Years ago, cleaning your vinyl siding was a time-consuming chore that involved ladders, buckets, lots of scrubbing and, perhaps, a few sore muscles.
Before you climb the first ladder rung, consider a safer, less hands-on approach.
There's an easier way to make your home look as good as you do. Simply use a pressure washer to blast away the layers of mold and muck.
Finding the Right Pressure Washer
Don't be intimidated by the power of a pressure washer. Pressure washers are easy to operate and provide significantly more pressure than your garden hose to give your home a complete cleaning.
Choosing the right pressure washer is easy. For one-story homes, an electric pressure washer packs enough punch to get the first floor sparkling.
For two-story homes, homeowners should consider a gas-powered pressure washer to reach high, hard-to-reach spots.
The Right Way to Handle It
Getting a pressure washer is only the first step. Follow these six additional tips for getting your vinyl siding to radiate cleanliness:
1. The Solution is the Solution
Don't forget to accessorize. Soap and water is always a better cleaning combination than water alone.
Most pressure washers come with an injector to mix cleaning solutions into the jet stream.
Only use solvents that say "approved for pressure washer use" on the label. Unapproved solvents may not be environmentally sound and could eat away at critical pressure washer components.
2. Stroke, Stroke, Stroke
Apply the soap mixture under low pressure with smooth, overlapping strokes. To prevent streaking, start from the bottom and work your way up. Pressure washing is a lot like painting. If you get "hose happy" and randomly spray everything, you're bound to miss a spot.
If you have a multi-story house, you should consider using Campbell Hausfeld's High-Pressure Soap Lance. Most pressure washers only spray soap under low pressure. The new lance sprays detergent up to 25 feet under high pressure.
3. Brush-Up on Your Touch-Ups
If your home hasn't been cleaned in a while, Use a rotating or utility brush to help loosen thick layers of dirt. The brush simply snaps to then end of the pressure washer wand. Best of all, it acts as a foaming brush, emitting a soapy solution as you clean.
4. Relax Before Rinsing
Why bother using a solution if you don't give it time to work? It's okay to allow the soap mixture to sit for five to 10 minutes, as long as it doesn't dry.
5. Test of Strength
Pressure washers are designed to pack a punch. If you start spraying too closely, you could damage, instead of clean, the area. Hold the wand a couple of feet from the surface and gradually move closer if additional cleaning power is needed.
6. Ready, Aim…
Be careful not to spray directly at eaves, vents or light fixtures. High water pressure can knock out loose windowpanes or break them. Also, keep the angle of the wand pointing down so you don't spray up under the laps of horizontal siding. This will prevent the vinyl siding from buckling under pressure. When rinsing, start at the top and work down to ensure the entire area is soap free.
Pressure washers are a blast to use. Best of all, they work extremely fast, so you can spend more time admiring your work than actually doing it. In addition, pressure washers have lots of other handy uses around the home - from stripping paint to cleaning your deck to scrubbing your sidewalks.