Whether you’re getting ready to repaint your home or the cladding of your house is due for its annual exterior wash, knowing how to keep up with your siding's cleanliness can reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining it. Removing green algae from vinyl siding avoids a bacteria outbreak and lowers the total cost potentially needed to repair property damages. But, how do you remove green algae from vinyl? We’ve taken the time to research this topic, gathering helpful tips and information to share with you in this post.
The most effective method to remove green algae from vinyl siding is either a commercial or homemade cleaning solution and microfiber towels, hand-pumped sprayer, pole brush, or high-pressure hose or pressure washer. When cleaning green algae from your vinyl siding, avoid using abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools, such as wire brushes, sanded sponges, or stainless steel wool. Follow these simple steps:
- Gather cleaning tools.
- Mix cleaning solution.
- Spray, scrub, and rinse.
Clean vinyl siding without any scraping, scratching, or damages occurring throughout the process. Afterward, your siding will gleam, without harmful algae build-up. Keep reading as we suggest the best cleaning products and discuss how to use these tools for your vinyl siding.
How To Rid Vinyl Siding of Green Algae
Fortunately for homeowners, green algae is only a cosmetic concern and can be solved in various accessible ways. First, you'll want to gather your preferred cleaning tool. Let's take a quick look at the tools we've listed above. You can use any of these tools you already have at home or purchase a new tool specifically to keep your vinyl siding clean.
1. Gather Cleaning Tools
For areas within your reach, microfiber towels easily wipe away mold and mildew from vinyl without any scratches. Remember to rinse cloths thoroughly between each swipe.
Pump Pressure Sprayer
Using a hand-pumped pressure sprayer will give you a bit of extra power for scrubbing away tough mildew, and it's handy enough to carry around the exterior of the house without cumbersome power cords or hose-line.
Pole Brush With Microfiber Head
A pole brush will extend your reach, and the soft microfiber head will not scratch vinyl siding.
High-pressure garden hoses cannot damage your siding, but they will provide extra scrubbing power to save your elbows from work.
If using a pressure washing on vinyl siding, the recommended PSI is between 1300 and 1600 to prevent unnecessary damage.
2. Mix A Cleaning Solution
Next, select and mix your preferred cleaning solution. Here are some safe but potent cleaning agents to use with the tools we've listed above. Please avoid using liquid grease removers or polishes not specifically developed for vinyl to clean your siding.
Liquid Or Powdered Detergent
Mix liquid dish soap with water, preferably in a bucket. Sources say Dawn is the leading brand. Other homeowners also recommend mixing a stain solver into your regular dish soap.
For a much stronger solution than liquid dish soap, try Powdered laundry detergent mixed with water until dissolved.
Mix oxygen bleach (also known as oxi/oxy) with water. This cleaning solution is a safer alternative to chlorine bleach because it will not harm you, your pets, landscaping, or vegetation.
Chlorine bleach is an option but has to be handled carefully, and instructions must be followed carefully. Compared to oxygen bleach, chlorine bleach is more potent and can become corrosive when combined with other compounds.
The Clorox Company created an outdoor bleach specifically for this reason. According to its manufacturers’ directions, you must dilute the liquid and test surfaces before letting it sit and cleaning it off. We'd advise against using chlorine bleach if you have foundation plants or trees surrounding the areas of concern.
3. Spray, Scrub, And Rinse Clean
Spray the nearby landscaping and grass with fresh, clean water before starting to clean the siding. This will prevent cleaner run-off from harming your plants. You'll want to rinse the plants and grass again afterward, too.
Appy the pre-mixed cleaning solution to the siding, using either cleaning tool that you've opted to use. Let the cleaning solution sit on the siding for 10-15 minutes. Wipe or spray with fresh water to rinse clean.
No pressure washer? No problem! Take a quick look below at how you can remove green algae from your vinyl siding using a hose and commercial cleaner specifically for vinyl.
Hire Professionals To Clean Vinyl Siding
If you have any qualms about DIY for vinyl siding, there is yet one final option. Hiring a professional exterior cleaner can be of great help, considering they are trained to run moss, mold, mildew, and algae tests throughout the process. Professionals are equipped with powerful pressure washers and appropriate cleaners for an expedited job.
Why Is My Vinyl Siding Turning Green?
Vinyl siding may be water-resistant, but it is certainly not waterproof. Shaded spots and corners, or large areas where your vinyl does not dry as quickly as the parts that get sunlight, are prone to algae growth. There are several reasons why your siding may be accumulating water and staying damp for a longer durations:
- Rainwater, snow, humidity, thawing of ice
- A leaky, sloping roof
- Overflowing gutters
- Broken drain pipes
- Foundation plants
- Trees blocking the sunlight and or tree branches allowing droplets from leaves to land on siding
What Is Green Algae Anyway?
Green Algae is a unicellular type of bacteria, scientifically known as Chlorophyta. It is a photosynthetic organism that thrives in aquatic settings. It also uses carbon dioxide and light energy from the sun to create nourishment and manufacture its own food. Bacteria are small and barely visible but can grow in bodies large enough to be noticed from afar. Algae can appear green, brown, or black spots on the siding, surrounding the darker parts of your exterior wall.
How Do I Keep My Siding From Turning Green?
Knowing how to identify the discoloration on your vinyl will help you take better preventative measures without causing valuable damages to your home. Be wary of the most common mistake homeowners make–confusing green algae with mold! Though similar in appearance, they are not the same and require different methods of cleaning to eliminate. Mold is a fungus and considerably more dangerous than green algae. It can be difficult to remove.
To avoid your siding turning green:
- Siding sealants such as caulk help with avoiding moisture traps where algae can develop.
- Consider installing weather barriers or house wraps.
- We also recommend cutting down trees or tree branches, blocking the sunlight from the areas of concern to keep your siding as dry as possible.
What Causes Vinyl Siding To Accrue Dirt?
Despite many homeowners being under the impression that vinyl sidings are virtually maintenance-free, vinyl is still an outdoor product, thus, being very susceptible to collecting a host of dirt and creating the spread of green algae by pollen, cobwebs, mud, insect, and bird droppings, weather conditions such as a messy windstorm after a downpour, and more.
The longer the problem goes unnoticed, the longer it goes unattended. Other underlying issues can set in, such as excess moisture getting trapped behind the siding, which is far more complicated than dealing with the appearance of algae or fungus because trapped moisture is difficult to detect at first. It’s important to properly inspect all corners of your siding and not limit it to the surface because failing to do so will only lead to replacing it and costing you more money down the road.
Can I Use Vinegar To Clean Vinyl Siding?
Vinegar, especially white vinegar, makes for a great all-purpose cleaner. By mixing 30% white vinegar and 70% water, you can make the perfect cleaning solution. Now, if you prefer to go odorless, you can opt for freshly scented cleaning vinegar-like Four Monks Cleaning Vinegar.
Can I Power Wash Vinyl Siding?
Pressure washing is the quickest and most effective way to clean all sorts of gunk from your vinyl siding. However, aiming high-pressure washers at the wrong angle can result in cracks or even dents, ruining your sidings. Without notice, water can end up trapped behind the siding, creating external issues that can later become interior, too. Use a PSI between 1300 and 1600 for vinyl siding. If you doubt your ability to use the pressure washer, it is safer to hire a professional or use the jet option on your garden hose instead.
Vinyl siding is durable; with fade-defying colors for aesthetic appeal, it is one of the most popular siding materials. But if not maintained, green algae and other fungi growth will take over—feeding on any collection of dirt or dust it comes in contact with and eventually causing the exterior wall of your home to appear tarnished and losing its luster. Keep your home looking fresh all year long by establishing routine inspections and taking action toward any unsightly residues that could evolve. When in doubt, speak with a professional or refer back to this post!