Wood siding remains one of the most favored siding choices for many homeowners and builders to this day, even with the emergence of other alternative siding products. And while it’s durable, wood siding requires regular cleaning and maintenance to maintain its optimal function and appearance. 

Wood siding cleaning can be a meticulous task for any homeowner, and it’s a common home improvement project.

If you’re planning to start your wood siding cleaning project, there are a few factors you need to consider to ensure you’re doing this project properly and effectively. 

In this article, you’ll read about fundamental aspects you have to learn first, including the signs to look out for and tips to help you have a great wood siding cleaning process.


What is Wood Siding?

Wood siding, also known as wood cladding, is a building or cladding material commonly installed on the exterior of a building or house under a house wrap, acting as the outer covering to protect the structure from the elements.

It is available in a wide selection of styles, including wood planks, clapboard, boards or panels, tongue and grooves, shiplap, rectangular planks, plywood, and shingles.

Wood siding also has various styles, profiles, textures, and finishes available in the market, providing flexibility of choice for both residential and commercial use. Moreover, they can be treated with oil, stain, or paint.

There are different types of wood siding materials, including wood fiber cement, pine fir, cedar, redwood, spruce, fir, and engineered wood.


Signs It’s Time to Clean Your Wood Siding

Wood siding commonly lasts from 10 to 40 years but requires regular cleaning and a lot of maintenance. So how do you know when it’s time to clean the wood siding on your house?

Here are some of the telltale signs you need to keep an eye on.

If your wood siding starts to exhibit signs of algae, mildew, and mold growth on the surface, then it’s time to clean your wood siding now. These organisms, particularly mold and mildew, are a significant threat to your wood siding as they can degrade the wood and cause further damage to your structure after long periods if left unchecked.

You may also notice a foul or musty smell coming from a specific area of your wood siding, which can also be a symptom of mold growth since these areas are prone to moisture.

If you also notice your wood looking dull or dingy and weathered with other signs, including dirt, moss, chalky residue, grime, and stains on the surface of your wood siding, then this is your signal to start your wood siding cleaning project.


How to Clean Wood Siding?

Just like any other siding product, wood siding can accumulate elements like dirt, stains, mold, and mildew since it’s installed in the exterior of your house. Because of this, wood siding requires regular cleaning and maintenance to maintain its best shape and keep it functioning. 

But before you start your wood siding cleaning project, you should gather and prepare all necessary tools and materials first to ensure a hassle-free cleaning process.

Make sure you’re also wearing appropriate clothing like long sleeves, work pants, work gloves, work boots, and other safety gear like goggles and mask to protect yourself from injuries, especially if you’re going to handle chemical substances for cleaning. 

Moreover, ensure that the area near your wood siding is clear and without unnecessary obstructions, such as furniture or plants. Also, ensure that all nearby windows and doors in your cleaning project area are closed.

You can choose the suitable method for your preference from the different procedures below.

Using a Garden Hose

You can clean your wood siding by spraying water with a garden house. The water and its pressure will be sufficient to clean the surface, especially if your wood siding isn’t too dirty.

  1. Aim your garden house at a downward angle and work your way from the bottom of the wood siding towards the top. It will prevent the water from damaging the paint or finish.  
  2. If there is any dirt residue left, you can use a soft brush bristle with a wood siding cleaner and scrub the remaining grime thoroughly.
  3. Don’t forget to rinse the surface with water.

Hand Scrubbing

If you want to clean your wood siding the old-fashioned way, ensure you have the necessary tools and materials, including your homemade cleaning solution, a bucket of water, a garden-type sprayer, soft bristle brush, and a sponge mop.

  1. The first thing you need to do is prepare your homemade cleaning solution. You can create different kinds of cleaning solutions using ingredients are available in your home.
    • You can mix equal parts of vinegar and water and put it inside the garden sprayer.
    • You can also create a solution by mixing 227g of Trisodium Phosphate Powder (TSP) to 7.8L or two gallons of water inside the bucker. 
    • If you prefer a tougher cleaning solution, you can mix 1 quart of liquid bleach and a gallon of water and put the cleaning solution in a garden sprayer.
  2. If you will use powdered bleach instead, you have to mix equal parts of the powdered bleach and water and put the solution inside the garden sprayer.
  3. Next, apply your chosen cleaning solution onto your wood siding, either through a garden sprayer or brush, and leave it for 10 to 20 minutes to soften the dirt. 
  4. Once done, you can scrub the wood siding surface with a soft bristle brush or sponge mop, working small sections at a time until the entire surface is clean.

For higher parts, you can use a ladder and a sponge mop to clean the surface. Make sure to rinse off the solution and the dirt with a garden hose.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

When cleaning a wood siding, pressure or power washer is not recommended because it can, loosen caulk, gouge boards, and chip the paint. It can also shoot water behind the panels, boards, or caulk, which can promote wood rot, mold, and mildew growth—further damaging the wood siding.


Benefits of Wood Siding Cleaning

Your wood siding may accumulate environmental elements like dirt, mold, mildew, and chalk over time, which can be troublesome if left unchecked. So, cleaning your home exterior now and then is essential to keep it in the best shape and prolong its lifespan. 

Having clean wood siding will also increase the value of your home and enhance your curb appeal. 

Wood siding cleaning can be a particular task, but it’s not difficult—you only need to use a few basic tools, and you can do it yourself!

Use the tips we mentioned above to effectively and properly clean your wood siding at home.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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