Even low-maintenance vinyl siding requires a good cleaning at least once a year, more often if you live by a busy road or an open, dusty field. Develop a plan of action using a pressure washer to clean the exterior of your entire home in just one day.
Before using the pressure washer, take a quick walk around the house to make sure that the siding is all intact and no pieces of vinyl have become loose. Check for cracks in the siding that water might penetrate and identify how the lengths of siding on long walls overlap. Make sure all of your windows are shut and check to see that caulking and glazing on those windows is in good condition so that water doesn’t seep in.
Pour multi-use soap that is formulated for pressure washers into the reservoir. Check the packaging to make sure the soap is safe for siding, windows and sidewalks.
Install the soap tip to the end of your pressure washing wand. The soap tip provides a lower pressure blast at a wider angle (60-degrees), which will allow the volume of soap to be distributed with wider coverage across the vinyl siding.
Turn on the pressure washer. As you begin to initiate the wand, avoid pointing up and refrain from directing the spray where the vinyl lengths overlap. If you stream water upwards or between the laps in siding, the water is likely to force behind the vinyl panels, penetrating the insulation. It is best to use a tall ladder when spraying. If water is trapped behind the siding, it doesn’t dry easily and leads to water damage. The same can be said when you target the spray into corners, be wary of how the water is impacting the crevices where the boards end. These areas will still get misted by off-spray as you clean surrounding areas, but plan to wipe them clean with a dry towel.
Use the soapy spray to cover the vinyl siding, keeping the tip of the wand at a 45-degree angle to the window and trim. Aiming the wand at that angle will help to lift and remove dirt from beneath more effectively than blasting it straight on.
You will find that the soap may run low every few minutes. Keep an eye on its level so that you can turn off the pressure washer and refill periodically as you make your way around the perimeter of your home. Use the depleted reservoir on as an opportunity to switch nozzle tips (refer to step 5) and rinse the area that you just applied soap to before the soap dries on the siding.
Turn off the pressure washer, and switch the tip on the wand to a general-use tip. A tip that delivers a 15-20 degree angle will provide a stronger pressure stream to effectively remove soap on the surface and dirt that has been loosened by the soap. Follow the same spray technique. Be careful not to blast upwards against the vinyl or into the corners, now that the pressure is stronger, the washer can do more damage.
Use a dry towel to wipe down residue on the inner and outer corners of the siding. This also helps to absorb extra moisture in those sensitive areas that are more susceptible to water damage.