Cleaning Vinyl Siding

Techniques for cleaning tough-to-remove stains on vinyl siding, trim and gutters

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

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.

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

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