Manufacturer Recommendations: How to Clean Vinyl Siding
By Blue Corona Dev Mar 14, 2014
Many people neglect the outside of the home when it comes to spring cleaning, but you would be surprised to see how much better your home looks after it has been washed. Vinyl siding, like any other type of home siding, can accumulate dirt, pollen, bird poo, spider webs, and other natural/unnatural particles.
If you let grime accumulate, the color of your home will appear dull. You should also check your vinyl siding for stains. Stains can occur from rust, mold, mildew, chemicals, or other factors. Mold and mildew can grow on vinyl siding in shady moist places, like a front porch. If you think your siding is clean, rub a white rag along a panel, and you will see that it is not. Don’t fret. One of the benefits of vinyl siding is that it is easy to clean, but how? The best way to clean vinyl siding varies by manufacturer. We will outline several general guidelines to follow and give more specific cleaning instructions from our favorite vinyl siding manufacturers. If you are considering vinyl siding and looking for more general information, refer to FAQs on how to clean and maintain vinyl siding. Read on to learn about vinyl siding cleaning methods!
General Cleaning Guidelines from a Vinyl Siding Contractor
1) Clean your siding twice per year: As much as we love New England, we can’t say that the climate is mild. Winter weather in particular can muck up your home’s exterior.
2) Start from the bottom up: Working your way up the house will prevent streaking.
3) Rinse as you go: Always make sure to rinse off cleaning solution before it dries.
4) Double check the manufacturer’s instructions: Vinyl siding manufacturers recommend cleaning methods and cleaning solutions specific to their product. Instructions from some of the top manufacturers are below. If you have a different type of vinyl siding, you can usually find the cleaning instructions online through a quick Google search. Cleaning instructions are usually mentioned in the warranty as well, which does not cover damage from impromper cleaning.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding: Instructions by Manufacturer
Cleaning Alside Vinyl Siding
The cleaning action of rainfall is usually sufficient to clean vinyl siding. Rinse vinyl siding with a garden hose in areas that are not exposed to rain or during dry periods. If your siding needs a more thorough cleaning, read on: (image via improvementscatalog.com)
Tools: Use a soft-bristled brush with a long handle that attaches to your garden hose. Clean gently. A glossy appearance does not signal a good cleaning. Rather, it means you scrubbed some of the finish away.
Solution for stubborn dirt: 1/3 cup powedered detergent (such as Tide or Fab) 2/3 cup household cleaner (such as Spic & Span or Soil Max) and 1 gallon of water.
Solution for Mildew: Use the solution above, but substitute 1 quart of laundry bleach for 1 quart of water.
Other tips: If you need to use a cleaning solution, save the project for a cool, overcast day to prevent the solution from drying before you rinse it off. Let the solution sit for approximately 3 minutes, and then rinse. (This will not be possible on a hot sunny day)
According to customer reviews, one of the main benefits of vinyl siding from Alside is the vast and vibrant color selection. A good vinyl siding cleaning will showcase that striking color you chose.
Cleaning Tips for CertainTeed Siding
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding
Again, one of the benefits of vinyl siding is that it is more resistant to stains than other types of home siding. Areas that are protected from sun and rain may need active cleaning, though. Chalk can also accumulate on vinyl siding.
Tools: A soft bristle brush and a garden hose are the best tools to remove stubborn dirt and chalk.
Solution for stubborn stains: Most common household detergents work, but contact your vinyl siding contractor for the best solution, and always try it on an inconspicuous spot before you apply it to the whole house.
Solution for Mildew: Connecticut can be quite humid in the summer. If you notice black spots on your siding, prepare a solution for mildew: ‘ cup detergent (tide, or other) plus 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Soilax, for example) plus 1 quart of sodium hypochlorite, 5% (for example, Chlorox) and finally 3 quarts of water.
Other Tips: Interestingly, mildew often occurs in places that do not receive direct rain, such as porch encolsures. If you cannot remove mildew yourself, contact your vinyl siding contractor for assistance. Resist the urge to scrub hard because you can easily damage the finish and void the warranty.
How to Wash CertainTeed Fiber Cement Siding
Regular Cleaning: Fiber cement siding, like vinyl siding, is subject to accumulations of dirt, debris, pollen, and more. Wash fiber cement siding 1-2 times per year.
Mildew and Fungus: Mildew can also grow on fiber cement siding. If you can’t tell if the stain is from dirt or mildew, apply bleach to a small spot. If the spot disappears in under 2 minutes, it is mildew. Use 1/3 cup of ammonia-free detergent, plus 1 quart Chlorox, and 3 quarts of warm water to remove mildew and fungus.
Efflorescence: Efflorescence is that white powdery looking stuff you might notice on your fiber cement siding. It occurs when moisture draws salt crystals to the surface, but then evaporates and leaves the salt (chalk) behind. A vinegar andcwater solution is the best way to remove it. The recommended dilution ratio is 20%-50% vinegar. Try 25% first, and add more if needed. Vinegar can harm surrounding vegetation, For more information, see maintenance tips from CertainTeed. (image via retrofittingcalifornia.com)
Mastic Vinyl Siding Cleaning Tips
For Moderate Dirt: Use a garden hose to rinse and a soft bristle brush for light scrubbing.
For heavier dirt: Use the same tools, but with a cleaning solution (1/3 cup detergent, 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate, and 1 gallon of water.)
For mildew: Use the same technique, but with a different solution: 1/3 cup detergent, 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate, 1 quart sodium hyochlorite (5% solution) and 3 quarts of water.
Power Washing: Power washing may be more efficient, but you also need to be more careful. First, read the instructions that come with the power washer to understand how it works. Hold the washer straight at eye level. DO NOT aim the water at an upwards angle. This would force water behind the siding and cause other, worse problems. Set the PSI somewhere between 1,500 and 2,400. Power washers come with tips that shoot the water at different angles. Choose a 40 degree tip for cleaning mastic vinyl siding.
Refreshing your home this spring:
Spring is known for fresh air and bright blooming colors. Restore your home’s original bright color this spring. Trust your vinyl siding contractor, get your scrub brush ready, and let your vinyl siding colors shine! Cleaning vinyl siding has a major, positive effect on curb appeal. Cleaning your house is a much bigger project than washing your car, though. If you aren’t up to the task, you can hire professional cleaners, or maybe some of the neighborhood children. If you are a DIY kind of person, try to enlist some friends or family members to help out. Spring cleaning can be fun! The following guide from Fiderio & Sons includes everything you need to know about vinyl siding, and more! If you feel overwhelmed, contact us for help. We’d be delighted to help you freshen up the neighborhood this spring.