How to Clean Vinyl Siding With Just 2 Ingredients

You probably don’t even need a trip to the store

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated June 6, 2022
vinyl single family house
Photo: qingwa / Adobe Stock
Difficulty

Simple

Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

4 hours

2–4 hours, depending on the size of your home, how dirty your siding is, and how quickly you work.

Cost

$0–$75

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Soft-bristled brush(es)
  • Soft, microfiber cloth(s) (optional)
  • Sponge (optional)
  • Broom (optional)
  • Ladder
  • Bucket
  • Garden hose

SUPPLIES

  • White vinegar
  • Water

Your vinyl siding is a huge component of your home’s exterior, so if it’s looking a bit worse for wear, it’s hard not to notice it. Luckily, you only need to follow a few steps to get your siding looking fresh and new again. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about sprucing up your vinyl siding using just a few household ingredients.

Prepping to Clean Vinyl Siding

You’ll need a decent amount of time and elbow grease to clean your vinyl siding, but you can typically tackle the project yourself. Just keep in mind that you will probably need to get up on a ladder to access the highest points of siding on your home. Make sure you feel comfortable and capable before deciding that this project is for you, and always follow ladder safety tips.

While we’re sharing a white vinegar and water mixture to clean your siding, you may find that you need something tougher if your siding has mold and mildew staining. There are plenty of siding cleaners and general household cleaners at your local hardware store that can help. However, you should never mix cleaners, and you should always perform a patch test before getting started.

3 Steps to Clean Your Vinyl Siding

  1. Make Your Vinyl Siding Wash

    Make an ultra-simple cleaning solution using 70% water paired with 30% white vinegar. If you're mixing the solution in a bucket, consider getting a secondary bucket or container that's lightweight enough for you to hold while cleaning. Always make sure your ladder is anchored properly before starting and that you work with a partner.

  2. Wash Your Siding

    man washing vinyl siding of house with brush
    Photo: gmcgill / Adobe Stock

    It's time to get out your soft-bristled brush to get to work. Be sure that your brush isn't too abrasive. You can always opt for a soft cloth or sponge if you're overly concerned about scraping your siding. If you need to reach some areas you can’t access by hand, consider using a broom that lets you extend your reach to tough points.

    The best way to wash vinyl siding properly is to start at the top of each shingle to push dirt downward. When you start from the bottom, you're actually pushing dirt down on newly cleaned shingles with every new shingle you clean. Moving along the entire length of each vinyl shingle in one direction will allow you to cover the entire length of your home.

    While you're wiping down your vinyl siding, use the opportunity to look for any holes or rips that might need attention. It's relatively inexpensive to hire a professional to repair holes in vinyl siding, which can help preserve your vinyl siding lifespan.

  3. Rinse Your Siding as You Go

    power washing vinyl siding
    Photo: volgariver / Adobe Stock

    Try to be quick with rinsing, as this will ensure that you can get rid of any dirt or debris loosened up on your vinyl without worrying that everything will dry up in the sun.

    The best way to rinse your vinyl siding is to use your garden hose. Rinse each section as you go while the siding is still wet from your cleaning solution.

DIY Vinyl Siding Cleaning vs. Hiring a Pro

Washing your own vinyl siding isn't out of the question if you have a free afternoon. However, factor in things like your desire to do this project, how comfortable you feel climbing up to access all of your siding, and the condition of your vinyl siding.

If you're curious about different cleaning solutions, consider reaching out to a local pro to inquire about the methods they can offer. Options include detergent or oxygen bleach cleaners, biodegradable cleaners, and pressure washing. 

Washing your vinyl siding on your own with some basic household cleaning items is practically free, compared to the $300 to $600 cost to hire a pro. However, the intense effort required may inspire you to treat yourself to some free time by hiring alocal vinyl siding cleaning service.

Additional Questions

Can you use bleach on vinyl siding?

Bleach can be an option if you want to kill mold and mildew clinging to your siding. However, you must water bleach down to the right concentration of a 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water to avoid damaging your siding. Bleach can also harm plants in your yard and isn’t safe to use near pets, so employ it with caution.

Local pressure washing services often offer non-bleach options that can powerfully remove mold and mildew.

Can you use dish soap to clean vinyl siding?

Yes, you can mix dish soap with warm water to clean vinyl siding. Use a ratio of 1:10 cleaning solution to water for best results. Again, just be sure you don’t mix it with any other cleaners, including bleach. 

Is pressure washing the best way to clean vinyl siding?

Not always. The answer depends on your specific vinyl siding product. While some manufacturers advise against pressure washing, others recommend pressure washing as long as pressure is kept below a certain threshold.

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