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The Best Ways To Clean Home Vinyl Siding

exterior contractor on a ladder

Vinyl siding is a cost-effective, low-maintenance, weather-resistant type of siding that can fit the exterior of any home. Choosing it out of the other siding options can increase your curb appeal and lessen labor costs associated with professional installation of other materials, especially as parts for vinyl siding cost less than slate or aluminum siding.

It is rather low maintenance, but like all siding, and anything else, really, existing siding won’t be able to look its best forever. Over time, your siding can become dirty and discolored due to exposure to the elements, pollution, and other factors.

Luckily, vinyl siding is one of the easiest siding types to clean. When properly installed, it can simply be cleaned with detergent, water, and a little elbow grease.

woman standing in white room with cleaning products for cleaning siding on floor around her.


Tools And Materials

Before you begin cleaning your vinyl siding, it’s important to check any manufacturer’s recommendations for care and cleaning. Not all vinyl is safe for all types of cleaners. Some types of vinyl siding may require special cleaning solutions or methods, so it’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure that you don’t damage your siding.

To clean vinyl siding, you will need the following materials:

  • A garden hose
  • A bucket
  • A mild detergent or specialized vinyl siding cleaner (check the manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A long-handled, soft-bristled brush/ broom
  • A ladder
  • Protective gloves and glasses
  • Ground and greenery covers

Lightly textured siding styles of traditional vinyl siding won’t need more than a microfiber cloth to get all the way into the dirty areas. For more deeply textured options, you’ll need brushes with bristles long enough to get into all the difficult spaces. When you install vinyl siding, you have to ensure that any areas that could cause issues are properly sealed; otherwise deeper cleaning can cause problems – both by causing buildup and by making it difficult and concerning to clean.

Close up of crack in the pavement - HB Siding


There are multiple types of cleaners you can use to wash your siding. Siding contractors often have materials that they stand behind, but there are several home remedies you can use as well. Most homeowners have materials like dish soap, vinegar, and bleach readily available, and this can be helpful. Choose one material, mix the appropriate amount-to-water ratio, and you’re good to go!

Before You Start

You’ll want to consider the environment around where you’re cleaning before you start taking steps to clean your siding. It can damage the area around your home if you’re not careful! Some ingredients can cause harm to things like grass, flowers, and even cement on the ground below your siding panels. Similarly, if vinyl siding isn’t the only material on your home’s exterior, washing your vinyl siding carelessly could cause damaged siding for the rest of your house. Brick or wood siding can be damaged, and the material costs can make it a hassle to repair.

Decide what types of materials you want to use for your cleaning. Then map out where you want to clean and what aspects will get in the way as you do. If your lower walls were made for a brick look but you need to clean vinyl above it, you can cover the area in a waterproof material so the cleaning chemicals won’t affect it.

The same thing goes for plant life in the area; you can cover it and direct the water away if it could be a problem. Things like dish soap and vinegar aren’t harmful to plants and grass in small amounts and can even be good pesticides, but things like bleach, cleaners, and ammonia can be harmful quickly.

Never mix ammonia and bleach as this makes poisonous gas.

The Process

Cleaning vinyl siding is an important part of maintaining the appearance and longevity of your home’s exterior.

Step 1: Preparation

The first step in cleaning vinyl siding is to prep what you’ll be using. Fill your bucket with warm water and add a small amount of detergent or specialized vinyl siding cleaner. Ensure that it is evenly mixed. If there are soap or detergent areas that haven’t been mixed in as well, it could cause streaks or even damage to your vinyl siding.

Step 2: Pre-rinse the Siding

Use your garden hose to wet the area that you will be cleaning before you start scrubbing. This helps to remove any loose dirt or debris that may be on the siding that could get in the way of your scrubbing and helps dilute and spread the cleaner onto your siding.

using water from a hose in front of grass to rinse vinyl siding

Tip: We recommend against using a pressure washer! Pressure washers on high settings can damage even new vinyl siding. The pounds per square inch of force can cause fracturing as it scrapes off dirt and debris. It may be harder, but it’s better to use old-fashioned elbow grease on vinyl siding.

Step 3: Scrub the Siding

Using your long-handled, soft-bristled brush, cloth, or broom, scrub the siding in a circular motion, paying special attention to areas that are particularly dirty or stained. This will pull out the impurities as well as scrub off any ingrained dirt and debris

Be sure to work in small sections so that the cleaning solution doesn’t dry on the siding.

Tip: For horizontal siding, work from the bottom to the top of your siding. This will make it so that you don’t have to go back and check for spots of cleaner that sprayed up the wall while working on a lower section as well as letting the whole area dry at the same time.

Step 4: Rinse the Siding

Once you have finished scrubbing the siding, use your garden hose to rinse the area thoroughly. Be sure to rinse the siding from the top down to avoid pushing dirty water back onto the cleaned areas in the last stage.

Step 5: Dry the Siding

After you have finished rinsing the siding, allow it to dry completely before applying any sealants or other treatments.

gloved hand drying water from a vinyl wall


Additional Tips:

  • Again, avoid using high-pressure power washers, as they can damage the vinyl siding.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions or scrubbers, as they can scratch the surface of the siding.
  • Cleaning the siding on a cloudy day is ideal, as the sun can dry the cleaning solution too quickly and make it harder to clean.

Clean Up

Depending on the type of cleaner you’re using, you may use enough water throughout the process so that the water can run off into your lawn. Especially if you have recently watered the area, the materials are less likely to absorb into the soil. You can dispose of additional cleaning agents, but they also often work as a good household cleaner if you have a good amount left. Once you’re fully finished, remove any coverings you have put on the ground or over plants and clean them as needed.

Cleaning vinyl siding is essential to keeping it looking like new siding and ensuring it lasts for years to come. With this list, you can clean your siding to keep up its appearance and make sure whatever vinyl siding colors you chose stand out, but cleaning your vinyl siding has the added benefit of keeping the integrity of your home’s exterior. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for care and cleaning, and to work safely by using a ladder, gloves, and eye protection.