cleaning vinyl - 2 story house

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Old 03-29-05, 05:51 AM
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cleaning vinyl - 2 story house

OK, I've read that one should use bleach and detergent to clean vinyl siding. I've also read that a pressure washer isn't a good idea because it can force water behind the siding.

What does everyone use to spray the bleach/detergent solution onto the upper story of the house? I would prefer to do this from the ground instead of getting up on a ladder.

Thanks
 
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Old 03-29-05, 06:46 AM
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A pressure washer will enable you to apply the mixture and rinse water to the surface at a distance. The problem with using a pressure washer is using it too close to the surface, forcing the water and mixture under the layers of vinyl. With sufficient care, there should be no problem with a pressure washer.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 08:46 AM
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If your pressure washer does not have a facility to add detergent/bleach to the spray, you can do as I have done and use a pump garden sprayer for that purpose.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 01:26 PM
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When washing siding with a pressure washer you need to use as wide a fan as possible and try to spray as squarely at the siding as you can.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 03:48 PM
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Contrary to what you've read and what many people may tell you, DO NOT use bleach on vinyl siding. Chlorine bleach will adversely affect vinyl (PVC or polyvinylchloride) products. Bleach can discolor siding. There is also a chance of weakening the vinyl by making it brittle or chalky, if the bleach solution is too strong, or not rinsed off.

Bleach is a disinfectant. Detergent alone is sufficient to clean off mildew. If mildew is what you are trying to get off, Borax detergent is the best product to use.

Vinyl window companies that provide instructions for maintenance and care of the windows almost always will mention "do not use bleach or cleaning solutions that contain bleach" in their cleaning instructions. I've always assumed the same thing would apply to vinyl siding.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 05:02 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Now for clarification from everyone:

Can a pump up sprayer spray 2 stories high?

Don't use bleach - What will kill the mildew if bleach isn't used?

Use pressure washer and spray as squarely to the siding as you can - How do you do this from the ground if the wall is 2 stories?

I do have an electric pressure washer. It has the ability to inject a solution but the directions state NOT to use bleach since the solution passes through the pump. It also will only inject the solution under low pressure and I don't think it will reach 2 stories high.

How does everyone else do this?
 
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Old 03-29-05, 06:32 PM
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You will likely wind up on a ladder.

Don't use bleach - What will kill the mildew if bleach isn't used?
You will need bleach to kill the mildew. You have to use it properly to protect the surface involved and the surroundings. Soaps, detergents, and surfactants may wash loose mildew off, but removing it from the surface and killing it are more in order.

Leaving a bleach solution on a surface beyond a few minutes will cause damage. Sunlight does an adequate job of destroying the surface of vinyl siding over time, leaving a dull, open finish. Mine is about 20 years old and needs soap to remove any dirt or dust. It will not rinse off any longer.

After you remove the mildew, more frequent washing with soap or detergent will keep the dirt from accumulating so that the mildew does not have a place to take hold.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 03-30-05, 07:15 AM
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I have always used bleach because it is cheap and efficent. The paint stores sell a cleaner for decks and siding, it is supposed to be good but I have never used it. You might check it out. Since elec press washers aren't as powerful as the commercial gas jobs with a little care it should work well. I don't know how effective you can be with out using a ladder. Wish you luck
 
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Old 04-04-05, 06:13 AM
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I found a recipe for a cleaning solution on the web. It was 1/3 cup of powdered Tide, 2/3 cup powdered Spic & Span, 1 quart bleach and 1 gallon of water. Of course this was to use by hand and brush.

Here's what I did:

1/3 cup Liquid Tide
2/3 cup Liquid Spic & Span (store didn't even carry the powder)
1 quart bleach
No additional water

I had one of those outdoor Windex spray bottles that you connect to a hose for washing windows. I'm not sure what the solution to water mix was but it did a wonderful job.

I put the mixture above in the bottle, sprayed the siding let it sit for about 10 minutes and then rinsed (the Windex bottle has a wash setting and a rinse setting). It wasn't as powerful as a pressure washer but I got the job done.

I did have to use a step ladder to rinse the upper story and get the crude off.

Thanks for everyone's assistance
 
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Old 04-04-05, 03:48 PM
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Yeah and you are mixing chemicals, better hope nothing has ammonia in it since you are adding bleach.
 
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Old 04-04-05, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for your concern. None of the products contained ammonia.

I got the recipe from one of the vinyl siding manufacturer sites. While this doesn't guarantee saftety necessarily, I did check the labels.
 
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Old 04-06-05, 08:02 AM
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Whenever I do siding, I notice the way the seams are and spray in the direction of the seams. If you spray 'square' to the siding, you will force water at each seam. If you go with the seams, then water is always flowing away from the seam opening.

Don't use bleach, there are plenty of cleaners out there that will kill mildew and do a good job, they just aren't as cheap as bleach. Besides, do you want you home to smell like an overtreated pool?

As for injection, you can buy replacement wands that will spray cleaning solutions at pressure, Home Depot sells them for sure, probably others do as well.
 
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