How to clean vinyl siding – remove mold stains and dirt without a pressure washer

Clean vinyl siding using vinegar, dish soap, bleach and more to remove tough mold stains and dirt. Plus, the real reason why pressure washing isn't a good move

light colored vinyl siding
(Image credit: Photo by Keagan Henman on Unsplash)

There are lots of pros to having vinyl siding for your home's exterior. It's inexpensive, easy to install, doesn't require painting – with no risk of stripping either as the color is baked in and 100 per cent homogenous – and finally, it's easy to maintain. You can clean vinyl siding with just a couple of household ingredients like dish soap and water. For a more thorough clean, you can turn to bleach and for a more natural clean, some even choose vinegar.

  • Visit our guide on siding, cladding and render for more information on the best exterior materials for your home.

Whether you have colored or wood imitation vinyl siding installed, it's smooth surface means that it shouldn't get that dirty and stained in the first place. It's worth cleaning yours when it needs it anyhow. And, only a little scrubbing will be required.

We spoke to Gregg Hicks, VP of Modernize on the problems you can face with vinyl siding. 'Over time and through repeated changes in weather, vinyl siding can attract and develop mold or mildew spots—especially in north-facing and other shaded areas.' Store bought cleaners such as Windex will usually do the job for these kinds of stubborn spots, but if you want to make your own chemical-free solution, you can use a natural mixture of vinegar and water.'

How to clean vinyl siding

The solution to clean vinyl siding with is very simple. You'll need:

  • Dish soap/dawn
  • A bucket of warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush/sponge
  • A garden hose

Apply the solution to the siding with a soft-bristled, clean brush and starting from the bottom up, scrubbing the entire length of each section. Hicks says 'For best results, use a cloth or soft bristled brush and start from the bottom so your cleaning solution doesn’t leave streaks or drip off the side of the house. ' When you reach the end of each lap, hose it down before it dries naturally as this will help stop it streaking.

clean vinyl siding: brick red and yellow ochre

(Image credit: Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash)
  • Vinyl siding is a durable form of plastic, learn how to clean and polish plastic in other areas of your home with our guide.

How to clean vinyl siding with vinegar

Using white vinegar to clean vinyl siding is a safe and effective way to help lift stains too. Mix 3 parts water with 2 parts white vinegar and apply this with a sponge to scrub off mold and mildew especially.

How to clean vinyl siding with bleach

If natural cleaning agents aren't cutting through the stains you can mix one cup bleach with a gallon of water and use this as your cleaning agent. 

Hicks recommends, 'If neither of these options works, try making your own concoction from other commonly found household cleaners.' Use:

  • 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
  • 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner
  • 1 quart liquid laundry bleach
  • 1 gallon of water

'For best results, use a cloth or soft bristled brush and start from the bottom so your cleaning solution doesn’t leave streaks or drip off the side of the house.' Says Hicks and please ensure you wear gloves when handling bleach and other strong cleaning detergents.

clean vinyl siding: shadows on fold

(Image credit: Photo by Çınar Kurtoğlu on Unsplash)

Is it OK to power wash vinyl siding?

There are mixed reviews but most vinyl siding manufacturers don't recommend it as too much pressure can damage the material, and water is more likely to penetrate behind the siding which could lead to serious damp issues. 

If you want to clean vinyl siding with a pressure washer, ensure it's on the lowest option possible and use it at eye level rather than on a slant which could propel water behind the siding leading to damp and rot issues later down the line.

What not to do when cleaning vinyl siding

  • Using undiluted and un-targeted products: Organic solvents or undiluted chlorine bleach, and furniture polishers can damage the surface so best be avoided.
  • Abrasive scrubbers: The likes of steel wool can scratch and cause damage when cleaning vinyl siding. Soft bristles + elbow grease is the answer.
  • Too strong pressure washing: As mentioned, opt for the garden hose instead but if you must use your pressure washer, keep it to a minimum strenth.
  • Not cleaning with care: Go carefully around windows, doors, any dryer vents and more openings so that water doesn't go where it shouldn't.

Our favorite cleaning agent for siding

Shop Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar -1 Gallon Bottle (Pack of 2) with By The Cup Swivel Spoons

A must for natural cleaning around the houseView Deal

Happy vinyl siding cleaning!

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Camille Dubuis-Welch

Camille is Digital Editor at Realhomes.com and joined the team in January 2020. As an interior design aficionado, when she’s not developing evergreen content and furiously researching keywords, she is most definitely finding new ways to spruce up her rented space, usually involving a houseplant or two. She loves the challenge that comes with making a room look stylish and feel homely, and her ultimate goal is to renovate the house of dreams, somewhere marvellously sunny with a wild and lavish garden, of course.