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How to Properly Clean Steel Siding

Steel siding is one of the most exciting exterior home remodeling products to emerge recently.  It’s durable, it’s beautiful, and it’s virtually maintenance-free.  But it does require a good cleaning once in awhile, because as far as we know, a self-cleaning siding product has yet to hit the market.

With the muddy spring we’re having, chances are that your siding is going to need a good cleaning as a part of your outdoor spring cleaning and home maintenance.  If your home is sided with a product such as steel residential siding from United States Seamless, you’ll want to clean it properly.  Steel has different cleaning requirements than wood or vinyl; here are the specifics:

  • While a power washer might be a little too aggressive for wood or vinyl unless you’re a professional, it’s the best tool for cleaning steel siding.
  • Chemicals you might use on wood or vinyl siding can cause damage to steel.  Put those away and simply make up a solution of 1/3 cup liquid laundry detergent and 6 gallons of water to use with the pressure washer.
  • Water and electricity don’t mix.  Make sure you turn off any breakers providing service to any exterior electrical – that includes lights and outdoor outlets.
  • Take a long-handled tool such as a deck brush or a telescoping handled brush and a bucket of plain water to first loosen any grime and dirt.  The brush should be soft bristled.   First stroke horizontally, then vertically to loosen anything that has been caked on.
  • Mold and mildew can build up in any areas where moisture might be trapped.  If that’s the case, apply a 1:3 solution of regular household bleach and water with a spray bottle before power washing.
  • Set your power washer on the lowest setting to apply the cleaning solution.  If you’ve never used one before, it’s a good idea to practice on a hard-to-damage spot such as your driveway or sidewalk before turning it on your house, because even set on low it packs quite a wallop.
  • Working in sections, rinse a washed area down with plain water from your garden hose.  Don’t let the soapy solution dry on the siding.
  • Put everything away – you’re done!  It might not be self-cleaning, but at least your siding is self-drying.