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How to Clean Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer: 4 Expert Tips

Power washing. House wall vinyl siding cleaning with high pressure water jet

Vinyl siding is popular for many homeowners, but not everyone knows the best way to clean it. A scrub brush works fine, but a pressure washer is better. But before you just grab yours and go crazy on the side of your house, let’s go over some basic tips. It’s nothing too complicated, but a firm command of the basics will have your exterior walls sparkling clean in no time. Let’s dive in below.

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The 4 Tips on How to Clean Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer

1. Get Prepared

person using air compressor as pressure washer
Image Credit: Media Whalestock, Shutterstock

You’ll have to get all your gear together first. Pressure washers require you to use hoses, an extension wand, and most importantly, detergent. If your pressure washer doesn’t have an integrated detergent tank, get one. They will make your life a lot easier.

Detergent doesn’t necessarily mean a specific brand, and detergent will determine how clean your siding gets, so don’t be afraid to fill up your tank and use it liberally. Good detergents include water and vinegar solutions, oxygen bleach cleaner, or Simple Green cleaner.

Vinegar is a plentiful and effective household cleaner, oxygen bleach is ideal for heavy muck, and Simple Green is well-known as tough enough for any grime. Use any of these, but don’t mix cleaners at the same time. Fully empty out the tank when you switch cleaners as well.

2. Pre-Soak the Area

The key to an effective pressure-washing technique is letting the area pre-soak beforehand. Use your widest nozzle to dispense a liberal amount of soapy water over your siding before cleaning and allow this to sit for 5–10 minutes. Keep it wet if you notice spots drying–this is especially bad in sunny climates.

Lastly, make sure you clear the area of any lawn furniture, children’s toys, or other obstructions. Pressure washers are hard to stop on a dime, so clear a path before you start for the best results.

3. Soak Methodically

Man using a high-pressure nozzle spray to clean the house
Image Credit By: ANNVIPS, Shutterstock

First, always keep your nozzle angle pointed downward. Using long, even horizontal strokes, start at one end of your siding and work your way all the way to its end. Try not to stop in the middle, because that wastes time.

Use slightly overlapping strokes, because unsightly overlap marks are the last thing you want after your new pressure-washing job. Rotating brush attachments are very useful for loosening caked-on mud or other grime, but you shouldn’t need anything fancy for regular vinyl.

Start from a distance and approach your siding slowly, noting its appearance as you blast it clean. Be especially careful not to blast at any eaves, vents, or slats in the siding as you go.  That could cause mold to grow underneath, so we’d suggest removing the siding that gets water behind it. It’s a drag to remove, but worth getting rid of toxic mold.

4. Rinse the Area

All the little bubbles are exciting, but a good soak requires a good rinse. Rinsing only requires a general-purpose, 20-degree nozzle, so switch out your high-powered nozzle now.

Using long, sweeping motions, create a curtain of water all along the top of your siding. Do this multiple times if you wish, but note the soap washing away as you go. When the soap bubbles are completely washed away and there are no more visible dirt spots, you’re done!

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Vinyl siding can get dirtied with mud and all kinds of outdoor residue, but pressure washers are a quick and easy fix. The secret to effective pressure washing is a generous application of soap because that’s largely what loosens the tough dirt on your siding.

Featured Image Credit: Irina Mos, Shutterstock


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