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Cleaning Vinyl Siding...The Easy Way

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by boatboy63, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. boatboy63

    boatboy63 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
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    Northeastern TN
    Guys, just wanted to share something with all of you. It is very seldom you come across something so easy and you just have to share it. We just cleaned siding on a doublewide trailer and our house. I have a commercial Hotsy pressure washer and tried with just cold water. It was very slow and was still leaving an embedded film. I started wondering about bleach and went to Google to see what the concensus was.

    After searching, I found that vinyl siding will not fade with bleach as the color is made into the material. I found a recipe of mixing 1 gallon of bleach with 4 gallons of water and adding a couple tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Being cautious of this, I mixed up a small mixture in a 1 quart spray bottle. I sprayed this on the siding in a few small areas and waited about 5 minutes and rinsed with a water hose. I was truly amazed. After about 1 minute of spraying it on, the mold/stain disappeared before even rinsing. I didn't even have to try to rinse the siding before spraying.

    My next question was how to apply this to large areas without having to use a trigger spray bottle. I got my 12 volt sprayer out that we use to kill weeds around the farm. This sprayer has a 12 volt (car battery) pump motor and uses a 16 gallon plastic reservoir along with an adjustable wand you can change from a pinpoint spray to a fine mist. I put 2) 1.5 gallon jugs of Walmart brand bleach ($3 each) and about 4 ounces of off brand dishwashing liquid into reservoir and then filled the rest with water. I adjusted sprayer to a mist and started applying to the bottom of the siding and worked my way up. Make sure to spray from the bottom upwards at about a 45 degree angle. This will get under the bottom of the siding where it overlaps. I had the sprayer on my tractor and would do about a 15' section and move the tractor up to the next section. Within a minute or so, the mold would disappear and it looked remarkable. I applied the bleach solution and then my daughter simply came along about 5 minutes behind me and rinsed the siding with a regular garden hose/spray nozzle. We occasionally found a spot that was missed and could be spot sprayed over with the spray bottle.

    The doublewide is a 28x64 and was done in about 2-3 hours. I ended up refilling tank once to finish. I figure I had around $13 in the bleach and detergent. Wife nearly cussed me out as she last cleaned it 2 years ago by using a long handled scrub brush, water hose, and bucket with detergent. She spent all day doing it and complained the next day over how sore her muscles were. She couldn't believe the trick that I came up with. The next day, wife and daughter did our 3500 square foot, 2 story house in about 4-5 hours. I think I got them motivated. Even a neighbor came up and asked what we were using since it was cleaning so well and going so fast. I will caution about painted surfaces. The doublewide has painted shutters and the paint did seem to appear somewhat faded. Of course, they haven't been painted in over 10 years so that could have been part of the problem. I think the solution could have been cut back to 2 gallons of bleach in the 16 gallon sprayer and still been effective. Good luck and happy cleaning.

    If you don't have a sprayer as I mentioned above, it would probably be worth your time and money to buy one. If you are like me, you could easily justify (wife's approval) spending less than $150 and have it for other projects. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200347989_200347989
    Dtunes likes this.

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  2. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Make sure to throughly rinse all sprayer parts. Bleach is a great thing but it is very corrosive and will ruin a sprayer if even allowed to sit overnight.
  3. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    If you have a heavy rain in the forecast, you can skip the rinse step too.
  4. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Cool. Thanks for sharing the info. boatboy63! I have some siding I need to clean and will give this a try. Learn something new everyday.
  5. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I use a little stronger mix for the deck cleaner, beats 25 dollars for 2 gallons at Lowes
  6. boatboy63

    boatboy63 Member

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    Loc:
    Northeastern TN
    Even though not rinsing probably wouldn't hurt, I would go ahead and rinse anyway. I had this debate with my wife and my theory is that the rain will not get to the areas directly under the soffit and facia and I wouldn't want to leave it on any painted surfaces either.
  7. boatboy63

    boatboy63 Member

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    Let me know how it works out for you. I think you will be amazed when you see the results.
  8. Lighting Up

    Lighting Up Feeling the Heat

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    Roc City NY
    Works good on Roofs with moss growing too...Just remember to watch out for your plants and lawn it will burn them...
    md
  9. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    We live on the south shore of a lake & get almost NO sun on the lakeside. The original house had gray vinyl siding on it & the green mildew from dampness & lack of sun made it look awful. When we tore that siding off & raised the roof, we went with green siding, & eliminated most of the need for cleaning. You can't tell that there's any there most of the time. When it does show up, I do the same as the OP & just mix one part bleach to 3 parts water in an old 409 spray bottle. Works just fine. Cleans the pressure treated wood on the deck as well...
  10. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Northern CT
    I'm adding my thanks for this formula. I made up a small batch to try, and forgot to cut the amount of dish soap. This batch worked better than the next batch I made with the reduced soap. Both batches worked well, and my shed and garage doors look like new! I hadn't realized how nasty they really were!
    Thanks, boatboy63!

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