Step by step guide on using a pressure washer to clean vinyl siding.
Choosing vinyl siding for your home is smart for many reasons. Not only does this type of exterior look great, but it is also easy to clean. Vinyl siding comes in various sizes and colors, so finding the perfect one for you shouldn’t be a problem.
While siding is a low-maintenance exterior, it does require a good cleaning once or twice a year, and most homeowners find cleaning it with a pressure washer to be the easiest way to do this. Of course, if the manufacturer of your siding recommends using something else, you should always go with their recommendation. Pressure washers, however, make the task a whole lot easier.
Why Does Vinyl Siding Need Regular Cleaning?
Things such as grease, dust, rust, and all types of debris can get stuck to your vinyl siding and make it look less than perfect. Unless you intend to get up on a ladder and wash your siding with a bucket of soapy water and a few towels, it’s best to go ahead and use a pressure washer.
Pressure washers that provide up to 3000 PSI (pounds per square inch) of water pressure work best on vinyl siding. Using a PSI number higher than that may damage the siding, so make sure that your pressure washer isn’t any more powerful than that. Yes, there are some preparations you should make before you get started with the actual cleaning process, but there are only a handful of steps to take when cleaning your vinyl siding so that it looks amazing in the end.
Step 1: Inspect the Siding
Before you do anything else, walk around your home and visually inspect the siding itself:
Step 2: Cover All of Your Plants
Take a look at the exterior of your home and determine if anything needs to be done, such as covering all of your plants, trimming any branches off of trees and bushes that might get in the way when you’re washing the vinyl, and removing as many things as possible on the ground that might possibly be damaged by the washing detergent.
As far as the plants go, you might want to water them before you cover them. This way, it might prevent some of the detergent from harming the plants if it should accidentally get into one of them.
Step 3: Decide on the Type of Detergent That You Want to Use
For instance, if you notice mold or mildew on your siding, you can put together a mixture of 70% water and 30% white vinegar and use that. Your commercial options include products such as Simple Green’s House and Siding Cleaner and Wet & Forget Roof and Siding Cleaner.
Step 4: Test a Small Area Before Washing the House
Why do you need to test out a small area before cleaning the rest of the siding? Simply put, some detergents will discolor some siding, and some will even damage the siding. This doesn’t happen frequently but it does happen, so you’ll need to test your product out on a very small out-of-the-way section of siding before you go any further. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry!
Step 5: Start Working One Section at a Time
When cleaning your vinyl siding, it’s important to clean one small section at a time. For this task, you should use the black nozzle because it is specifically made for using soaps and detergents.
When using the pressure washer:
One of the reasons why you want to wash your siding in small sections is because larger sections take too long and can result in the soap drying on the vinyl before you’ve had a chance to rinse it away.
Some people have two pressure washers and use the second washer to rinse off the siding. If you do this, use a nozzle that is a bit stronger than the black one, which has a 65-degree angle. For plain water, choose either the 40-degree white nozzle or the 25-degree green nozzle because you’ll want a little more power when you’re spraying the siding with water.
Whatever you decide to use for the rinsing-off stage of this process, make sure that you have the tool close by because you’ll be switching back and forth frequently.
Step 6: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
As you’ve probably already guessed, you’ll just repeat this process over and over again until the entire house is completed. It may take a few hours if your house is small or all day if your house is quite large. Just keep in mind that you have to keep repeating the process until the entire house is completely clean and dry.
Don’t forget to rinse the siding with water before the soap has had a chance to dry. This is one of the most important tips when learning to clean your vinyl siding with a pressure washer. And don’t worry; it’s a lot easier and a lot faster than you might think.
Check our article comparing the best pressure washers for cleaning vinyl siding.
Some Important Tips to Remember About Cleaning Vinyl Siding
Cleaning vinyl siding with a pressure washer sure beats doing it with a brush and a bucket of water, but that doesn’t mean the process doesn’t have to be done a certain way. Following the steps mentioned above is a great place to start, but if you still don’t feel comfortable cleaning your siding yourself, here are a few other tips that might make it a little easier on you:
Why Use a Pressure Washer on Your Vinyl Siding?
As opposed to washing your vinyl siding “by hand,” using a pressure washer instead is hands-down the best solution. Using a pressure washer is not back-breaking and is easier for numerous reasons than using a bucket and a bristle brush.
If you’re still not convinced that using a pressure washer to clean vinyl siding is a good idea, here are three benefits that will convince you otherwise:
Using a pressure washer to clean your vinyl siding is a true miracle worker in many ways. Since you usually don’t have to climb ladders and you can use a variety of nozzles, it’s easy to make sure that you use the right pressure and the right materials to get the job done right. Unless you prefer to use over-the-counter detergent, you can simply add some mild soap or dishwashing detergent to the washer each time you clean your siding.
Pressure-washing your vinyl siding is cheap, efficient, fast, and simple, which are just some of the reasons for its popularity.
You might also like our article on cleaning aluminum siding.