If you are enjoying the warmer temperatures of spring by completing your yard work and outdoor home maintenance, don’t overlook your vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is a popular choice for many Albany homeowners because of its durability and resistance to the elements, but it does require a thorough cleaning from time to time to keep it looking its best. Although it is resistant to rotting, cracking, and peeling, elements like rain, wind, and snow cause it to get dirty. In some cases, mold, mildew, and algae can build up on certain areas of your siding. Here are a few tips on cleaning your vinyl siding this spring.
The first step in any home maintenance project should be to make sure you are taking proper safety precautions. There are a few guidelines you should adhere to when cleaning your vinyl siding.
- Be sure the areas you will be working on are at least six feet away from power lines and electrical transformers.
- Wear eye protection to protect your eyes from cleaning solutions, dirt, and debris. It is also a good idea to wear rubber gloves and long pants to protect your skin from bleach and cleaning agents.
- When using a pressure washer, never direct the water stream at windows, other people, yourself, or animals. Furthermore, never use a pressure washer while standing on a ladder, as it is easy to lose your balance and fall.
Prepare Your New York Home for Cleaning
- Check the vinyl siding for any damage that requires repairs. It is always best to have repairs completed before cleaning.
- Cover flowers, plants, and shrubbery in your outdoor landscaping to protect it from cleaning agents and high-pressure spray from the hose or pressure washer.
- Move obstacles like outdoor furniture or children’s toys away from the area where you will be cleaning to avoid potential hazards.
- Fully close all windows and doors.
- Turn off electricity to outdoor outlets and electrical features.
- Inspect the siding for problem areas that have mold or mildew, so that you know where to focus your attention.
Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
There are various cleaning solutions you can use on your vinyl siding. Prepare a checklist of tools and items you may need and be sure to have everything on hand before you start your project. A few items you may need include:
- Large buckets
- Hose or pressure washer
- Laundry Detergent
- Household cleaners
- Soft brush
- Sponges/sponge mop
Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
Follow these basic instructions to make a cleaning agent to use on your siding.
- Fill your bucket with 70% water and 30% white vinegar. This solution is adequate for cleaning general dirt and grime off siding and also works well to remove mold and mildew.
- Combine ¼ cup liquid laundry detergent with 3-4 gallons of water. This solution is slightly stronger than the vinegar/water solution and is also great for cleaning most dirt from vinyl siding.
- If your vinyl siding is especially dirty or has significant problem areas, try using a solution of one gallon of water, 1//3 cup powdered laundry detergent, ⅔ cup powdered household cleaner, and one quart of bleach.
- Use household cleaners like Lysol and Windex to loosen tougher stains.
- Avoid using cleaning supplies and products that could scratch or corrode your vinyl siding, such as steel wool, abrasive scrubbers, nail polish remover, furniture polish, undiluted bleach, organic solvents, and degreaser.
Follow These Steps to Clean the Siding
- Begin by spraying any loose dirt and debris off the vinyl siding with your hose. The best method to avoid getting any water behind your siding is to spray downward at a 45-degree angle. If water gets trapped behind your siding, it can encourage mold growth, cause electrical damage, damage insulation and framework, and cause your vinyl siding to bulge.
- Starting at the lowest point, use your sponge or sponge mop to scrub away mold, mildew, dirt, and debris. By working from the bottom to the top, you will avoid dirty, soapy water running over the areas you haven’t cleaned yet. This makes it easier to keep track of where you have cleaned and where you haven’t. If you don’t have a sponge mop, you can cover a broom with a soft towel and use that to access hard to reach areas.
- Rinse the areas you have cleaned before they have a chance to dry, which could leave soap and dirt dried back onto the siding. For this step, you will want to rinse from the highest point to the lowest to make sure the dirty water is washed off the whole way down.
Everyone finds their own method that works best as they clean, but most find it easiest to work on the siding in sections of three to six square feet.
With proper planning and preparation, cleaning your vinyl siding is a chore you can complete on a pleasant spring day and enjoy the whole summer long. Your Albany home will look fresh and clean, and the neighbors are sure to notice. Follow all safety measures and have everything you will need before you start working on this project. That way, everything will go smoothly and you won’t get held up with extra tasks like running out for supplies or unnecessary trips to the eye doctor.
In some cases, the sided portion of your home may be quite large and a bit too much of a project for you to complete. If you are worried that it’s too much for you, consider enlisting the help of friends or family. Sometimes homeowners simply don’t have the time to fit a good cleaning into their busy schedules. Luckily, vinyl siding care is something that you can hire a trusted contractor or exterior cleaning service to handle for you. No matter which method you use, you will be glad to have your vinyl siding spruced up and looking like new for the season ahead.