Having dirty-looking or green vinyl siding on your home can make your home look dated and untidy. Thankfully, this can be fixed by giving your siding a good clean.
But what if you don’t have a pressure washer? How do you clean your vinyl siding then?
You can clean vinyl siding without the use of a pressure washer, but this will require more effort from you. You will need to clear the area around your home, including trees and bushes, mix up a cleaning solution, then spray down your walls, and give them a good scrub with the cleaning solution.
What contributes to making your vinyl sidings dirty? What steps can you follow to clean your vinyl siding safely? Do you need to buy a cleaning solution, or can you make one yourself?
Let’s find out!
What Contributes to Dirty Vinyl Siding?
There comes a time when cleaning the outside of your house is as needed as cleaning the inside. This process can be a long and difficult one to accomplish, but it will help improve the overall appearance of your house, and it will give you a great sense of satisfaction when it’s done.
Before we get to the cleaning process of vinyl siding and what you can use to clean it effectively, we need to cover what can cause the dirt build-up. It will be handy to know what type of dirt you are dealing with, as this will determine what you need to clean off the vinyl siding.
There are a few factors that can contribute to the dirt build up on your vinyl siding, these include:
- The accumulation of chalk – this is a dull film that develops on the surface of the vinyl siding that will happen on all vinyl pigments as they are constantly exposed to the elements and sunlight.
- Common exposure is due to naturally occurring factors like leaves falling, the wind blowing debris against the vinyl, birds, rain, insects, and more.
- Mildew – this can occur in damp climates or in areas of the home where the vinyl does not receive regular sunlight, for example, close to the home’s eves.
- Stains – while most vinyl siding used for homes are designed to be resistant to common household stains like grease and oil, some staining can happen on the vinyl due to factors like algae build-up.
These are the main dirt types that you will deal with when you are cleaning your home’s vinyl siding. Let’s go through how you can clean these off successfully.
Can You Clean Vinyl Siding Without a Pressure Washer?
When you see people cleaning their vinyl sides in videos on the internet, or maybe you have seen your neighbors cleaning their vinyl sides, and you see them all using a pressure washer to get the outside of their house sparkling clean.
This can have you worried as it seems like you need to wash your vinyl sides with a pressure washer, and if you use any other method, you are doing it wrong. This is a feeling that many people have, but this is not the case.
You can very easily clean your vinyl siding just as well without a pressure washer. So, you don’t need to empty your savings account to buy an expensive pressure washer, as you can successfully clean your vinyl siding without one by using other various common household tools.
How To Clean Home Vinyl Siding Without a Pressure Washer
So, now that you know you can clean your vinyl siding without a pressure washer, how do you do it? Cleaning your vinyl siding by hand is not the easiest task to undertake, and it will take some time to complete, so ensure you have the whole weekend set aside for this task.
With that being said, if you set your mind to it and you get a good cleaning technique going, then you may surprise yourself at how fast you can get through it. So, let’s go through how you can do this without the need for a pressure washer.
1 – Remove Obstacles Around Outside Walls
Before you begin cleaning your home’s vinyl siding, you need to take a walk around your home and look for any possible obstacles that may get in your way while trying to clean your home’s vinyl siding.
This is important for your safety as you will be using a ladder to help you clean the higher locations of the wall. You need to ensure that there is nothing in your way that you may stumble on as you clean.
Move any debris, logs, or other items you encounter on your walk around your house away from the walls. Make sure you give yourself the space you need to work comfortably and safely.
2 – Trim Trees and Bushes Close to the Vinyl Siding
If your house has trees and bushes around the outside that are close to the outside walls, before you begin cleaning the vinyl siding, you need to trim them. You should trim the trees and bushes so they are at least 1 foot away from the wall.
This will give you some space to clean the vinyl siding behind it comfortably. This will also help clear obstacles away from the walls that might harm you if you fall or stumble while you are cleaning.
Trimming these trees and bushes will also help prevent pollen and dirt building up on the vinyl siding in the future, making the next time you have to clean the walls easier.
3 – Remove Any Large Debris from the Vinyl Siding
When you are cleaning your vinyl siding by hand, you will not clean your whole house in one day. So, pick a side and then break that wall into thirds or halves and clean the wall in these sections to avoid hurting yourself by overdoing it.
Take your ladder to the section you will be starting with and check the vinyl for any damage and use your brush to lightly brush off any loose dirt or large pieces of debris like leaves that may be clinging to the wall.
This will help you clean the wall better when you use the cleaning solution you have already mixed and avoid your cleaning tools becoming muddy as you clean.
4 – Gather All Your Cleaning Supplies
Before you begin the actual cleaning process, you need to gather all the supplies you need to complete the job. You will need a strong brush with firm bristles; you can even use a broom if you have one on hand.
You will need some trisodium phosphate (TSP), which you can easily find at your local hardware store, but this cleaning product is optional, and we will go through a few other options later in this article.
You will need a medium-sized bucket, a garden hose, a place you can connect your hose for water, a ladder, and a whole lot of determination and elbow grease. Ensure all your tools are clean, and then once you have all your equipment collected, you can move on to the next step.
5 – Mix Your Chosen Cleaning Solution
Now you need to mix your cleaning solution. To do this, you will use your bucket and the TSP or other cleaning chemicals you have chosen to clean your vinyl siding with.
If you are using the TSP, follow the instructions on the container to mix the solutions with water in the correct quantities. If you wish to use other chemicals to clean your vinyl siding, we have put together the method to mix a few options at the end of this article.
If you notice any mildew growing on your vinyl siding, then you may need to mix some mildewcide into your cleaning solution to ensure you ride your house of this problem. Once your cleaning solution is mixed, you can set it aside for now and move on to the next step.
6 – Spray Off the Vinyl Siding with a Hose
Connect your garden hose to a faucet in your garden and spray down the sections of vinyl you plan on cleaning first.
You should spray the vinyl using a downward motion to avoid any water from going underneath the vinyl siding and causing damage or potentially leading to rot, which is a bigger problem to deal with than just dirty walls.
When you are spraying the vinyl siding, ensure your ladder is safely secured in place as the vinyl can become slippery when it’s wet, which can be dangerous for you.
7 – Scrub the Vinyl Siding with Cleaning Solution
When you have finished the previous steps, you can now get to the fun part of actually cleaning the vinyl siding. Ensure you place some garden gloves on for this part of the process, as you don’t want to be burned by the cleaning chemicals you have mixed as you clean the walls.
Using a brush and the cleaning solution, scrub your home’s vinyl siding to remove all the dirt and grime that built up on the vinyl over the years. You can press quite hard to ensure you loosen the dirt from the vinyl.
Once you have scrubbed one section of the vinyl siding, use your garden hose to rinse it with water along with your brush. Then clean the section again using some fresh cleaning solutions and rinse it one more time.
Repeat this cleaning process with every section of the wall and when you are done, move on to the next wall. This cleaning process is not easy and will take you some time, so put on some music and get through as much as you can in one day.
How to Clean Stains Off Vinyl Siding
Even though vinyl sidings are usually stain-resistant, they can occasionally get stained by certain algae growing on the wall. Some of these stains can be stubborn and not come out when cleaned with regular household detergents.
When this happens, you can call your siding contractor and request their cleaner to be sent out to deal with the stain, as they will have the right products for the type of vinyl siding used on your house. Or you can use some TSP and see if this will remove the stain from the vinyl siding.
Household Cleaning Solutions for Vinyl Siding
If you don’t have stains, and you need to give your vinyl sidings a clean to freshen them up a little, then you don’t need to go and buy expensive cleaning solutions like TSP. You can mix some household cleaning supplies, and they will get the job done.
The two most recommended solutions for cleaning vinyl siding are vinegar and bleach solutions. These two are easy to mix at home but ensure you keep your safety in mind and wear gloves and safety glasses while you mix them.
Creating a vinegar solution to help clean your vinyl sidings is easy and will not take you long. This solution is safer for the environment, and it will still ensure that your sidings are mildew and dirt-free after you have used them.
To make this solution, you will need white vinegar, water, baking soda, and a spray bottle for easy use. Mix the water and white vinegar in a ratio of 70/30, then in a separate container, mix ½ cup baking soda into ¼ cup water.
First, you will spray the vinegar water onto your vinyl siding, and then you will use a brush to take some of the baking soda out of the container. Then scrub your walls until you are satisfied with the outcome.
Mixing a bleach solution is easy to do and is great for giving your white vinyl sidings that are beginning to turn green a new lease on life. You will need detergent, water, bleach, and then a spray bottle for easy application for this cleaning solution.
Mix 1/3 cup of powdered detergent, 1-quart liquid laundry bleach, and 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner in 1 gallon of water. Place this bleach mixture into a spray bottle, and you are ready to clean your vinyl siding.
Having dirty vinyl siding on your home can be an eye sore, but, thankfully, it can be fixed. You can clean your vinyl siding without using a pressure washer, but it will take a bit more effort and planning to do. If you follow this article’s advice, you should have no issues with the process. Good luck cleaning your vinyl siding!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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