How to Clean Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer
Vinyl siding is a popular choice for home exterior in the US, and many people wonder if they can use their pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding on their homes. It is true that with time, vinyl siding can accumulate dirt, dust, grime, and spider webs. Cleaning these with a pressure washer is easy, but you need to be careful and prepare in advance before you start cleaning the siding with a pressure washer.
If you are not careful, you might end up damaging the siding of your house or injuring yourself in the process. In this article, we are going to take a look at how you can safely clean the vinyl siding on your house with a pressure washer, the precautions you should follow, and the frequently asked questions by users.
How to Clean Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer
Users are often confused about cleaning vinyl siding with a pressure washer because, on the surface, it seems like the high pressure from the washer can damage the siding. The solution here is to always use a low-pressure setting on the pressure washer to prevent any damage to the siding. Other factors include using the right chemicals for washing, appropriate accessories, and method of cleaning. Let’s take a look at these factors.
1) Prepare the Area – Check the area that you are planning to pressure wash. Make sure there are no cracks in the vinyl siding. If there are any windows in the siding, close them so that water does not enter through the windows.
Switch off any electrical connections to prevent the risk of damaging the electronics. If there are plants near the siding, it’s a good idea to water them before starting the cleaning so that the soil can absorb any additional chemicals in the water.
2) Choose the Right Pressure Washer Settings – For pressure washing vinyl sidings, it’s the best idea to use a gas-powered pressure washer with at least 2.3 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) and 1300-1600 PSI. When you choose the pressure washer settings, select a small area to do a test spray, and check if it is ideal settings for the type of vinyl siding you have in your house. As a rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to choose a lower PSI setting for washing vinyl siding as it is the GPM that helps to clean the dirt off the siding.
3) Use a Suitable Detergent – While vinyl siding is strong enough, one should not use any industrial strength cleaning agents. Only use the detergents that are recommended for pressure washing vinyl siding. It would help if you also looked for environment-friendly detergents that do not damage the environment.
4) Apply the Soap – Soap application is a tricky part as you should not be haphazard with spraying the soap on the siding. It is best practice to start from the bottom and go towards the top in broad strokes of the pressure washer.
You can also use an extension attachment with the nozzle if you are spraying siding that goes up till the second floor. If there are tough stains on the siding, consider using a brush attachment to rub the soap on the troubling areas.
5) Rinse off the Soap – Once you have applied the soap, let it remain on the siding for 15-20 minutes, depending on the amount of dirt that’s on the vinyl. Keep the pressure washer wand at least a foot away from the siding while washing the vinyl and wash it top to bottom.
Make sure you don’t spray the water into the space between the sidings as it can damage the insulation inside the house. Keep the wand perpendicular to the surface while washing off the soap.
Precautions to Follow While Cleaning Vinyl Siding with a Pressure Washer
Cleaning the vinyl siding with a pressure washer is not as simple as it seems. There are several precautions that you need to follow to safely and efficiently clean the siding. Let’s take a look at some of these precautions.
1) Use Protective Gear – Make sure you are wearing protective gear like eye protection, gloves, and closed-toed footwear. Spray from the pressure washer can cause serious injuries, so you need to be careful while handling the pressure washer. Never point the pressure washer at someone or your own hands or feet.
2) Avoid Ladders – It can be tempting to use a ladder to reach the higher areas on the house. But the pressure from the pressure washer can knock down the ladder or imbalance it while you are on it. It is best to avoid ladders, and you can get an extension wand to reach the higher places.
3) Avoid Using Abrasive Detergents – Cleaning vinyl siding means you should get a detergent that is suitable for cleaning the same. Getting any other soap with strong chemicals in it can damage the siding, and it might also be harmful to your health.
4) Keep an Eye on the Weather – When you plan to clean the siding, choose a day when there is no rain or heavy wind forecast. Also, clean the side of the house that does not get sunlight as exposure to sunlight can dry the soap solution on the siding. Let the vinyl siding air dry once you are done washing the soap away.
If you are new to pressure washing vinyl siding, you might have some questions. Let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions.
Ans. It would help if you washed the vinyl siding once every two years, but in case you are living in a cold climate region, you might need to clean the siding once a year. The cold climate and wet surroundings can lead to the growth of mold and mildew that need regular cleaning to make your house look good.
Ans. If your house was built pre-1978, there might be lead in the paint on the walls, and cleaning it with a pressure washer can disturb the paint on the walls. Also, some pre-1970 homes have asbestos blocks at their foundations, and disturbing these with a pressure washer can be harmful to your health. You should consider calling the local municipality to get professional help for cleaning the house if your house is very old.
Ans. If you have a one-story house, an electric power washer should be enough to clean everything. But if you are cleaning a double story house that has a large area that needs cleaning, it’s a good idea to get a gas-powered pressure washer.
Ans. Avoid using any strong detergents as these can damage the vinyl siding or even create trouble in the operation of the pressure washer. Look for pressure washer specific detergents that are ideal for cleaning vinyl siding. It is always a good idea to go with an environment-friendly detergent. Look for soaps with the label that says ‘approved for pressure washers.’
Ans. Avoid using a ladder as the pressure from the washer can cause you to lose your balance while you are on the ladder. You can use an extension wand or a platform vehicle to reach the higher areas for cleaning them properly.
A pressure washer is the best choice for cleaning up a vinyl siding as long as you follow precautions and all the steps needed for a complete cleaning of the siding. Make sure you choose the right kind of pressure washer and start at low pressure. It is always a good idea to test the pressure washer on a small area to see if it might cause any damage to the siding.
If you have any doubts about using a pressure washer, get in touch with your local cleaning professionals for assistance. This article is only meant as a guideline, and you should follow your discretion and judgment when using a pressure washer.
If you have any doubts, get in touch with us through the comment section, and our team will answer your question at the earliest.