Siding comes in many shapes and forms: wood, stucco, even stone. One very common material for siding is vinyl, and while it is relatively inexpensive and does a good job of keeping out water and bugs, it can be difficult to clean. This is because the most powerful cleaning methods will actually damage your siding or the rest of your home. You need a good way to clean your siding, and we’ve got just the thing.
What Is the Best Way to Clean Vinyl Siding?
When you need to clean your siding, you have several options. On one side of the continuum, there is cleaning by hand. This is both labor- and time-intensive. It also presents a lot of challenges when you need to clean upper stories and can even make the job more dangerous.
On the other side of the spectrum, you could clean your siding with a pressure washer. This is sure to save time and effort, right? Wrong. Pressure washers are too intense for vinyl siding, and the force behind them actually drives water up underneath the paneling. If it doesn’t break the vinyl, it can wedge it loose from the house or settle in between the siding and the wall to foster mold and mildew growth which can spread deeper into the home’s interior.
Soft washing is the perfect middle ground, blasting away grime and dirt without damaging the siding. While still saving you time and elbow grease, you can give your home a beautiful new appearance. Regularly soft washing your home (at least twice a year) can also prevent fungal or bacterial growth in the first place and maintain your siding’ s correct color.
How to Soft Wash Your Siding
All you need to clean your siding via soft wash is the right soft washing system and a healthy mixture of confidence and caution. Remember that even soft washing systems are very powerful, so you mustn’t go crazy if you don’t want to damage your home. Before beginning, cover your shrubbery, furniture, and windows with plastic tarp to protect them.
Protect yourself with sturdy eyewear and other protective gear like closed-toed shoes. Protect your home by following your siding manufacturer’s cleaning instructions carefully. It is also wise to first try all pressure settings and detergent combinations on an area of your siding that is inconspicuous. Start with lower pressure settings and by standing further away from the house. If you need more power, you can gradually increase the pressure or step closer.
Using a soft wash system to clean your side is a two-step process: lather and rinse. Your first step is to apply the soap. Start at the bottom of the wall and work your way up, using low pressure settings to evenly apply overlapping strokes. If you don’t want streaks or overlooked spots, don’t get “hose happy.” Work methodically in relatively straight lines.
If you have trouble spots—caked-on debris or bird droppings—you can also approach them with a brush with soft bristles. Many soft washing systems have rotating attachments, brushes that spin with the pressure of the machine.
Once the soap has had some time to loosen up dirt and grime, it is time to rinse. Unlike the soap application, start your rinse at the top and work your way down to ensure the entire area is soap-free.
What Soap Should You Use to Clean Your Siding?
When soft washing your siding, you need a cleaning solution that will break down grime and stains. Finding the right mixture can be a challenge since compounds that are too corrosive can eat away at the material, vinyl or otherwise. A good rule of thumb is to avoid using corrosive cleaning solutions that contain undiluted bleach or untraditional cleaners such as degreasers or furniture-polishes.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding High Up?
Even with a soft wash system, it is important to keep your water level when you clean your siding so you don’t blow pressurized water up underneath the panels. While using a more powerful machine, perhaps with a gas engine, can help, it is wise to use an extension wand to reach otherwise inaccessible places above ground level while keeping an even stream.
Professional Soft Washing Services
Cleaning your siding, while essential home maintenance, can prove to be a difficult task. If you have any concerns about damaging your siding, you can let the professionals take care of it. A team like Westchester Power Washing’s will have the right tools and experience to know precisely how to clean your siding while preserving its structural integrity. To save yourself time and worry, give us a call today.