How to Clean Aluminum Siding: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning your aluminum siding once or twice a year is an excellent way of keeping it in tip-top condition. However, with our busy lives, we often forget — and we end up with grimy aluminum siding that we need to fix. You might wonder which is the best method to get your siding shiny again.

You can clean aluminum siding with water, white vinegar, and liquid dish soap. Mix these items in a bucket, spray the mixture on the surface, and allow it to stay for 10 minutes. Then scrub with water and an extendable soft-bristled brush from top to bottom and rinse thoroughly using a garden hose.

Although aluminum siding is beautiful, it can become an eyesore when dust, dirt, hard water stains, and mildew accumulate. In this article, I’ll show you how to clean aluminum siding in detail to keep it in superb condition. Keep reading.

Dirty aluminum siding.

1. Gather Your Cleaning Solutions and Equipment

Before you clean the aluminum siding, there are things you should do to prepare yourself for the task ahead.

Cleaning aluminum siding involves using water and cleaning mixtures. It’s important to close any windows and doors near the areas you wish to clean — it ensures that no water or cleaning solution gets into the house as you clean. After all, you don’t want a spill on your expensive furniture or carpets!

Gathering all the materials and equipment beforehand makes your cleaning task more manageable.

The materials and equipment you need to gather for this task are:

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid siding soap
  • Buckets
  • Extendable soft-bristle siding brush
  • A garden hose
  • A big spray bottle
  • A ladder

2. Divide the Area You Want to Clean Into Sections

Before cleaning your aluminum siding, it’s best to divide the area you want to clean into sections approximately five feet wide. Once you divide the space into sections, you can clean one section before moving to the next. This organization can help you in the following ways:

  • You are more organized, and you work systematically.
  • Cleaning a small section is more manageable than cleaning a huge one.
  • You are more thorough in your cleaning.

3. Wet the First Section of the Aluminum Siding

After dividing the aluminum siding into sections, wet the first section of the aluminum siding you want to clean. Here’s why you should wet the aluminum siding:

  • The water removes the dust on the surface.
  • The water dislodges any debris on the surface.
  • Since the dust and residue come off, you will reduce your need to scrub.
  • The water also removes any cobwebs and other materials on the surface of the aluminum siding.

The best way of wetting the aluminum siding is by using a garden hose. Spray the water from top to bottom using a medium pressure level. You spray the water downwards, so it doesn’t get under the aluminum siding and damage it.

4. Make the Cleaning Solution

After wetting the first section you want to clean, it’s time to make the cleaning solution you’ll use to clean your aluminum siding.

I recommend using a simple, homemade cleaning solution made of the following:

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid siding cleaner

Here’s why a solution made of the above ingredients is best for cleaning aluminum siding:

  • Water: Water works well with various detergents to help dissolve and remove numerous substances such as grime, dirt, mold, mildew, and stains from surfaces.
  • Vinegar: It’s a great cleaning agent as it contains acetic acid that helps to remove any stains and discoloration from aluminum siding. It thus restores the shine and brightness of the siding. Members Mark Distilled White Vinegar (available on Amazon) would be great for this job as it’s versatile and safe for the environment.
  • Liquid siding soap: This siding soap mixes well with water and vinegar. It cuts through dirt and grime in the aluminum siding, making cleaning thorough and straightforward. You could use Krud Kutter House and Siding Cleaner to clean aluminum siding as it helps to remove tough stains, bird droppings, and other dirt.

How to Make the Aluminum Siding Cleaning Solution

Making the aluminum siding cleaning solution is easy if you have suitable materials. Follow the following steps to make the solution:

  1. Place water in an appropriately sized bucket.
  2. Add cleaning vinegar to the water at the ratio of ¾ cup of white vinegar to a gallon (about 4 liters) of water.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap to one gallon (about 4 liters) of water.
  4. Mix thoroughly to create a powerful aluminum siding cleaning solution.

5. Put the Cleaning Solution in a Spray Bottle

After your cleaning solution is ready, it’s best to put some in a spray bottle; it will allow you to focus on sections of the siding without messy spills or wasting your cleaning solution.

For instance, the Veco Spray Bottle would be ideal for this work. This bottle has an adjustable nozzle that makes it easy to spray the cleaning solution. It also has an ergonomic neck that eliminates hand fatigue by giving you a comfortable grip.

6. Spray the Cleaning Solution on the Aluminum Siding

The next step is to spray the cleaning solution on the first section of the aluminum siding you want to clean. Here’s how to spray the cleaning solution on the aluminum siding:

  1. Spray the cleaning solution from the bottom of the aluminum siding, moving upward.
  2. Ensure that the cleaning mixture adequately covers each siding for the best results.
  3. Use a ladder to reach the top parts of the aluminum siding if necessary.
  4. Refill the spray bottle when the mixture runs out.

7. Allow the Cleaning Mixture to Work on the Siding

After spraying the cleaning mixture on the aluminum siding, give it time to do its work. Once you apply the mixture to the surface, it does wonders on the aluminum siding. So, allow the cleaner to work on the surface for approximately 10 minutes before moving to the next step.

The cleaning mixture does the following to the aluminum siding:

  • It breaks down any discoloration.
  • It penetrates and loosens dirt and grime.
  • It dissolves hard water stains and other stains on the surface.

8. Scrub the Aluminum Siding

After the mixture has worked on the surface for about 10 minutes, the next step is to scrub the aluminum siding. Using an extendable, soft-bristle brush to scrub the aluminum siding is best. A soft-bristle cleaning brush is essential as it removes debris and dirt from the siding without scratching the surface.

The FORGRACE Cleaning Brush would be ideal for this job as it’s soft-bristled and thus won’t scratch or damage your aluminum siding. This brush is extendable to a maximum length of 62 inches (5 feet). You can use it not only for cleaning aluminum siding but also for other cleaning tasks.

Here’s how to scrub the aluminum siding with the extendable siding brush:

  1. Fill the bucket with clean water.
  2. Submerge the extendable, soft-bristle brush in the water.
  3. Use the wet brush to scrub the cleaning solution off the part of the aluminum siding you have just cleaned.
  4. Scrub from the top, moving downward, ensuring the brush reaches all areas of the siding.
  5. Scrub sideways using back and forth movement to remove all dirt and stains.
  6. Dip the brush in the water repeatedly until you’ve scrubbed the whole section.

9. Rinse the Aluminum Siding Thoroughly

Once you have scrubbed the selected section, it’s time to rinse the aluminum siding. Here’s how to rinse the aluminum siding:

  1. Connect the garden hose to the tap.
  2. Turn on the water.
  3. Use the water from the garden hose to rinse the part of the aluminum siding you’ve just scrubbed.
  4. Point the garden hose downward as you rinse.
  5. Rinse thoroughly from top to bottom using medium water pressure.

10. Clean the Other Sections of the Aluminum Siding

Once you’ve scrubbed and rinsed the first section of the aluminum siding thoroughly, clean the other sections. Use the same method to clean the remaining parts of the aluminum siding. If you run out of the cleaning solution, you can make more using the exact proportions you had used at the beginning.

11. Allow the Aluminum Siding to Dry

After cleaning the aluminum siding, allow it to dry so you can see the results. Sometimes, you might notice a few sections that didn’t sparkle after the aluminum siding dries. Such areas may need additional cleaning; you can thus give such parts a quick scrub with the brush and then rinse thoroughly.

Final Thoughts

If you clean your aluminum siding at least once a year, it can make the exterior of your home look great for years to come. You can clean aluminum siding manually using an inexpensive, powerful homemade cleaner and following the steps I’ve outlined in this article.

Although cleaning aluminum siding is not difficult, it can become challenging if the siding is extensive or if your home has more than one story. If this is the case, you could make your work easier by hiring the services of a commercial cleaning company.

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