Springtime is the best time for cleaning vinyl siding. It gives you a great opportunity to inspect any winter damages and freshen up your exterior in time for nice weather.  Cleaning your siding should be conducted annually. Vinyl siding is the most popular type of siding due to being cost-effective and low maintenance. However, low maintenance doesn’t mean it will take care of itself. If you’ve chosen vinyl siding or recently purchased a house with vinyl siding, let’s walk through the do’s and don’ts of keeping your home looking beautiful. 

What Do I Need to Clean Vinyl Siding?

Not all siding materials have the same cleaning regiment. Each material has a different way of being manufactured and properties. The upshot of vinyl siding is that it is the easiest to maintain. 

Checklist

The first step of any DIY project is to not go to the home improvement store more than once! Get what you need and wrap up the project. The benefit of annually cleaning your siding is you are reducing the chances of dirt, grease, grime, pollen, and more from staining your siding.  New vinyl siding may have the luxury of a quick rinse with a garden hose and be finished. However, if you are seeing some mildew growth, dirt accumulation, or general grime build-up, you’re going to want to step up to the next level of vinyl cleaning. 

Supplies

  • Soft-bristled brush with an extendable handle for those high-up places
  • Five-gallon bucket for cleaning solution or a pump sprayer
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Cleaning solution (store-bought or homemade) 

Vinyl Siding Cleaning Solution

Kearns Brothers have three different solutions for your cleaning needs. There is a basic, aggressive, and the “I’ll be in trouble if I kill the flowers” option. Each is different based on how much grime you need to remove from your siding. Basic solution
  • Mix 70% water and 30% vinegar.
  • This solution will remove light stains and mildew.
Aggressive solution
  • One-third of a cup of powdered laundry detergent
  • Two-thirds cup of powdered household cleaner
  • One quart liquid laundry bleach
  • One gallon of water
“Watch the flowers” solution
  • One gallon of water
  • One cup of oxygen bleach

How To Clean Your Vinyl Siding

You’ve been to the home improvement store once and got all your supplies. Now what? Kearns Brothers recommend getting the wasp nests down, knocking down any cobwebs, bird nests, etc.  Section off chunks of siding to tackle first. Start at the bottom of the siding, work the soft-bristled brush horizontally, and work your way to the top. Rinse from the top down. 

Do Not Use These On Your Vinyl Siding

Cleaning vinyl siding is meant to be easy. There are products that shouldn't go anywhere near your siding to keep it looking great. To be certain of the best products to use, consult the manufacturers guidelines to be 100% certain that any product you are using will not damage your siding.

Steel wool or abrasive products

Steel wool (or any abrasive) will gouge and scratch your vinyl siding. The gouges are not repairable, so once they are there, you will be looking at them until you replace your siding again. 

Undiluted bleach

Undiluted bleach is powerful stuff. It will damage your siding and possibly lighten the color. Always dilute it or use oxygen bleach. 

Liquid Grease Remover

There are chemicals in a liquid grease remover that may damage the surface of your siding. Try this solution if you have grease stains that you want to remove.
  • 2 tbsp of liquid dish soap
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • Dissolve the soap
  • Clean grease spots with a nylon scrub brush

Power Washer

Some homeowners power wash their vinyl siding, and some manufacturers even call for it. We don’t recommend it because it can gouge your siding. Additionally, it can force water behind your siding and cause the insulation to get wet. Once your insulation is wet, it loses its effectiveness and can start to grow mold or mildew. If you must power wash, hire a professional. 

What Regular Maintenance is Required of Vinyl Siding?

Low-maintenance vinyl siding has two big asks. Inspecting and cleaning vinyl siding should be completed annually. Keep a lookout for signs of wear and damage. If you can head those off early, your vinyl siding will last for many years. 

What’s The Best Way to Protect Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl is durable but you can damage it. High winds and freezing temperatures may break or crack your vinyl siding. Those are out of your control. There are several steps you can take to protect your siding, and prevent any unnecessary damages. 

Grill All You Want. Just Steer Clear of Your Siding.

Extreme heat will warp and melt viny siding. If your grill or smoker is too close, you can expect there to be an issue. It is recommended that your grill/ smoker be kept at least 10 feet away from any structure. Factor in your eaves into that 10-foot distance.  Stay safe and grill a distance from your home. 

Lawnmowers 

Lawnmowers are a necessary tool for yard work. They can throw branches and rocks, which can crack or puncture your vinyl siding. Make sure to clear your yard of any loose debris to prevent holes in your siding.  Create a space between your yard and siding by creating flower beds that extend 2 feet away from your siding will help with damage from thrown stones.

Discoloration

Using herbicides or pesticides can stain or discolor vinyl siding. Stains and sealants can do the same thing. Be cautious about overspray, wind, and working too close to the siding of your home. 

Paint

Vinyl siding typically shouldn’t need painting. However, some homeowners may paint a patch that has faded in the sun to prolong the life of their siding. If you try to repaint, do not use a dark color as it will absorb heat during the hot summer and may warp and cause you to replace it sooner than later. 

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs will drop branches that can be thrown by your lawnmower. Another problem that trees and shrubs provide is that they can work their way into the gaps of your siding. Branches can ask as a roadway for insects onto and ultimately into your home. 

Vinyl Siding is Low Maintenance and Offers High Curb Appeal

Vinyl siding makes upkeep easy. It looks great and has a great curb appeal. Keep maintaining it and it will continue to perform for years. If you are having issues with your sidingreach out to Kearns Brothers today! We’ve been serving metro Detroit for nearly 40 years.