Carefully! Not to scare you but the use of harsh chemicals on vinyl siding is not a good idea and can be an expensive mistake. Example: We were once called out on a vinyl siding repair at a auto body shop. The owner wanted to clean his vinyl siding so he sprayed engine cleaner on it. WOW! The chemicals in the engine cleaner sucked chemicals in the vinyl siding that allowed the vinyl siding to remain flexible. Result the vinyl siding quickly became very brittle and had to all be replaced. Fortunately he only did this on a few walls and not the entire structure.
Here is what the VSI recommends:
A list of commonly accepted cleaners is provided in the box below. Be sure to spot check any general or stain specific cleaner before using it on a large section of siding. After removing the stain, rinse thoroughly with water. Do not use cleaners containing organic solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, nail polish remover, or furniture polish or cleaners. They can affect the surface of the siding.
General vinyl siding cleaners (e.g., Simple Green, Nice & Easy, Armor All, etc.) can be used to clean dirt, bird droppings, and spider webs. Stain-specific cleaners are listed below. Rinse all cleaners with water before they dry.
Bubble Gum – Fantastik, Murphy Oil Soap, solution of vinegar (30%), water (70%) and Windex
Crayon – Lestoil
DAP (oil-based caulk) – Fantastik
Felt-tip Pen – Fantastik, water-based cleaners
Grass – Fantastik, Lysol, Murphy Oil Soap, Windex
Lithium (car) Grease – Fantastik, Lestoil, Murphy Oil Soap, Windex Motor Oil-Fantastik, Lysol, Murphy Oil Soap, Windex
Paint – Brillo Pad, Soft Scrub
Pencil – Soft Scrub
Rust – Fantastik, Murphy Oil Soap, Windex
Tar – Soft Scrub
Top Soil – Fantastik, Lestoil, Murphy Oil Soap
Other Useful Cleaning Vinyl Siding Resources: Certainteed – Cleaning Vinyl Siding .pdf
*Cleaning Materials are listed in alphabetical order.
*VSI [or Siding4u] does not endorse products or processes and makes no warranties for the products referenced herein. Reference to proprietary names is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to imply that there are not equally effective alternatives.
VSI stands for the Vinyl Siding Institute and their website is www.VinylSiding.org