Throughout the seasons, a home's vinyl siding akes a lot of abuse from outside elements, including precipitation, ultraviolet sunlight, cold temperatures, and winds, and whatever damage pests and outdoor wildlife may inflict. Cleaning it at least annually is essential. But how do you clean the vinyl siding on the second story of a house? We've found the answers for you. In this post, we will cover the various techniques to do just that.
Here are a few ways that you can clean the then you can wash the vinyl siding on your home if you have a second floor:
- Power Washer
- Garden Sprayer
- Scrub Brush/Telescoping Wand and Ladder
Continue reading to learn about the steps involved in each technique.
How To Clean Vinyl Siding High Up
The best thing to do before pressure washing your house is first to make a plan of attack. It's also best to know your second floor's ground height all the way up to the top of the vinyl so that you will know exactly how much reach your tools will need. Now, we'll dive into the steps and tools that you may need for the project.
Things you'll need:
- 2 or 5-gallon Bucket
- Soft-bristle brush
- 22 or 32-foot ladder
- Telescoping Pole
- Rubber gloves
- RV brush
- Dust mask
- Protective goggles
- All-purpose cleaner
- Scrub sponge
Prepare Your Home, Equipment, and Cleaning Solutions
Before pressure washing your home, there are a few steps that you should take to ensure your safety and the protection of your home and lawn. Let's take a look at them:
- Make sure that all windows and doors to your home or completely closed.
- Lay tarps or plastic sheets over your shrubs and outdoor plants to prevent them from being damaged by the run-off cleaning solution. You'll also need to cover any electrical outlets with plastic as well.
- If you are making your own homemade solution, spot test it on an inconspicuous area of the vinyl to ensure that it is not too harsh for the material.
Use A Power Washer
- Start by connecting your power washer to your water hose. Next, pour your cleaning solution into the power washer reservoir.
- If you are using any accessories such as a chemical injector, attach them and secure them in place. Next, turn on the water hose to allow you to run for about 1 to 2 minutes. This helps the system to warm up and removes any air trapped in the line.
- Set the power washer to a low setting, then test its strength on a low part of the home's siding, and increase the strength as needed (for vinyl siding, it's best to keep the pressure on a low setting to avoid damage). Squeeze the trigger on the washer and start at the front of your house, washing the first and second story using vertical sweeping motions. Make sure to get any hard to reach areas (i.e., corners and around the doors). Be sure to keep the nozzle of the power washer and least four feet away from the vinyl to ensure that the pressure doesn't damage the surface.
- Once you have washed all sides of the home, do a quick walk around to ensure that you haven't missed any areas or damaged any of the vinyl.
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Quick Tip: If you notice that the power washer is not removing tougher stains on the vinyl, you can do two things. You can first try getting on a ladder and using a scrub brush to remove the stain manually-- this is the safer option. You can also increase the pressure of the power washer on a specific area to help get rid of a stain. Remember, always test the strength of the power washer on an inconspicuous area of the vinyl to ensure that it will not cause any damage.
Use A Garden Sprayer
- Start by pouring your cleaning solution into the sprayer, filling it up the fill line. Next, adjust the pressure setting by turning the nozzle and testing it on an inconspicuous part of the vinyl. Garden sprayers don't provide the amount of pressure that a power washer can, but it's always a good idea to test them as well.
- Next, starting at the front of the house, use the sprayer to clean off the vinyl on the first and second stories if possible (be sure to use vertical sweeping motions). Depending on the spray you have (some can spray up to 8 feet), you may need to use a ladder to reach the second floor.
- After you have sprayed all of the sides of the home, do a quick walk around to ensure that you haven't missed any areas. If you notice any areas that still contain stains, you may need to use your ladder and a scrub brush or telescoping wand to remove them manually.
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Use A Scrub Brush/Telescoping Wand and Ladder
- If you don't have a power washer, you can also use a scrub brush with a telescoping wand or attach a scrub brush to a broomstick to reach the second story to clean the vinyl siding. It's better if you can find a scrub brush with a long handle so that you can reach at least within 5 feet.
- Start by using your water hose to wet the vinyl and loosen any dirt or debris lying on its surface. Be careful when using your water hose and working with the ladder, as you do not want it to get tangled up and cause the ladder to lose its grounding. It's also best to use a ladder that has a bucket attachment for easy access. If not, you will need to step down from the ladder to re-wet the brush.
- Next, dip your brush in the bucket of your cleaning solution and begin scrubbing the vinyl on the first floor. Once you've scrubbed the final on all sides of the house, take your ladder and start on the second floor of the home. Start from the bottom and work your way up until you reach the top of the second story on all sides.
- After all of the sides have been cleaned, use your water hose again to rinse off the home's first and second story, making sure to spray in the corners where spider webs and bird droppings are likely to be.
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How long does it take to pressure wash a two-story house?
It usually depends on the size of the house and the amount of prep work needed. For a house that's 1200 to 2,500 square feet, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes an hour and 30 minutes for pressure washing. Generally, for average size homes, it will take no more than a couple of hours.
What is the average cost to pressure wash a two-story house?
The cost to pressure wash a home will vary by location, though the averages tend to be anywhere from $200 to $400. Contractors may also charge per square foot, ranging from around $0.15 to $.40 per square foot.
How to protect plants when pressure washing?
Cover all of the plants
One of the quickest ways to protect your outdoor plants from damage caused by power washing is to use plastic sheets or tarps to cover them. Ensure that you remove the tarps immediately after you've completed the power wash, as you do not want to cut off their oxygen supply. You can buy a set of tarps for under $20 in any home improvement store or on Amazon.
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Pre-water the plants
If you water your plants before pressure washing your home, you can help to dilute any detergent or bleach that may run out from the vinyl siding onto your plants and shrubs. If you use bleach or bleach-based cleaning solutions, this can prevent the runoff from crystallizing into salt and drying out your plants. It also helps to give your plants a quick spray with your plant sprayer or a water hose to remove any excess chemicals after you've finished the task.
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Use Mild Detergents
Using a mild detergent for your pressure wash treatment will do the least potential damage to the plants if they are affected by runoff water. Mild detergents will be easier on the plants than bleach-based solutions or harsh chemicals. However, you'll also want to use caution with detergent as well, as they can leave white or dark brown spots on your outdoor plants--in which case you will need to cut off the infected leaves.
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Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has shown you the various ways that you can power wash your home if you have a second floor.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:
Why Is My Vinyl Siding Chalky? (And What To Do About It)