Good siding can go a long way toward making your home look beautiful. For a lot of
homeowners, they discover only one big drawback to having siding on their homes: it
needs to be cleaned to keep it looking its best. Depending on the color of your siding,
you may notice dirty streaks, dusty discoloration, and possibly even green tints from
algae or mildew that will need to come off in order to restore your siding’s beauty.
Fortunately, cleaning siding usually isn’t too difficult, provided you have the right tools
for the job. In this case, the right tool is typically a pressure washer. This can make
short work of cleaning your siding, though it’s important that you understand how a
pressure washer works and what you should and shouldn’t use one on. With a little
caution, though, you’ll have your siding restored to its original beauty in no time.
Pressure Washing 101
Pressure washing isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of preparation and care. Any
loose items or decorations that could be damaged need to be removed from the area
being cleaned, and electrical boxes and other items that don’t need to be hit with a high-
pressure stream of water should be identified and possibly marked with tape so that you
can avoid them. The pressure washer should then be positioned in a convenient area to
clean the part of the house you’re focusing on and hooked up to your hose, and any
cleaning product that you want to use, such as algae remover, should be added.
Once you’ve got the pressure washer set up, get a firm grasp on the wand and start
spraying the siding. Start at the top of the house and work your way from side to side,
slowly making your way down, to keep dirt and other unwanted material from flowing
down onto areas that you’ve already cleaned. Keep an eye on the pressure and
maintain a good grip on the wand as you move it to keep it from getting out of control.
After you’ve finished the section you’re working on, move your pressure washing setup
to a new area and start the process over.
What to Wash (And What to Avoid)
It should seem pretty straightforward what you should spray with a pressure washer and
what you shouldn’t. Unfortunately, there are some potentially problematic surfaces that
you might not consider which could result in unexpected damage.
Obviously you should avoid spraying anything fragile or loose, but you might not
consider the effect that a pressure washer could have on painted siding where the paint
has started to chip or flake. It turns out that pressure washers are great at removing old
paint, which isn’t a discovery that you want to make while trying to clean your siding!
Another thing to watch out for is siding that’s cracked or otherwise damaged. The
pressure washer can make this damage significantly worse, both in vinyl siding and
This is why it’s important to double-check the area you plan to clean and look for signs
of damage before you actually start up the pressure washer. A little bit of inspection
beforehand will go a long way to ensuring that you only wash siding that can withstand
the pressure and that you won’t end up breaking or stripping something along the way.
Send in the Pressure Washing Pros
If you’re worried about the possibility that you might mess something up, you can hire a
professional to get the job done. Power washing pros are available who know exactly
how to handle the job, and siding installers and painters often offer power washing
services as well.