Vinyl siding is a great option for a busy family because it requires very little maintenance and can be safely cleaned following a few natural cleaning tips. When cleaning vinyl siding always be sure to use a cloth or soft-bristled brush and rinse clean with cold water. Secondly, be sure to try a small amount of cleaner in an inconspicuous spot just in case of unforeseen chemical reactions. Most importantly, never use nail polish remover, cleaners using organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, furniture polish or cleaners, or liquid grease remover on vinyl siding as they can permanently stain or damage the vinyl.
A solution of 30 percent vinegar to 70 percent water is one of the most recommended cleaning solutions chosen by the Vinyl Siding Institute. Not only is vinegar safe to use around pets and children, but its grease cutting and acidic properties make it an ideal cleaner. As a degreaser, it removes built up gunk and grime, and being acidic vinegar can kill mold and mildew. Another great perk of using vinegar is how well it cleans windows without worry about harming the glass. Vinegar is overly acidic to plants, however, so avoid getting the solution on or near the roots of any shrubs around the house. Be sure to use only distilled white vinegar. Balsamic, red wine, or apple cider vinegar will not work as well and can often leave a residue which can be harmful or breed bacteria.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a natural bleach alternative. The chemical make up of hydrogen peroxide is over oxygenated water. In this way, the bubbling action is the releasing of the excess oxygen and neutralizing the solution back into water. By mixing a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide and water many stains can be removed from the siding at the molecular level. Grass stains, bubble gum, and even blood can be removed from siding in this way. Hydrogen peroxide is safe to come into contact with plants, kids and pets, though it should not be ingested. Windows do not need to be covered when using a peroxide mixture, but they should be rinsed as to not erode any caulk from prolonged exposure.
By mixing a gallon of warm water with 1/2 cup of Borax, mold and mildew can be completely disinfected. Borax is a natural anti-fungal and antiseptic. Scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush, or nylon scouring pad for exceptionally tough spots, can render clean, fresh siding. If mold or mildew seem to be a recurring problem, or if the residence is in a high humidity area, do not rinse the Borax solution off. By leaving the chemical on the siding, the mildew will not return. Unfortunately, windows should be covered when Borax is used to eliminate the possibility of irritating build up on the glass. Even though Borax is a natural product, it is poisonous when ingested by animals and pets. It will not irritate the skin; however, breathing large amounts of fumes can irritate lungs.