How to remove rust stains from vinyl siding


Vinyl siding is a versatile, durable and highly resilient building material but it requires regular care and cleaning.

The increasing popularity of vinyl siding is indisputable. Throughout the United States, the material is the widely used exterior cladding way back since 1995. The popularity of this material shows no signs of decline. Despite its high demand, homeowners should learn how to maintain vinyl siding as well as learn ways on how to remove rust stains from vinyl siding.

A close look on vinyl siding

Before checking out the techniques on how to remove rust stains from vinyl siding, let us first learn more about the vinyl siding.

As an exterior material, a variety of dirt, filth, and stains can accumulate on the vinyl siding which includes rust, pollen, bird or insect droppings and even spider webs. In shaded areas, moist sections will allow the growth of mildew and mold. It is important to note that vinyl is also susceptible to discoloration if constantly exposed to herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides. Furthermore, the finishing of the vinyl siding might be marred by various commonly used household upkeep products such as driveway sealant, motor oil, caulking, tar, and paint.

Methods on how to remove rust stains from vinyl siding

The good news is the cleaning vinyl siding is an easy task and various products can remove the usual stains.

It is recommended to use a soft cloth or a soft-bristle brush. If you want to avoid streaking, start cleaning at the base and move up towards the top of the house. If you are cleaning vinyl siding, thoroughly rinse any leftover residue as you go.

Let us take a close look at some of the recommended cleaning solutions.

  • White vinegar and water solution. Prepare an all-purpose vinyl siding cleaner by mixing 70% water and 30% white vinegar. This solution can effectively remove mold and mildew stains.  
  • If you want a potent solution, combine 1/3 cup of laundry detergent, 2/3 cup household cleaner and one-quart laundry bleach with a gallon of water.
  • If your landscaping is an issue of concern, choose a vinyl siding cleaner solution which includes a gallon of water that is combined with a cup of oxygen bleach in a pail. The oxygen bleach will efficiently wash the vinyl siding without causing any detrimental effect on your landscaping.
  • An environmentally-friendly cleanser that you can use is Simple Green. It is specially formulated to be used on vinyl and aluminum siding. The non-toxic biodegradable solution can be utilized physically or with pressure washers.
  • General household cleaners can be utilized on stubborn stains and dirt including those created by grass, topsoil, oil, grease, rust, ink, crayon and bubble gum. For rust stains, they can be removed by utilizing products such as Instant Rust Out or Super Iron Out.

How to clean vinyl siding with a pressure washer

Another way to effectively clean vinyl siding is to use a pressure washer but some manufacturers advise against it while others recommend a limited amount of pressure.

In case you are uncertain about how to clean vinyl siding with a pressure washer, the initial task is to ensure that the stream is at eye level and directed straight at the siding, not at an upward angle. With this approach, you will not drive water behind the siding. Just be careful when using a pressure washer near openings such as doors, windows and plumbing connections.

Important considerations on what not to do when cleaning vinyl siding

When cleaning vinyl siding, do not use any cleaners that include organic solvents, liquid grease remover, unadulterated chlorine bleach, furniture polish or nail polish remover. These products might damage the surface of the vinyl siding. Furthermore, avoid using coarse scrubbers or steel wool since these can damage the siding while cleaning.

What causes brown stains on vinyl siding?

For those who have light-colored vinyl siding, brown stains are likely to form over time. These take on the appearance of dirty water that has dripped down the house. This is a clear indication of poor installation by the rooftop or even problems with the gutter. If not securely sealed, the siding will allow the entry of rainwater behind the siding which results to rot and staining problems.

Once you notice issues with brown stains and mildew on your vinyl siding, it is important to inspect the siding after the rain. Get in touch with professional services if it is possible to save the siding with a better sealant or opt for a new gutter solution.

Can you use Dawn to clean vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding can be easily cleaned with simply soap and water and ensuring a yearly scrubbing to maintain its appearance.

As a basic method in washing your vinyl siding, you can utilize a general-purpose cleaning agent such as Dawn Dish Soap that is mixed with warm water. Use this mixture to clean your vinyl siding to effectively remove any dirt, grime, mold or other debris that has accumulated. With a soft-bristle brush, scrub the entire length of every lap. It is recommended to start at the bottom to avoid streaking and use your garden hose to rinse off every section before it dries up.

Does OxiClean clean vinyl siding?

If you have vinyl siding, regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of debris and dirt can help in preserving its appearance. Mold might be an issue of concern that can cause undesirable greenish growth. In the past, chlorine bleach has been the choice as a cleaning agent in removing dirt, rust stains, mold and mildew from siding, but it is a toxic compound that is detrimental to plants and the environment.

An option to use when cleaning vinyl siding is OxiClean which contains hydrogen peroxide, surfactants and other ingredients that ensures a potent cleaning action. Once dissolved in water, the oxygen bleach can deal with rust stains as effectively as chlorine bleach.

Let’s wrap it up

When keeping your vinyl siding clean, proper care and maintenance using the right cleaning agents is the key, especially when it comes to rust stains and other debris. Now that you are familiar with the different ways on how to remove rust stains from vinyl siding, you can keep them clean and properly maintained in no time.

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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