Vinyl Siding Cleaning and Maintenance Guide


Vinyl siding is durable, attractive, and easy to maintain. Like any outdoor product, however, even low-maintenance vinyl siding will need attention from time to time. Don't worry! Simply follow the cleaning and maintenance tips in this brochure and your vinyl siding will always look its best.

CLEANING

How do I wash vinyl siding?

Wash vinyl siding with a soft cloth or ordinary long-handled, soft bristle brush. For textured surfaces, use only a soft bristle brush to avoid smearing stains into the grooves of the texture. To prevent streaking from soap and water running down the house during cleaning, start at the bottom of the house and work up. Rinse the cleaning solution with water before it dries. If your house has brick facing, cover the brick so that it is not affected by the runoff.

Can I use a power washer?

Yes, though you should read the washer instructions thoroughly before use. When cleaning, hold the power washer straight at eye level. Do not aim the power washer upward, as the water may collect behind the siding, leak later, and produce streaks or could remain and cause decay.

How do I remove mold and mildew?

Small spots of mold and mildew can be handled with cleaners such as Fantastik® or Windex®. For larger sections, a solution of vinegar (30%) and water (70%) has proven successful. Alternatively, you also could try the following solution: 1/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) powdered laundry detergent (e.g., Tide®, Fab®, or equivalent), 2/3 cup (5 1/3 ounces) powdered household cleaner (e.g., Spic & Span®, Soilax®, or equivalent), 1 quart (32 fluid ounces) liquid laundry bleach, and 1 gallon (128 fluid ounces) of water.

What types of cleaners should I use for other stains?

A list of commonly accepted cleaners is provided in the box below. Be sure to spot check any general or stain specific cleaner before using it on a large section of siding. After removing the stain, rinse thoroughly with water. Do not use cleaners containing organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners. They can affect the surface of the siding.

Vinyl Siding Cleaners

General cleaners (e.g., Simple Green®, Nice & Easy®, Armor All®, etc.) can be used to clean dirt, bird droppings, and spider webs. Stain-specific cleaners are listed below. Rinse all cleaners with water before they dry.

Stain Cleaners*

  • Bubble Gum Fantastik®, Murphy Oil Soap®, solution of vinegar (30%), water (70%) and Windex®
  • Crayon Lestoil®
  • DAP (oil-based caulk) Fantastik®
  • Felt-tip Pen Fantastik®, water-based cleaners
  • Grass Fantastik®, Lysol®, Murphy Oil Soap®, Windex®
  • Lithium (car) Grease Fantastik®, Lestoil®, Murphy Oil Soap®, Windex®
  • Motor Oil Fantastik®, Lysol®, Murphy Oil Soap®, Windex®
  • Paint Brillo® Pad, Soft Scrub®
  • Pencil Soft Scrub®
  • Rust Fantastik®, Murphy Oil Soap®, Windex®
  • Tar Soft Scrub®
  • Top Soil Fantastik®, Lestoil®, Murphy Oil Soap®
*Cleaning Materials are listed in alphabetical order. *SPI nor VSI do not endorse products or processes and makes no warranties for the products referenced herein. Reference to proprietary names is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to imply that there are not equally effective alternatives.

MAINTENANCE

How can I protect vinyl siding from discoloration?

Cover vinyl siding when using stains, sealants, and wet concrete as part of home renovation projects. To avoid potential staining from insecticides or herbicides, consult the product labels and/or the insecticide or herbicide manufacturer before applying.

How does heat affect vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding is made from organic materials and will melt or burn when exposed to a significant heat source. Home and building owners should always take precautions to keep fire sources (e.g., barbeque grills) and combustible materials (e.g., dry leaves, mulch, trash) away from vinyl siding.

How does reflected light affect vinyl siding?

The typical heat distortion temperature of vinyl siding is approximately 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures reach these levels, the siding is likely to distort. Reflected or radiated heat sources include windows, roofing, pavement, and certain underlayments. Installing screens and awnings and planting bushes or other landscaping can alleviate reflections or radiation.

What should I do if a panel is damaged?

If a vinyl siding panel is permanently stained or otherwise damaged, it is easily replaceable. Place an "unlocking" tool behind the bottom of the panel above the panel to be replaced and unzip it from the lock of the damaged panel. Gently bend out the upper panel and remove the nails from the damaged panel. Remove the damaged panel. Lock on the new panel and nail it up. Use the unlocking tool again to zip the upper panel over the lock on the new panel. Consult the Vinyl Siding Installation How-To Guide for further instruction.

Can paint vinyl siding?

Consult with your vinyl siding manufacturer before painting vinyl siding. Many manufacturers void their warranties if the siding is painted.

What kind of vinyl siding should I use if I'm planning to reside my home?

There are many different shapes, colors, and textures of vinyl siding. While VSI does not recommend any one type or brand, it does sponsor the VSI Vinyl Siding Certification Program, which helps ensure the quality of vinyl siding through a third-party inspection process. Vinyl siding certified through VSI's program carries a special logo on its packaging that means it has been independently verified to meet or exceed the industry standard for quality. For more information about which brands of vinyl siding are certified, click here for our searchable database of certified products. (Learn more from the Vinyl Siding Institute)

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