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How to Clean Vinyl Siding in 3 Easy Steps

cleaning vinyl siding
Irina Mos/ Shutterstock

Vinyl siding is one of the most popular materials used on homes in the United States, but like all outdoor surfaces, it can begin to look less-than-perfect over time. Whether you’re battling a build-up of mold and mildew, or imperfections such as dirt, dust, grease, or rust, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve researched the best way to clean vinyl siding, including how to clean vinyl siding using homemade siding wash that won’t damage your home’s exterior. You won’t even need to buy special equipment either. As long as you have a bucket, garden hose, and a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloths, you’re good to go.

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Read on to learn how you can make the best vinyl siding cleaning solution.

Cleaning vinyl siding in 3 easy steps

Knowing how to clean vinyl siding is as easy as making an effective yet gentle house siding cleaner, as well as using the right materials and methods to get your vinyl siding looking as good as new. When it comes to the best way to clean vinyl siding, you can’t beat this simple, three-step process.

Step 1: Make a vinyl siding wash.

Mix a general-purpose cleaner into a bucket of warm water for a cleaning solution that’s great for cleaning dirt, dust, and grime. If you’re targeting mold and mildew, create a solution containing 70% water and 30% white vinegar. Are you looking for something heavy-duty? Try a commercial house siding cleaner such as Wet & Forget Roof and Siding Cleaner, or for an environmentally-friendly option, use Simple Green’s House and Siding Cleaner.

Step 2: Apply your siding wash using a soft-bristled brush, broom, or soft cloth.

You don’t want to use any abrasive materials, as these can quickly damage your vinyl siding’s surface. The best way to clean vinyl siding is to start at the bottom of the siding, moving the entire length along.

Step 3: Rinse each section before you begin cleaning a new one.

Simply use your garden hose to rinse off any solution, dirt, or debris from the vinyl siding you just cleaned (while it’s still wet), then move to the upper section to begin the cleaning process over again.

Products and tools you’ll need to clean vinyl siding:

  • Soft-bristled brush or broom: You want the bristles to be fine enough to get debris from the siding without damaging its surface effectively. A brush is perfect for the lower sections of your siding, while a broom, or brush with a long handle, is effective at reaching those higher parts.
  • Soft cloth: We recommend using microfiber cloths, as these won’t scratch or chip the surface of your vinyl siding. Ensure you have plenty on-hand; depending on how dirty your vinyl siding is, you may go through a lot!
  • General-purpose cleaner, such as Dawn Dish Soap or Palmolive: A simple solution of dish soap and warm water can work wonders as a siding wash, plus it won’t wear away at the vinyl siding’s protective coating.
  • Commercial house siding cleaner, such as Wet & Forget Roof and Siding Cleaner or Simple Green’s House and Siding Cleaner: For a heavy-duty clean, look to products specially formulated for cleaning vinyl siding. Avoid harsh products like straight chlorine bleach, paint thinner, acetone (nail polish remover), furniture cleaner, and spot or paint remover.
  • Bucket: You’ll need this to mix your house siding cleaner and to take with you as you move around the house.
  • Garden hose: Use a hose to rinse off each section as you clean to avoid residue and streaking. Make sure your garden hose is long enough for the water to reach the highest sections of your vinyl siding.

The Bottom Line

Durable and relatively easy to maintain, vinyl siding is a popular material for house exteriors. But it requires regular cleaning to keep it looking in top condition. Learning how to clean vinyl siding is easy with the three-step process we outlined above. Just mix up your house siding cleaner, apply it to each section of siding using a soft-bristled brush or soft cloth, then rinse off the section before moving on to the next. To prevent damage to your vinyl siding, avoid using cleaners containing harsh ingredients such as organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners, as these can harm the siding’s protective surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to clean vinyl siding?

The best vinyl siding cleaning solution uses gentle products such as dish soap and water, or vinegar and water. Or, you can purchase a commercial vinyl siding cleaner to do the job. Apply the solution and clean the siding using a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth, then rinse off with a spray hose. Start from the bottom, working your way higher.

Can you pressure wash vinyl siding?

Some vinyl siding manufacturers may advise against using a pressure washer, while others believe it’s an effective way to clean vinyl siding as long as only a limited amount of pressure is applied. Contact the siding manufacturer for additional information regarding your specific product’s recommendations.

Can you use Dawn to clean vinyl siding?

Yes, when diluted with warm water, an all-purpose cleaner such as Dawn creates a soapy mixture that is gentle on the vinyl siding, yet effective at removing dirt, grease, and other imperfections.

Can you clean vinyl siding with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar is also effective at cleaning vinyl siding, especially to remove mold and mildew. But make sure to dilute it with water first. We recommend a solution containing 70% water and 30% white vinegar.

Does Clorox damage vinyl siding?

When used properly, Clorox can be an effective and safe house siding cleaner. Avoid using regular Clorox undiluted, and instead opt for the brand’s specially formulated House & Siding Cleaner, which can be attached to your garden hose.

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