If you had a chance to choose the type of siding that is currently on your home and you chose vinyl siding, we can probably guess why you made that choice: it doesn’t need much maintenance. While it’s true that vinyl siding doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, don’t think this means vinyl siding is maintenance-free. After all, vinyl siding is exposed to the elements all day long, every single day of the year, through rain, snow, hail, and heat. Vinyl siding may be durable, but those kinds of elements can still take a toll.
Vinyl siding can get dirty and stained or even have problems with mildew or mold. Yes, it’s true -- vinyl siding isn’t necessarily immune to mold and mildew. But these types of problems can easily be prevented or dealt with by washing your home’s siding once a year. In addition to detracting from the way your home looks, dirt, mold, and mildew can shorten the lifespan of your vinyl siding so regularly cleaning it can help make your siding last as long as possible.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, don’t worry: you can do a very effective job of cleaning your home’s siding without one. In fact, pressure washers can potentially damage your home’s siding if not used correctly. All you really need is a soft-bristle brush with a long handle, a sponge, a bucket of water, some liquid dish soap, and a garden hose, but there lots of different mixtures you can use to clean with. Bob Vila recommends using a mixture of 70% water and 30% white vinegar to clean with.
If you have more difficult spots to remove, a mixture of water, dish soap, and oxygen bleach could do the trick. Just be sure to use oxygen bleach, not chlorine bleach. Oxygen bleach won’t discolor the siding or damage any plants that are growing near the house.
Do not use things like nail polish remover/acetone, furniture polish, undiluted chlorine bleach, or extremely abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool. These will damage your home’s siding.
Before you get started, make sure you turn off the power to any outdoor electrical outlets and light fixtures that are attached to your house and cover them with plastic. Walk around the area where you’ll be working and make sure you have a clear space to work. When you’re ready to start washing, start at the bottom and work your way up, using your hose to rinse as you go. Although vinyl siding isn’t completely maintenance-free, the upside is that at least vinyl siding tends to come clean pretty easily. This chore might take an afternoon to handle, but taking the time to do it is very worthwhile.