Best Practices For Power Washing Your Home’s Exterior
Most people can recognize when their vinyl siding needs to be cleaned, but few people know exactly when and how to clean vinyl siding properly. Unless you live in an area with poor air quality or that has an abundance of dirt roads, you should clean your vinyl siding once every other year. If you live where the siding is prone to get dirtier, it’s best to do the pressure washing annually. With modern electric and gas-fueled pressure washers, it is possible to clean an entire house in one day. With sufficient planning and supplies, you can have your whole house sparkling clean for less than $300.
Safety is the most important consideration when cleaning your vinyl siding yourself. Wear protective gear such as goggles to protect your eyes, use earplugs especially if you use a gas-powered pressure washer. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning solution you’ll use. Make sure your ladder is sturdy.
Your safety concerns extend also to the condition of your home exterior before washing as well. Before washing the house, inspect the siding. Check for cracks and loose patches. Unplug any electrical components and cover the outlets with plastic that’s been secured with waterproof tape. Make sure all windows are closed. To ensure the health of any plants growing around the house, trim away parts of the plant that touch the house and water them before you cover with a tarp. Soaking the soil will dilute chemicals that may be absorbed. Covering them with a tarp will prevent soap splatter on your plants.
Next, make sure that your outdoor furniture, lawn decorations, and grill are out of the way. If you can store them somewhere else on cleaning day, that would be best. Otherwise be sure to cover them with a tarp to prevent damage.
Before you begin the pressure wash, you’ll want to remove the mold by hand using a bleach solution made up of one part bleach to ten parts water. Put the solution in a spray bottle. Spray where the mold and other dirt buildup is heaviest. Allow this to sit for a minute or two before wiping with a soft cloth or sponge.
Now it’s time to put the cleansing solution into the pressure washer according to manufacturer’s instructions, attach to your garden hose and powerwash your home exterior. Start off on the lowest pressure settings and increase pressure gradually. Always keep the nozzle pointing straight ahead or slightly downward. Avoid high pressure on windows or exterior vents. If using an electric pressure washer, make sure the cord remains dry and out of the way. If using a gas pressure washer, point exhaust away from vents.
Wash your vinyl siding in sections. Let the soap sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with your brush. Do not let the soap dry as it will leave streaks. You can use brushes with extendable handles for two-story houses. You can always rewet a surface if you let the soap sit too long. After you have cleaned a section, empty the pressure washer. Be sure to rinse any leftover soap residue out of the pressure washer. Fill with clean clear water and rinse the section off. Dry with towels before moving on to the next section until the entire house is finished.
Pressure washing your vinyl siding is best done when the weather turns warm. It is best to do it on a dry day. Pressure washers can be rented from home and garden stores or make a great investment for any homeowner. Cleaning your vinyl siding is a home maintenance chore that can be done yourself. With the right preparation, it can also be a pleasant experience as well.