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How To Remove Oxidation From Vinyl Siding [Step By Step Guide]

Vinyl siding is generally a low-maintenance alternative compared to wood. However, over time, it can collect dirt and grime. It can also develop a chalky white substance called oxidation. Are you looking for tips or ways to remove oxidation from vinyl siding? If you do, don’t fret. We’ve researched this to help you out.

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Oxidation can be cleaned. It may be time-consuming but once you have it removed, you’ll have vinyl sidings that are good as new. Here are the steps:

  1. Inspect the area
  2. Prepare cleaning materials
  3. Wear protective gears
  4. Clean with water
  5. Apply cleaning solution
  6. Rinse the solution

These steps seemed easy at a glance but can be tedious depending on the area to clean. We will detail each step in this post. Moreover, we will provide you tips on maintaining your vinyl siding so cleaning will be less of a hassle. Continue reading for more information on this topic.

Removing Oxidation From Vinyl Siding

Many homeowners like vinyl siding because of its durability. Apart from that, it is easy to install and also affordable. Although relatively, it is low-maintenance, it is still not maintenance-free. After some time, you may notice a chalky white substance forming on the surface. This is oxidation.

Vinyl is often made with polyvinyl chloride or PVC. When PVC is exposed to oxygen and other elements, the process of oxidation happens.

man cleaning vinyl siding of his house using brush on a long pole. How To Remove Oxidation From Vinyl Siding [Step By Step Guide]

These steps are easy DIY ways to clean or remove oxidation from vinyl siding.

1. Inspect The Area

It is important to be aware of the condition of your vinyl siding. Check the area for oxidation. Run your finger along the siding to see if a powdery substance comes off. If it does, then it is time for cleaning.

Once you have spotted oxidation, it must be removed. It's not only unsightly, but it's also unhealthy for the vinyl sidings. Apart from making your vinyl look faded, oxidation also leads to the deterioration of the siding.

2. Prepare The Cleaning Materials

The good thing about cleaning oxidation on vinyl siding is that it can be done with typical household items. You’ll need safety glasses, a pair of gloves, a bucket, vinegar, water, detergent, a soft-bristle brush, and a hose.

In a bucket mix 5 cups of vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Another alternative solution is 1/3 cup of laundry detergent, mixed with 2/3 cup of vinyl cleaner, 4 cups of household bleach, and a gallon of water. The second solution can be used if the vinegar and water solution isn’t enough.

3. Wear Protective Gears

Wear a pair of goggles or glasses to protect your eyes and a pair of gloves to have your hand shielded from the harmful effects of the cleaning agents.

4. Clean The Surface With Water

The next step is to wash the area with water first. This will work better if you have a garden hose, and will soften the dirt and debris. Aim the hose downwards to avoid getting other areas dirtier.

5. Apply The Cleaning Solution To the Vinyl Siding

Using a brush or a sponge, apply the cleaning solution to the area. Scrub the surface as needed. Take note that you shouldn’t use stiff brushes and harsh cleaners on your vinyl siding.

Work on a small section so that the cleaning solution won’t dry out immediately. It is also important to note that you should work from the bottom up to avoid blotching.

6. Rinse The Solution

With your garden hose, spray water into the area that you have done scrubbing. Spray downwards to effectively remove debris. Continue with steps 5 and 6 until you’ve completed the entire area.

Finally, when you’re done rinsing off the solution, let the sidings air dry.

When Will You Need A Professional Cleaner To Remove Oxidation?

When you do the cleaning yourself, you'll be able to save money. This may be applicable in situations where the oxidation is affecting only a small area, or when it is just starting. However, if you lack the time for this process, you should consult a professional.

If you hire a professional cleaner, you don't have to worry about damaging the vinyl sidings while cleaning. They are equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to finish the job.

Bear in mind that if the vinyl sidings are gravely affected by oxidation, simple household cleaning materials may not be enough.

Ultimately, it is recommended to assess the area first, before you decide whether to hire someone or do the cleaning on your own.

Advantages Of Vinyl Siding

Apart from being low maintenance, there are other benefits to installing vinyl sidings on your home. One of the advantages that go with installing vinyl siding is that it does not need to be painted. Unlike wood, vinyl is already coated with colored layers so you’ll save money on painting. It is also durable.

Moreover, it is not as expensive as wood. Vinyl siding is easily accessible and simple to install.

How Long Until Vinyl Sidings Oxidize?

As previously mentioned, oxidation is a natural process that happens to vinyl siding. How long it takes for the siding to develop oxidation depends on how exposed your siding is to UV rays, as it contributes to the process. Sometimes, oxidation can begin to occur between 5 and 10 years, but sometimes it can be held off for up to 20 years. 

Can You Paint Over Oxidized Vinyl Siding?

Initially, when the vinyl sidings are new, they don't need to be painted. As time goes by, discoloration may occur with oxidation. Once you've cleaned the oxidation, you may notice that the colors of the sidings have faded. There are instances when different areas have different shades as one side may be more exposed to the elements than the other.

The question is, can you paint over the oxidized part to make it look new? The answer is yes. This is a good option to update the look of your sidings. Instead of replacing the sidings, you will be able to save more if you just paint them.

The steps in painting vinyl sidings are pretty straightforward.

After washing the vinyl siding, you can prime it with water-based primer. The next step is painting the sidings. Keep in mind that you should use vinyl-safe exterior paints to avoid damaging the sidings.

You should also use an airless sprayer for the application as it applies paint evenly. Unlike brushes, an airless sprayer can reach narrow areas which make painting easier.

When painting vinyl sidings, do not choose dark colors as they absorb heat. Heat can damage vinyl sidings easily. Use a satin finish for enhanced durability.

How To Protect Vinyl Siding From Discoloration

It was mentioned in the previous sections that the discoloration of vinyl sidings is a result of exposure to the sun's UV rays. One way of protecting the siding and prolonging its life is by adding shade. If you have trees in the yard, you may notice that the sidings shaded by them have less discoloration. You may consider planting trees to not only provide you shade but your sidings as well.

The first option may not be difficult to do, so the easier option is just to keep your sidings clean. Soft washing with water and vinegar solution regularly can help prolong the life of your vinyl sidings.

When you see discoloration, apart from painting, you can also apply products that restore and protect vinyl sidings.

Click here to see this vinyl restorer on Amazon.

Lastly, if you can keep moisture away from your siding, do so. Water can leave stains on the siding and wear them away.

Power washing. House wall vinyl siding cleaning with high pressure water jet.

Final Thoughts

Oxidation is a natural process that happens to vinyl siding over time. However, mild oxidation can still be removed by cleaning the siding with vinegar and water solution or with other cleaning agents. You can either do it yourself or hire a professional for the job.

You can also protect your vinyl siding from oxidation with regular maintenance and avoiding exposure to UV rays as much as possible. In addition to that, if you find that the sidings have discoloration already, you can paint them or use vinyl restorers to refresh their look.

Finally, now that you are aware of the steps in removing oxidation on your vinyl siding, you will be more confident in cleaning your sidings yourself.

If you found this article helpful, please check out these other articles:

How To Match New Vinyl Siding With Old?

How Much Does Vinyl Siding Cost For A Whole House? [Including Installation]