Cleaning Vinyl Siding

How to wash your home siding

Vinyl siding is the most popular type of siding in the United States, as it offers an excellent combination of long life and ease of maintenance. Over time, though, it's inevitable that dirt, dust and debris will collect on the siding and make it look dingy and worn down. It's a good idea to clean your home siding at least once a year; most people wash their siding in either spring or fall. Regardless of your personal preference, there is an easy and effective method to safely clean home siding without damaging its paint or finish.

Clean Your Home Siding: A How-To Guide

When it comes to cleaning home siding, you have two main options: rent a pressure washer or use a hose attachment kit, or wash the siding by hand. The first option is faster and easier, but the second is very inexpensive. In both cases, you can use a mixture of a gentle detergent and water; liquid laundry detergent works best when mixed with water at about a 10:1 water-to-detergent ratio.

First, prepare to wash your siding by following these steps:

  1. Cover anything which could be harmed by exposure to detergent, including plants, flowers, shrubs, solar lights, metal or etched glass.
  2. Close your home's windows and doors.
  3. Clear away patio furniture, toys and anything else that may impede your access to the house.
  4. Disable the power supply to any outdoor electrical outlets or lights.

If you're going to wash your siding by hand, you'll need a pair of rubber gloves, a bucket, a stepladder and several sponges. Always use a clean sponge; if one gets soiled during the cleaning process, replace it with a new one. Wash the siding moving from top to bottom. If you're using your hose or a pressure washer, be careful to direct the spray away from direct contact with windows as you go.

When you've finished washing the siding, be sure to rinse it off thoroughly with clean water from your garden hose. You can let your siding air-dry. Once you've finished, you can uncover your plants, open your windows and return your patio furniture to its original position, then enable your power supply to your outdoor outlets.