Steps to clean vinyl siding and remove stains to keep your home’s exterior looking new.
Since it’s an exterior surface, vinyl siding gets exposed to a lot of harsh conditions. Over time, it grows dirty and collects things like pollen, bird or insect droppings, spider webs, and rust. If you live in a damp area, you may also notice mold and mildew spots on your home’s siding.
Luckily, this durable surface is also pretty easy to clean. All you need are some basic items and a few household cleaning products, plus some good weather. Then, it’s just a matter of elbow grease and a couple of hours to get rid of stains on your vinyl siding. The result is a home exterior that looks practically new and has major curb appeal!
How to Clean Vinyl Siding and Get Rid of Stains
- Long-handled broom
- Cleaning rags
- Hose connected to a water faucet
How to Wash Your Vinyl Siding
- Sweep: Use the broom to sweep debris off of your home's vinyl siding. Pay attention to areas where insects and spiders like to nest. (You may want to wear long-sleeves and pants for this.) Some areas to look include: under eaves and bay windows, beneath raised decks, and around windowsills.
- Mix: Fill the bucket with 1 gallon of water and stir in 1 cup of oxygenated bleach. This mixture will remove dirt, pollen, mold, and mildew from your vinyl siding. But, unlike chlorine bleach, the oxygenated kind won't harm your plants or landscaping.
- Wash: Dip a rag into the cleaning solution and wipe your siding. Work from the bottom to the top to prevent grimy streaks. Use the broom to clean higher spots by dipping the bristles into the bucket and using them to scrub.
- Rinse. You don't want to let the cleaning solution dry on your vinyl siding, so work in 6-foot spots. After washing an area, turn the hose on full blast and rinse it.
How to Get Stains Off of Vinyl Siding
- Wash and rinse your vinyl siding before you decide if you need further stain removal. Many times, the cleaning mixture and a good scrub are all it takes. Here are some more ways to get stains off of vinyl siding:
- Rust stains: Rub the area with a little baking soda and water using a cloth or soft-bristled brush. You can also try a product like Soft Scrub. Don't use steel wool — it will scratch your vinyl and damage it. (Related: Homemade Soft Scrub.)
- Sticky spots: Use a little olive oil and a cleaning rag to remove sticky messes from vinyl siding. (Murphy's Oil Soap also works.) You may need to let the oil sit for several minutes to loosen the grime. Use the edge of an old credit card or rubber spatula to scrape away the mess then wash and rinse it
- Paint: Use warm water and baking soda, or Soft Scrub. Apply it with a cleaning rag. Use the edge of a credit card or rubber spatula to lift the spot then wash and rinse it.
More Help on Cleaning Vinyl Siding
Below are some frequently asked questions about cleaning a home’s vinyl siding.
Can I Use a Power Washer?
You shouldn’t use a power washer on your vinyl siding. Although this material is hard, it’s not as strong as cement or brick. Improper pressure washing can ruin vinyl siding. It can also lead to water (and later mold) building up in your home’s walls.
If you decide to pressure wash your vinyl siding anyway, be sure to aim the spray straight at your house. Do not direct it upwards, or the water will get behind the siding and damage your home’s construction. Also, use the general nozzle end, not the cyclone or concentrated tip, and keep the pressure low. (1300-1600 psi)
How Often Should I Clean My Home’s Vinyl Siding?
The exterior of your home gets continuously exposed to harsh weather. Cleaning your vinyl siding every six months can keep stains from becoming permanent. It’s a great chore to do as part of Spring Cleaning and in preparation for winter. At a minimum, though, you need to clean it every year.