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Cleaning Mold From Vinyl Siding

In another post, I mentioned having used equal parts household chlorine bleach and white vinegar to remove green mold growing on the vinyl siding facade on the north side of my home. It is quite effective. But, I've found something much better.
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While the bleach/vinegar solution does a good job, using it is not necessarily a good idea. It does release a noxious gas and should be used only in well ventilated areas. While I suffered no ill effects from cleaning my vinyl with it, I have no idea what impact its use might have on the environment.

I keep a small spray bottle filled with 3% (10 volume) hydrogen peroxide by the kitchen sink. I spray the faucet, faucet base, and handle with this peroxide after cleaning the sink. I wait a minute and then rinse.

Mold has a tendency to grow on the faucet, particularly around the base. If a heavy film is allowed to accumulate, you will see a lot of foaming when peroxide is sprayed on it. It kills the mold, and the foaming/boiling action dislodges the mold so it can easily be rinsed away. By spraying the faucet daily, there is no chance of mold buildup and new growth, too small to be seen, is quickly eradicated.

Peroxide is deadly to living tissue. (It should never be used full strength on open wounds). It occurred to me that the mold on the vinyl consisted of living organisms and should respond to being treated with peroxide.

I poured a half cup of peroxide into a small glass bowl and added a couple drops dish detergent as a surfactant. With a wide (4 inch) paint brush, I painted a thin film of the solution on the vinyl. I waited 5 minutes and then sprayed the treated area with a garden hose at full force. With no scrubbing, the treated area was clean.

While my way would be ideal as a spot treatment, I see no reason why large areas couldn't be cleaned by applying the solution with a hose end sprayer. I would suggest applying all safety precautions regarding your person and foundation shrubbery, etc.

This idea just came to me 'out of the blue'. I'm sure I'm not the first to think of it, but I am sure I will soon be putting it to use. The north side of my home is getting greener by the day. I want a green lawn, not a green house (maybe wedgewood blue, but not mold green).

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June 16, 20170 found this helpful

I will be needing to do something similar in the near future so I will think about using this method.

Now you need to write another article describing the best way to clean the siding - for best results - where do you start - top or bottom? How large an area before stopping and rinsing? Common sense is good but does not always prevail in doing jobs like this.

Now I know we can probably find some information about this on the Internet but you do such a good job with explaining procedures that I believe many could benefit from your knowledge and experience. (Maybe I'm being lazy and asking for too much. )

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June 16, 20170 found this helpful

Like to know what source you found that peroxide "(It should never be used full strength on open wounds)" ?

Aso, why not add peroxide & soap to hose applicator with water mixed to remove mold?

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June 16, 20170 found this helpful

Well, you're right, Betty. This post is not a 'How To'. Its purpose is solely to inform the readers of my discovery. One I happen to think is very good. But since a couple of questions did arise, I will briefly address them.

I can't give an amount of time the solution should stay on the vinyl before rinsing because I don't know how long it remains active. And I don't think the timing is critical. The solution might stay active for up to an hour, (providing it isn't allowed to dry). But if the desired results are obtained in 5 minutes, there would be no need to leave it on much longer.

How large an area you cover at one time could vary. It may depend on how energetic you feel, and it could depend on the level of humidity as the solution would stop working (for the most part),when it dried. You might get best results by rinsing the solution before it dries. So, noting when it is beginning to dry would be a good guide as to when to stop applying it and start rinsing a given area. Another factor to consider is the amount of mold build up. Some areas could require a second application of the solution. I think common sense would prevail in this rather simple chore.

As for where to start.... the bottom. Just as when cleaning an interior painted wall or an area of tile, best results are obtained when starting at the bottom.

I know the peroxide does a very good job. But since I just discovered this, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Example: If I apply the solution with a hose end sprayer, would I be able to set the sprayer setting to where the solution would not be diluted with water to the point its effectiveness would be significantly reduced. I do hope I could. This way, the job would take minutes rather than a couple hours when applying the solution with a brush to an entire side of a house.

Thanks, Betty

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June 16, 20170 found this helpful

I know for a fact that peroxide can kill living tissue. With this knowledge, I don't need a source of information. But since you asked, there must be hundreds of sites on the Internet that will advise against using full strength peroxide on an open wound.

In 2 seconds I found this:

Hydrogen peroxide is corrosive to skin, eyes, and mucous membranes at high concentrations (>10%); lower concentrations may cause irritation. Symptoms become more severe as the concentration of hydrogen peroxide increases.Oct 21, 2014

ATSDR - Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs): Hydrogen Peroxide

https://www.ats  d=304&tid=55

As for using the solution from a hose end sprayer, I think I covered that.

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Anonymous
June 16, 20170 found this helpful

I put a small amount of tree tea oil also. Natural disinfectant. Has many uses.

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June 16, 20170 found this helpful

I am no pro, but I think it would be better to start cleaning at the top. If you start at the bottom then once you get to the top it all runs down. So why not start at the top and go with the flow of the water? My dad always told me when washing cars (not with peroxide of course..LOL) or anything you always want to start at the top, especially on a car because if you start at the bottom the highway grit and stuff gets on your mitt and you can scratch your paint as you move up.

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June 18, 20170 found this helpful

I hope you know that I just wanted a few "instructions" as I believe (from past posts) that you have a huge knowledge base and that you never post anything that you have not tried or researched. In that light, I think many can benefit from reading your articles, no matter the subject, as I have done and continue to do.

I certainly did not mean to imply that your article did not cover the intended subject - I just thought that you might wish to someday write an article on the best way to clean our siding as I have heard some horror stories of the mess some can make when attempting this job (most were using a power washer).

Thank you for answering my questions (even the simple-minded ones) as this will be my first attempt at this sort of thing and I would like to only have to do it once.

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June 18, 20170 found this helpful

I think I missed something without realizing it. Anyway, a 'how to' could be in the works. First, I would need to purchase a hose end sprayer. I bought 2 within the last 2 years and neither was worth bringing home.

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June 18, 20170 found this helpful

A power washer relies on mechanical force to clean the vinyl. I've never used one. I have read they can do damage to vinyl siding. Unless you own one, there's the expense of renting one and picking it up and returning it.

The peroxide would rely on chemical means, not mechanical force, to clean the vinyl. Actually, there may have been no need for me to use full force of the hose to rinse the vinyl.

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June 19, 20170 found this helpful

I copied this quote from the article I found below. Very interesting, it may explain some of my childhood scars. It also has instructions for using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds, if you choose to do so. It is has antiseptic qualities so perhaps it would depend on the wound.

"Now, hydrogen peroxide breaks the bacterial cell membranes open by attracting the electrons they contain. The fizzing you see is caused by the enzyme inside the bacteria known as catalase which reacts with the hydrogen peroxide and releases an oxygen molecule. This also means that hydrogen peroxide will kill the catalase in your healthy skin cells, so you should not overuse it, as it can actually promote the formation of scars."

http://woundcar  ydrogen-peroxide

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July 9, 20170 found this helpful

What you say sounds logical, but

I use to paint my interior walls at least every two years. I always washed them thoroughly before painting. I wondered which would be best, starting at top or bottom. I read several articles written for magazines by professional cleaners. They all said start at the bottom and gave sound reasons, though I've forgotten most of them. Mind you, this was on interior walls and a small section of wall was washed at a time. Starting at the bottom worked best for me.

You are right in that if you start at the bottom, when washing the top, dirt from the top will flow over the previously cleaned bottom. For me, the dirt flows over the cleaned area and keeps on flowing. It does not 'dirty up' the cleaned area. A water stream flushes it away.

Interior walls are a bit different in that the dirty water can run down onto the yet uncleaned surface causing dirty streaks that are much harder to clean.

The surface of vinyl siding is nowhere as porous as interior painted sheet rock walls, so dirty water running down over yet uncleaned surfaces may not pose as much a problem.

I start at the bottom on the inside (with good reason), and I guess that's why I start at the bottom on the outside. Truth be known, when it comes to cleaning exterior vinyl siding (especially with a power washer), it really might not make that much difference where you start.

Cars? I usually start at the top, too, but I wont wash a car with any grit on it. I splash soapy water over it and use a strong water stream to rinse grit away before I use a rag or mitt.

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July 9, 20170 found this helpful

Flattery will get you everywhere.

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June 18, 20170 found this helpful

I did mean to add that i think the tip about using peroxide in a spray bottle in the kitchen (and other places I'm sure) is an excellent idea and I have already put that to use (I have been using vinegar but like the peroxide better). I do not like germs/mold but hesitate to use bleach unless there is no other way.

thanks again and that was a great tip all by itself.

Betty

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June 18, 20170 found this helpful

Glad you like the tip. I've been using peroxide on faucets for years. It's good to see the foaming, knowing it's killing germs even if the faucet looked immaculate before you sprayed.

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June 19, 20170 found this helpful

I am glad you also brought up the fact that full strength peroxide can cause a lot of damage to tissue as I have heard of people using it full strength on an animal and causing severe damage. My granddaughter is a vet tech and she says some of the things people do to their animals (trying to help them) is really sad so maybe this information will help reduce that harm.

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June 19, 20170 found this helpful

A very dilute H2o2 solution can safely be used as a debriding agent on certain wounds (not fresh, open, raw wounds). I still do not advise its use, even in this manner, unless you know what you are doing.

Whatever you use to clean wounds, remember this: If it's strong enough to kill a bug, it's strong enough to kill living tissue.

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