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Cleaning Vinyl Siding

Clean both easy-to-remove and tough stains from vinyl siding quickly and easily with these simple techniques.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Cleaning Vinyl Siding

Clean both easy-to-remove and tough stains from vinyl siding quickly and easily with these simple techniques.

Techniques for cleaning vinyl siding

Vinyl siding usually cleans up easily with nothing more than soap and water, and a yearly scrubbing will keep it looking new. For basic cleaning, use general-purpose cleaner mixed with warm water. Apply it with a soft-bristle cleaning brush, scrubbing the full length of each lap (Photo 1). Start at the bottom to avoid streaking, and use your garden hose to rinse off each section before it dries.

For tough spots like paint drips, tar, and pencil and pen marks, use a nonabrasive bathtub cleaner or nylon scrub pad (Photo 2). Use ammonia cleaners or a solution of 1 part bleach in 4 parts water to clean mold and mildew stains. (However, never mix ammonia and bleach.) Rinse thoroughly while the siding is still wet.

Don't use paint thinner, nail polish remover, spot removers, paint remover, straight chlorine bleach or furniture cleaner on vinyl. These types of cleaners can damage the surface of the siding.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Bucket

You'll also need a soft-bristle brush, sponge and a nylon scrub pad.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • General purpose cleaner
    • Non-abrasive bathtub cleaner
    • Ammonia

Comments from DIY Community Members

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ACK

March 29, 10:06 PM [GMT -5]

There is also a new product on line called the Siding-Swab. You order the cleaning pad to fit your exact siding profile. The pad comes with a plastic pad holder that screws onto a paint pole or extension pole. This thing works great! It gets rid of those spider nests under the laps of siding that brushes bridge over. They also make a pad that attaches to the same pad holder that is the same shape as your gutters called the Gutter-Swab.

Good Luck - These worked for me.

March 24, 2:48 AM [GMT -5]

"Start at the bottom to avoid streaking," ????
Everything else I've ever read on cleaning anything says "Start at the top to avoid streaking". If you start at the bottom, all the runoff from your work will run down over your previously-cleaned siding, and you'll need to keep rinsing like crazy to prevent its' drying there.

March 19, 9:31 PM [GMT -5]

Best method is to use oxygen bleach (Oxyclean). Most packages include outdoor cleaning instructions which are basically 1/4 scoop per gallon of water. Apply to dry surface with garden sprayer, brush lightgly, do not let dry and simply hose off after 15-20 minutes. It is also healthy for plants and grass (no wetting or covering required). I have used 30-Second Cleaner but oxygen bleach is even better without plant concerrns or stains.

March 04, 5:32 PM [GMT -5]

How about the grass and shrubs around the perimeter of the house being cleaned with detergents flowing over them? Probably act like Round Up.

December 28, 1:19 AM [GMT -5]

Hey great article, was a lot of help. Thank you.

June 20, 6:32 PM [GMT -5]

I've found a better product called 30-Second cleaner that is a lot less labor intensive. Spray it on with garden sprayer & rinse off with water with perhaps a minimum of scrubbing. It's basicly TSP & bleach but works great! Wet your plants down first though & don't wear anything you don't want bleach stained. Works with any type of siding, soffets & gutters.

June 20, 6:31 PM [GMT -5]

I've found a better product called 30-Second cleaner that is a lot less labor intensive. Spray it on with garden sprayer & rinse off with water with perhaps a minimum of scrubbing. It's basicly TSP & bleach but works great! Wet your plants down first though & don't wear anything you don't want bleach stained. Works with any type of siding, soffets & gutters.

April 30, 12:48 PM [GMT -5]

While sealing my redwood deck, I got some Tomkins Sealer on the vinyl siding. What is the best thing to get it off. Other wise, can I paint the siding??

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