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How to Clean Vinyl Siding

How to Clean Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding has certainly become one of the most popular siding materials in the United States right now. Aside from its great looks, it does not easily flake or rot. But just like with other siding materials, it gets dirty and becomes dull over time. The great news is that cleaning the vinyl siding is so easy and you can pretty much do it on your own. So here’s an article to help you with how to clean vinyl siding.

Before Cleaning

Since you will be spraying cleaner and water all over your house when cleaning the vinyl siding, there are certain things that you need to do to keep yourself and your house protected before you can start cleaning the vinyl siding. Make sure to do the following things before you get started:

  • Close all of the doors and windows in your house.
  • Check the siding for any signs of mildew and molds. If you are not sure if it is mold, then place some drops of bleach. If it has turned white, then it is mold. If it remains dark, then it is dirt.
  • Cover the plants like shrubs and flowers in order to keep the detergent from causing damage to them.
  • Keep away any etched glass and metal that might get damaged by the cleaning solution that you will be using.
  • Remove all things that might get in the way when you clean your vinyl siding. These should include toys and furniture.
  • Shut off the electric power to any of the outside electrical units including outlets and lights.

Prepare the Things that You Will Need

Learning this is easy for as long as you have all the materials needed for the task. Thus, before you begin cleaning, it is important that you prepare the things that you will need and among these are the following:

  • Broom and old towels or rugs
  • Hose
  • Large buckets filled with five gallons of water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Pressure washer, if you have one
  • Soft bristled brushes
  • Sponge mop
  • Water

Process of Cleaning

After you have prepared all the things that you need, then you should be all set to begin with the cleaning process. Remember that it will be easier to work in three to five foot sections in your house.

  • First off, fill in a bucket with up to four gallons of water that is mixed with laundry detergent.
  • Next, gather all of your cleaning tools, including the brush and mop or you can use a broom wrapped with an old towel on the head and secured with a duct tape. Make sure that the broom has a handle long enough for you to hold while cleaning the top portion of the vinyl siding in your home.
  • Start by spraying with a hose any of the loose dirt and debris on the siding. If you own a pressure washer, then go ahead and use it. This works better than the hose and it will most likely be able to eliminate a good amount of debris and dirt and thus, the amount of work needed for scrubbing will be lessened. Make sure not to force water right behind the panels towards the seams as this could make the molds and mildew to be even more difficult to get rid of.
  • Beginning from the top, dip the cleaning tool with soapy water and then start scrubbing off any dirt and debris that have gotten to the siding. Continue to work your way down towards the bottom of your section.
  • With the use of the hose, rinse away all the soapy water on the siding while making sure that you remove all the soap right before it dries or it might leave some marks on your sidings which are not good to look at.
  • Continue doing the cleaning process and repeat four to seven times for each section of the vinyl siding.

Additional Tips and Advice

It would help if you also learn some tips and advice about cleaning your vinyl siding. So here are some tips that you should keep in mind:

  • If you are worried about putting chemicals on the ground, then you can opt for eco friendly detergents to clean off the siding.
  • The Trisodium Phosphate is highly recommended as a great alternative to laundry detergent.
  • The bleach can also be used especially in removing mildew buildup on most vinyl siding. You can mix a mild solution of one part of bleach to five parts of water and then remove the mildew by scrubbing it off with a brush.
  • If you need to use a ladder for hard to reach areas of the siding, make sure that you ask another person to assist you. Scrubbing off the siding with a mop or a broom can be dangerous when you are standing alone on the ladder, thus, this must be done with extreme caution.
  • If there are stains that you cannot remove from your siding, you can check out some great products for vinyl siding. There are cleaners that are so great at removing any kind of stains on your vinyl.
  • If your siding is just too huge that you cannot do it yourself, you may want to consider hiring a professional instead to do the cleaning.

Additional Tips

Remember that the best way to clean off your vinyl siding is by using a soft cloth or any brush with a long handle and soft bristles. For the textured surfaces, you can make use of brushes with soft bristles in order to keep the grooves in the textures to become stain free. To achieve best results, begin at the bottom of the house and then work your way up. Afterwards, completely rinse off the cleaning solution and leave it to dry.

Using Power Washer

As stated above, you can make use of a power washer if you have one. However, you have to make sure that you carefully read the washer instructions before you begin using. Make sure that you hold on to the power washer straight within eye level in order to keep the water at the top of the siding to be able to clean most effectively. Never aim the power washer upward since the water might be driven right behind the siding.

Aside from referring to the manual instructions on the use of the power washer, it is important that you also check out the manufacturer instructions of the vinyl siding. Some of the manufacturers will not want to use pressure washers on their vinyl siding so you may want to check that out. Some manufacturers would allow the pressure washer but on certain limitations only. Most of the manufacturers however will caution against the use of power washers on any of the opening in the wall, like the doors, windows, most especially electrical wiring.

Preventing Discoloration

Covering the vinyl siding when you use stains and sealants are a great way to prevent the discoloration. This is especially important during home renovation projects. There are also certain herbicides and insecticides that could potentially stain the vinyl siding so you have to be careful with using these. You may want to check the product labels first before you decide to use them.

How Does Heat Affect the Vinyl Siding?

It is also important that you know some important things about vinyl siding, such as on how the heat could affect the siding. Remember that the vinyl siding is made of organic materials and this means that it could melt when exposed to a significant amount of heat. Furthermore, vinyl is a combustible material. It will readily ignite except when exposed to flames coming from an existing fire. Building and homeowners that make use of the vinyl siding should therefore take utmost precautions when it comes to heat. They must keep the heat sources away from the siding, such as the barbecue grills and other readily ignitable materials like mulch, dry leaves, trash, etc.

What about the Heat from Reflected Light?

Another common concern about the vinyl siding is the heat coming from reflected light. Concentrated sunlight that reflects to the vinyl siding through windows can indeed result to a surface temperature that is far exceeding those that are caused by the direct exposure to sunlight. Temperatures can lead to a significant distortion of the vinyl siding even if the siding is not exposed in direct sunlight as well as the reflection from flat, normal and window glass. But there are certain conditions that the glass in an energy efficient window could become concave and will form a mirror that will concentrate the sunlight in certain areas on the siding.

Hopefully these tips can help you with cleaning the vinyl siding on your own.