Vinyl siding is a durable, versatile, and resilient building material, but it does require some routine care and cleaning.
The growing popularity of vinyl siding is indisputable. Indeed, U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that vinyl siding has been the leading exterior cladding in the U.S. since 1995. Its popularity shows no sign of waning; in 2011, 33% of new single-family homes sold in the U.S. were sided in the material.
Because it is an exterior product, vinyl siding can accumulate a host of dirt, grime, and stains on account of things like pollen, bird and insect droppings, spider webs and rust. In shady, moist areas, mold and mildew can grow, and vinyl is also vulnerable to discoloring effects from insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. In addition, vinyl siding’s finish may be marred by a number of commonly used household maintenance products, including caulking, driveway sealant, tar, motor oil and paint.
Luckily, vinyl siding is fairly easy to clean, and there are a wide variety of products to help remove typical stains. According to the Vinyl Siding Institute, the best way is to use a soft cloth or an ordinary long-handled, soft-bristle brush. To prevent streaking, start at the bottom and work up towards the top of the house. Thoroughly rinse any cleaning solution as you go.
Some good cleaning solutions include:
• 70% water, 30% white vinegar makes a great all-purpose cleanser that removes light mold and mildew
Another effective way to clean vinyl siding is by using a pressure washer, although some manufacturers advise against it, and other manufacturers recommend a limited amount of pressure.
If using a pressure washer, be sure to keep the stream at eye level and pointed straight at the siding, not at an angle. That way, you won’t drive water in behind the siding. Use caution when using a pressure washer around openings like windows, doors, and plumbing connections.
Avoid using any cleaning products that contain organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners. Any of these products might damage the vinyl siding’s surface. Also, avoid using highly-abrasive scrubbers or steel wool; these, too, can cause damage.
With just a little bit of time and effort, vinyl siding can be kept looking “like new” and will provide many years of trouble-free protection for your home.