option 1: Mix 70% water with 30% white vinegar in a bucket. Using the soft cloth, wipe off the vinyl siding. This all-purpose cleaner will remove any mold, mildew or grit on the siding.
Option 2: Mix one-third cup of laundry detergent with two-thirds cup of your favorite household cleaner. To this combination add one quart of liquid laundry bleach. Mix all of the aforementioned in a gallon of water. This option effectively gets rid of any stubborn stains on the siding.
Option 3: For tough dirt and stains, consider using a general household cleaner. Avoid using liquid grease removers, nail polish removers or furniture cleaners as these might prove too corrosive to the vinyl material.
While making your vinyl siding cleaning solution, note that you should not mix bleach and vinegar as this releases poisonous chlorine gas.
Option 4: Vinyl siding manufacturers have developed aerosol-based cleaning solutions which provide a quick clean on single problem spots on the vinyl. Unfortunately, these aerosols are expensive and difficult to work with, especially on multiple-storey buildings.
When cleaning your vinyl siding is advisable to begin at the bottom of the house and work your way up. If the base of your house has exposed brick or stone, consider covering this as exposure to the cleaning solution might interfere with the base’s overall look.
- Take your bristly brush or cloth and wipe off any atmospheric dirt on the siding. If your siding has a lot of grooves and texture, consider using a brush with sturdier bristles for the best outcome. You might also use a hose to rinse off the dirt which fastens to process.
- Dampen the clothing with the cleaning solution and go ahead to wipe the siding.
- Ensure that you rinse the siding after you are done wiping it off with the cleaning solution. Leaving traces of the cleaning agent on the vinyl is likely to damage the integrity of the material.
Most vinyl siding manufacturers recommend cleaning vinyl siding by hand. However, the process can be time-consuming necessitating a faster method to clean large sections. Pressure washing has proven to be just as effective in cleaning the entire exterior. You should be careful however when using a power water set on your vinyl siding especially since the jets of water might be too strong resulting in dislodging of the vinyl from the sides.
What to Avoid
When cleaning your vinyl siding, you should avoid abrasive scrubbers as this will often damage the siding. Additionally, avoid using harsh solvents especially undiluted chlorine bleach as these often damage the vinyl. Finally, while you might consider siding replacement, doing this in sections leaves your exterior with a rather uneven look.
Cleaning your vinyl siding periodically is a must if you intend on keeping the exterior of your house looking good for the long haul. Besides, having the right siding will protect your home from the elements as well as common projectiles such as rocks and baseballs. Invest a little time on the regular and have the exterior of your home stay beautiful without embarking on repainting or expensive siding replacement.