Harsh winters and spring rain can leave your home’s vinyl siding looking dirty and dingy. An annual cleaning of vinyl siding helps to maintain the value and beauty of your home’s exterior. A pressure washer is the ideal tool to clean vinyl siding by blasting away mold, dirt, and grime. Most power washers are user-friendly and can be operated with little effort. All of the necessary materials, including the pressure washer, can be bought or rented through your local Home Depot or Lowes. In order to successfully power wash vinyl siding you will need to prep the surface, use the appropriate pressure washer settings, and spend some time carefully operating the machine.
Following these 5 easy steps will get your vinyl siding looking like new again.
Select the appropriate equipment and settings. A gasoline or electric washer with a pressure rating of at least 3,000 PSI, and a flow rate of at least 4 gallons per minute, will provide enough force to effectively clean high, hard-to-reach vinyl surfaces. Set the spray nozzle to low pressure and use a 25-degree spray tip. Add an appropriate cleaning solution (such as mild dish detergent or OxiClean if siding is very dirty) to the reservoir.
Prep the area. Proper preparation is the key to successful vinyl exterior cleaning. It will make the job quicker and easier for people who prefer to do it themselves.
- Remove any obstacles from the surrounding area (patio furniture, planters, etc)
- Dampen and cover nearby plants or gardens to protect them from the high pressure spray and cleaning chemicals. You can use any non-porous cover such as a tarp or plastic tablecloth.
- Cover all exposed outlets or electrical wires. If outlet covers do not exist, seal them with plastic and waterproof tape.
- Remove dense areas of mold or mildew with a mixture of household bleach and water. Scrub the area by hand and rinse thoroughly with clean, fresh water. Use bleach as a last resort. Bleach is a harsh chemical and can ruin surrounding plants and vegetation if not properly covered.
Test the spray on a small area to get used to its power. You may increase or decrease the power of the spray by adjusting either the nozzle setting or the distance at which you are holding the wand from the siding.
Power wash one section at a time from bottom to top, and sweeping from left to right. Always ensure that the nozzle is pointed downward at a 45-degree angle to minimize the amount of water that gets behind the siding. Excessive water can bulge siding, dampen insulation or framework, and cause mold or electrical damage over time.
Rinse the siding with fresh water. Work from the top down to prevent streaks, and rinse within approximately 5-to-10 minutes of cleaning, before the detergent is able to dry.