How to Clean Vinyl Siding

By: Danny Lipford

Using a pump up sprayer to clean vinyl trim.

How do I clean vinyl siding, especially areas that have mildew or mold? -Elvin

Even though vinyl siding is a low maintenance material, it still needs cleaning from time to time to remove dirt and grime. In humid climates vinyl siding may also develop mold or mildew, which should be removed as well.

Cleaning instructions are usually available from the vinyl siding manufacturer, and are often found on the siding warranty. If instructions are not available, or you’re not sure what brand of siding you have, follow the procedure below to clean your vinyl siding.

Removing Dirt from Vinyl Siding

Hosing down vinyl siding with a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle or a pressure washer set on a medium spray pattern is often enough to remove dirt and grime. When hosing down or pressure washing vinyl siding:

  • Make sure the pressure washer spray pattern is wide enough to prevent damage to the siding, and keep the nozzle moving.
  • Start washing at the bottom and work your way up; then rinse from the top, working your way down.
  • To prevent water from running behind the siding, spray even with or down on the siding, and spray in the direction of the overlapped joints.

Cleaning Solution for Vinyl Siding

If the vinyl siding needs additional cleaning, add special cleaning solution to a pressure washer, or mix up the following in a bucket to use to clean by hand:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/3 cup powered laundry detergent
  • 2/3 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate) cleaner

Dip a long handled, soft bristle, car cleaning brush in the solution; and scrub the vinyl siding gently starting at the bottom and working your way up. Follow by rinsing off the cleaning solution with a garden hose, starting at the top and working your way down.

Removing Mold and Mildew from Vinyl Siding

To kill mold and mildew on vinyl siding, apply a mold and mildew remover, such as Wet & Forget Outdoor.

You can also use bleach to treat mold and mildew on vinyl siding by adding one quart of household bleach to each gallon of the cleaning solution above, then:

  1. Wet down any plants near the house, and/or cover them with plastic sheeting to prevent damage from bleach. Covering plants with plastic on a sunny day may cause damage from overheating, so remove the plastic as soon as possible.
  2. Use a pump up sprayer to wet the siding down with the diluted bleach/cleaning solution, working from bottom to top.
  3. Allow the bleach solution to remain on the siding for 10 minutes or so.
  4. Scrub the siding from bottom to top with a long handled, soft bristle brush.
  5. Rinse the bleach solution off the siding from top to bottom with a garden hose.

CAUTION: Wear rubber gloves, long sleeve shirt, long pants, and goggles when working with strong chemical cleaners such as TSP and bleach. Follow the instructions on cleaning products carefully. Do not mix bleach with cleaners that contain ammonia, vinegar, or any cleaner that says it should not be mixed with bleach, since it can cause a chemical reaction and release poisonous chlorine gas.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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13 Comments on “How to Clean Vinyl Siding”

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  • Ed Says:
    August 22nd, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I used Wet and Forget. It did nothing. I returned it. I bought a long handled auto brush. Mixed a small amount of bleach and liquid car soap with water. Dipped the brush in the water and cleaned the vinyl. Looks great and it wasn’t hard to do. Even the gutters came clean. I might recommend only doing the lower part of your house this way.



  • Marie Says:
    August 11th, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Is there a wax type substance to put on the siding once it’s cleaned?



  • Selena Crosby Says:
    August 4th, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    The folks who washed my house left bleach on to long & messed up the frame & screens. The first folks used the TCS that eat up the painted portions of my added on porch. Now I do it myself 2x’s a year with blue dawn dishing washing detergent. House is 1789 Sq. Ft. Built in 1992. Live in the South😎



  • Kody Loveless Says:
    July 8th, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Wow, I had no idea I could just use some powdered laundry detergent to wash the side of my house off. My son hit the side of my house with his big old lifted truck tire. It left a really nice black mark on my house. I will have to give this a try. If this does not work I will have someone come out and replace the panel.



  • Braden Bills Says:
    April 1st, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I really love my vinyl siding, but it’s gotten dirty. It’s so good to know that it’s pretty easy to take care of! That was one of the reasons I got this siding in the first place. Thank you for sharing!



  • CJKroll Says:
    August 24th, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Which “pump up sprayers” would you recommend or should I just invest in an electric power washer?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 19th, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Christine,
    Yes. Wet & Forget Outdoor is great for removing mold, mildew, and algae from any type of siding material, eaves, and trim, including vinyl.



  • Christine Shipley Says:
    August 18th, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Hello, can I use wet and forget on house covered with Vinyl Cladding that is getting mouldy in places. Thank you.


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 11th, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Phae,
    The exterior mold and mildew cleaner Danny talked about is called Wet & Forget. You can find out more at http://www.todayshomeowner.com/3-products-to-reduce-spring-maintenance-on-your-home/



  • phae Says:
    August 11th, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    looking for name of Mold and Mildew cleaner that is safe around dogs/plants for siding. All I recall is you said spray the home & let the rain wash it away. Please reply soon my home needs you!!!!!!!
    thank you for your time & show
    ~Phae


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Imogene,
    You almost had it right, it’s called Wet & Forget, and it’s safe for plants. You can find out more at http://www.wetandforget.com



  • Imogene Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Watching on channel 36 Charlotte, NC, Danny was talking about a spray cleaner you just spray on vinyl siding and let it set but I forgot or did not get the name of the product he was talking about. Does this product damage plants? Thanks,



  • SHIRLEY KEPPY Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    PLEASE TELL ME HOW I CAN CLEAN MY WHITE GUTTERS WITH A HOSE. I HAVE A HIP ROOF, SO FOUR SIDES. THEY ARE REALLY DIRTY. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP


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