Power Washing: Have you been noticing streaks, mildew, stains and dirt building up on your vinyl siding? It may be time for a comprehensive cleaning, which comes in the form of power washing. But before you go guns blazing at the side of your house, you must prepare and do your homework on technique, or risk serious damage to the material.
Check out these six tips for power washing your vinyl siding. This will save you energy, help you stay safe and allow you to finish in half the time. Of course, it’s always best to hire a professional to do this for optimal results.
1. Use an Approved Pressure Washer Detergent
While soap and water is OK to use, you may want to pick up an approved pressure washer detergent for the best clean. Your power washing machines likely comes with injectors that mix cleaning solutions into the jet stream. When scanning labels, be on the lookout for solvents that say “approved for pressure washer use.” Using unapproved solvents means they’re not necessarily environmentally friendly and can damage important components.
2. Apply the Detergent Solution
Start from the bottom and work your way up so as not to leave streaks. Use a low pressure, then apply the soap mixture with smooth, overlapping strokes to ensure you don’t miss a spot.
3. Use a Brush for Those Tough Spots
Been a while since your home has been cleaned? Use a utility or rotating brush to loosen up the dirt layers. Simply snap the brush on the end of the pressure washer wand. This foaming brush will spray a continuous soapy solution as you go about your cleaning.
4. Set Before Rinsing
After you have cleaned the siding, let the solution sit for 10 minutes or so while it breaks down the grime and mildew. On a sunny day, make sure the solution doesn’t dry on the siding. This will render it less effective and will leave marks.
5. Spray at a Distance
Keep your distance and start with a low-pressure spray. If you start too close or too strong, you can damage the siding or get water into the walls, which leads to mold. Start off by holding the wand five feet from the surface. If necessary, you can gradually move closer for more cleaning power.
Start at the top and work down so you know the whole area is soap-free. When rinsing off the solution, don’t directly aim at eaves, vents or light fixtures, as high water pressure can break windowpanes and other delicate fixtures. Make sure the angle of the wand stays pointing down so water doesn’t get under the laps of your horizontal siding.