How to Pressure Wash Aluminum Siding

If you have aluminum siding on your home or you have driven past a home with aluminum siding that hasn’t been cleaned in some time, you will likely notice an overabundance of grime. Although the grime won’t harm the siding, it does detract from the curb appeal of the house.  Luckily, aluminum siding is relatively easy to clean, given the proper tools, time, and some elbow grease.

How can you pressure wash aluminum siding? Pressure washing aluminum siding is quite easy to do; however, you shouldn’t plan to rely on just the pressure washer to complete the job.  When using the pressure washer, you will also need to use a cleaning solution, garden hose, and a brush or cleaning cloth to do the job. 

Here are the steps you will need to follow when pressure washing your aluminum siding.

  1. Spray a small section of the siding with a hose.
  2. Apply the cleaning solution of your choice and let it sit.
  3. Using a brush or cloth, scrub the debris from the siding.
  4. Rinse using a pressure washer.

In this article, you will learn the best way to pressure wash your aluminum siding, the tools you need as well as the steps you need to follow when completing the job. 

Steps to Follow When Pressure Washing Aluminum Siding

When you are ready to pressure wash your aluminum siding, there are specific steps you will want to follow.  It is important to remember this is a process that will take time. Rushing the process will likely leave you with undesirable results.  

Step 1 (Optional): Put protective plastic over the landscape around the house, so you don’t cause unnecessary damage to plants and bedding. This step is entirely optional but could save you the hassle of repairing landscaping when you are done. 

Step 2:  Choose your starting location and prepare to work in small sections (working top to bottom). Don’t try to spray an entire side of the building when you are working. While this may seem like you are working efficiently, you are likely going to spend more time because the water will dry before you can thoroughly clean the area.  Therefore, small sections are ideal. Spray water on the siding with a regular hose or the pressure washer.

Step 3: Apply the cleaner of your choice. You can apply the cleaner with a spray bottle or a garden sprayer. Let the cleaner sit for the recommended amount of time to allow it to work.

Step 4: Using the siding brush of your choice, begin to scrub the siding gently.

Step 5: Rinse the cleaning solution off from the siding with the pressure washer. Only spray the water in a downward direction.  If you go up under the siding, water could get trapped and cause issues. You also want to use caution around doors and windows, so water doesn’t get trapped. 

Step 6: Allow the area to dry and then check to see if you are satisfied with the cleaning. If you notice dirt is still present, you may need to repeat the steps. For extremely dirty siding, the steps may need to be repeated several times. 

Note About Pressure Washer Setting: When you are using your pressure washer, you want to make sure the nozzle is at least 15 degrees.  Anything lower can cause damage to your siding. It is likely going to be most beneficial to use a 25-40-degree nozzle. This will provide pressure but also a larger spray area.  A good thing to remember is the higher the degree, the lower the pressure.  You also want to be sure that you are spraying at least 10-12 inches away from the house in a downward motion. 

Why Pressure Wash Aluminum Siding

While aluminum siding is made to be extremely durable and long-lasting, it does need to be cleaned to keep it looking beautiful. Many people choose to use aluminum siding because it is so easy to maintain.  Although easy to maintain, you need to plan on cleaning your siding at least once a year.  When determining the best time of year to wash your siding, you need to consider the climate.  

The best time of year to pressure wash a house is in the summer.  The summer will allow better weather to clean the siding, and the heat will help dry the siding, which will eliminate spots from uneven drying. Because the sun will help dry the siding, there is a less likely chance that dirt and other dust particles will attach. 

What Materials Do You Need? 

When you decide to pressure wash your house, you need to make sure you have the proper materials to complete the job.  Because this is something that you will likely be doing at least one time a year, it would be wise to purchase quality materials. 

Pressure Washer

A quality pressure washer is going to pay dividends when it comes to cleaning your siding.  There are many options when it comes to pressure washers. The first thing you need to determine is if you want to purchase an electric or gas-powered pressure washer

According to Consumer Reports, there are many pros and cons when it comes to each type of pressure washer.  When choosing, you must consider all these things:

Gas Powered Pressure Washer ProsElectric Powered Pressure Washer Pros
-High powered
-Can be used for a variety of projects outside
-Complete jobs quickly
-Usually made of metal for high durability
-Lightweight
-Can be used indoors and outdoors
-Relatively quiet when in use
-No exhaust fumes
Gas Powered Pressure Washer ConsElectric Powered Pressure Washer Pros Cons
-Very bulky and heavy
-Can only be used outside
-Strong exhaust fumes
-Can be dangerous because of the high pressure
-May take longer to complete large scale -jobs.
-Not as powerful
-Often made with plastic parts that aren’t as durable as metal

When looking at a pressure washer to use for the job, you need to take the following factors into account:

  • How large is the area you are going to clean?
  • How dirty is the area? Will you need a lot of power?
  • Is the area indoors or outdoors?

Once you have determined what your exact needs are, you are ready to begin searching for the best pressure washer to use. Here are some options that have received high ratings.

Electric Pressure Washers

Gas Pressure Washers

There are many different pressure washers on the market that you can explore. The above mentioned are all highly rated for durability and ease of use. No matter which you choose, make sure it is the best fit for cleaning your siding, which is a rather large-scale job if you are looking at an entire house. 

Cleaning Solutions

Perhaps you think of a pressure washer as a miracle tool that will quickly remove any built-up grime from your siding. While this is partially true, it cannot do the job adequately without the help of a cleaning solution.  While it may be tempting to make your solution, it would likely be more beneficial in terms of cost and time, to purchase a pre-mixed cleaner.  The pre-mixed cleaner should be specifically for aluminum siding.  

Remember, aluminum is metal, and while it is incredibly durable, certain chemicals are not safe to use on aluminum.  When looking at cleaning solutions, it is essential to find a cleaner that is not only for aluminum siding, but that is also formulated for the grime you are attempting to clean off the siding.  

  • If you are looking at just dust and dirt, the cleaner can be general.
  • However, if you are looking at mold or mildew, there will be a specific cleaner for that purpose.  While the other cleaners may work, it will likely take multiple treatments and several hours to clean the siding properly.

 Here are some cleaners you may want to check out: 

You will notice that most of these cleaners are a concentrated form, which means you won’t need much to get the job done.  When purchasing any cleaning product, you want to check to see how much area one bottle is projected to cover so you can ensure you have enough cleaning solution to complete the job.  If the job is significant and you feel you may need to repeat the process, you will want to order products accordingly. 

Aluminum Siding Brush

When you begin this project, you will need a good siding brush.  This is not just any brush; it has been specially designed and manufactured for use on aluminum siding.  Although aluminum siding is durable, you could accidentally damage it if the wrong brush is used to attempt cleaning. 

Some brushes offer the feature of having a section that water will flow from after you attach a garden hose.  The water flows lightly, so it is ideal for rinsing the cleaner off as you brush. This may be considered a novelty to you, and if that is the case, several simple brushes are just made to scrub the siding. 

Here are some siding brushes you may want to investigate:

DOCAZOO DocaPole 5-12 Foot Soft Bristle Scrub Brush

Unger HydroPower Bi-Level Soft Wash Brush

EVERSPROUT 7-to-19 Foot Scrub Brush

Garage Monkey Engineering Scrub Brush

Extension Poles

If you need to purchase an extension pole to use with your brush, you need to make sure you are purchasing a pole that will extend to the length you need to complete the job. If you are planning to purchase a brush that allows water to flow, you want to make sure the extension pole purchased will adapt easily. 

Here are some extension poles you may want to consider:

Unger Professional HydroPower Pole

DocaPole 6-24 Foot Extension Pole – Multi-Purpose Telescopic Pole

EVERSPROUT 6.5-to-18 Foot Telescopic Extension Pole 

Mr. LongArm 3212 Pro-Pole Extension Pole 6-to-12 Foot

You will notice there are many regular extension poles to choose from; however, the water flow pole options are minimal.  

Protective Gear

Yes, you are reading that correctly.  You need to have a certain degree of protective gear when you are using a pressure washer.  The power of the water can chip loose things and cause harm to you if it would happen to fly back in your face.  While you don’t need a fully protective get-up, you will need goggles, boots, gloves, and ear protection. 

Here are some highly rated choices for your protective gear.

Goggles

There are many different styles, brands, and types of goggles to choose from.  You need to make sure the goggles you choose are comfortable as well as able to offer you the highest degree of protection possible. 

SolidWork Safety Goggles

ToolFreak Spoggles

SolidWork Professional Safety Glasses

Boots

You don’t need to spend a ton on special boots, but you will likely want to invest in a good pair of rubber boots that will protect your feet from getting wet.  If you are cleaning an entire house, you will be in the water for quite a length of time. 

Servus Comfort Technology 14″ PVC Soft Toe Men’s Work Boots

XTRATUF Performance Series 6″ Men’s Full Rubber Ankle Deck Boots

Tingley 31151 Economy SZ11 Kneed Boot for Agriculture, 15-Inch, Black

Gloves

Gloves will be useful to protect your hands from both the water and the pressure of holding onto the handle of the pressure washer for an extended period.  Again, these don’t need to be fancy; they just need to serve the purpose of protecting your hands. 

Frogwear 8490 Insulated & Waterproof Work Gloves

DS Safety L6201 Waterproof Work Gloves

Heavy Duty PVC Coated Work Gloves

Ear Protection

Whenever you use any form of power tool or machinery.  According to a study completed by Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports, outdoor power equipment can begin to cause hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.  The time it takes to pressure wash a house will be considerably longer than this, so you need to protect your ears.

Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs

Professional Safety Earmuffs by Decibel Defense

HusqvarnaProfessional Headband Hearing Protectors

Challenges You May Face:

Pressure washing is a great way to clean the siding of your home efficiently, but it is not without problems.  Some of the things you may need to plan for are:

  • Landscaping damage – A plastic barrier will help, but it may not offer total protection.
  • Siding damage– Whenever you use a high-power tool, you run the risk of damage.  Although aluminum siding is quite durable, it isn’t unheard of to cause damage to it, mainly if the pressure washer is not used correctly. 
  • Mold and Mildew Stuck – Sometimes mold and mildew won’t come off even with the best effort.  If you have repeated the process multiple times and still have an abundance of mold or mildew, you may need to seek the help of a professional.  

Final Thoughts

Pressure washing your aluminum siding is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward way to maintain the appearance of your home.  It is best done when you have the proper equipment and time to devote to completing the project. Typically, the best results are seen when you commit to cleaning the siding at least once a year, usually during the warmer months.  Enjoy the look of a sparkling home after you are done.

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