How to Clean Rust Stains from Vinyl Siding?




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Rust stains are a common problem on vinyl siding. They can be difficult to remove, especially if they have been there for some time. Rust stains will require more than just scrubbing with soap and water.

There are products available for this purpose, but you may find it easier to use one of the methods recommended in this article.

What are the causes of rust stains on vinyl siding?

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The first thing to do is identify the cause of the problem, which will show you how to effectively clean rust stains from vinyl siding.

There are three different possible causes: metal, dirt, or fertilizer. Let’s look at each one and its corresponding solution:

1. Metal

If your siding has rust stains due to old metal gutters or downspouts, then you will need to replace them. Water is the number one cause of rust stains on siding with metal flashing and gutter issues being the primary culprits. Once water hits metal, it is very likely that you will end up looking at rust stains on your siding.

2. Dirt

If the rust stains are caused by dirt, then there isn’t much to worry about. Dirt and fertilizers used on plants can cause discoloration of vinyl siding through an increase in iron levels that will most likely happen during springtime.

It’s not uncommon for sprinkler systems or strong wind gusts to stir up dirt and deposit it on your siding. Insufficient washing can result in the formation of rust on your vinyl siding.

If the dirt or grime that’s amassed on the siding isn’t properly cleaned off, over time, it will cause rust stains to form on the surface.

3. Fertilizer

Fertilizers with high iron content, used on lawns, can also cause vinyl siding to discolor. Even though keeping your lawn healthy and fertilized is important, beware of the rust it can cause on your vinyl siding.

4. Clogged gutters

This is another source of rust stains on vinyl siding. Excess water can pool up around the gutters, and when it rains, leaks can occur in them, causing excess amounts of iron-rich water to seep onto the siding.

5. Acid rain

It is another cause of rust stains on vinyl siding. When acid rain falls, it can leach iron from other things in the atmosphere and deposit it onto a surface, causing rust stains to form. Acid rain often contains sulfates and nitrates, which are chemicals that can damage a surface if left untreated.

6. Natural aging

This can be another cause of rust stains on vinyl siding. When a surface gets older, it can begin to wear down and lose some of its color. This decrease in color can lead to rust stains beginning to form.

How to Clean Rust Stains from Vinyl Siding Using a Pressure Washer gif maker 16

Pressure washers can quickly and efficiently remove rust stains from vinyl siding by blasting away at the stains with a pressurized stream of water. This method will make the siding look as good as new, but it does come with some risks.

Things to consider before performing this cleaning procedure:

  • You should always inspect your siding to make sure that there is not any loose or flaking paint. Pressure cleaning can damage the siding if there is a problem with the paint under the rust stains.
  • Removing rust from vinyl siding is not as easy as removing marks from your clothes, but it’s doable if you use the right materials to tackle this DIY project.
  • Make sure you have the right safety gear and use homemade cleaning products (containing ingredients like baking soda and vinegar) instead of chemical cleaners to save money.
  • You need to remove the surface rust with a wire brush or steel wool, then catch the loose residue with a damp cloth.
  • Next, you want to sprinkle some baking soda over the stained area. Pour some vinegar over the baking soda, then let it bubble up into a foamy paste that you can use to scrub at the stains.
  • You want to avoid using any brushes or sponges because they will just spread the rust around on the vinyl siding.
  • Once all of your stains are removed, take out your pressure washer. You want to use a low-pressure setting so you can flush out leftover baking soda and rust particles. Once you are finished, the siding should look as good as new.
  • Make sure you are always wearing safety goggles when using your pressure washer because high water pressure can cause damage to your eyes if they stray too close.
  • Also, make sure that your siding is thoroughly dry before you use water on it because “wet surfaces can pose a slipping hazard,” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Select the right nozzle for your pressure washer. It should produce a strong, concentrated spray with lots of turbulence that can effectively remove rust from vinyl siding. The best choice is the one with a 0 – 40 degree spray, it is the narrowest available spray.
  • Use a detergent that will help dissolve the rust, and then remove it with a pressure washer. You can mix up your own solution or use a commercial rust remover product.

How to Clean Rust Stains from Vinyl Siding? gif maker 17

Cleaning rust stains from vinyl siding is a common problem faced by homeowners. Rust-stained siding considerably devalues homes and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.

The process can be moderately cumbersome but does not require professional help for the most part. There are many ways to clean rust stains on vinyl siding, and we’ll be going over a few of them here.

Method 1: Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

The first method to clean rust stains from vinyl siding is by using baking soda and vinegar together in equal amounts to form a thick paste that can be applied directly to the stained area.

Allow it to dry thoroughly, then scrub vigorously with a stiff brush and hose off with water. Repeat the process as required till you see satisfactory results.

Method 2: Using Bleach

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Bleach is an extremely powerful cleaning agent and can be used to remove rust stains from vinyl siding if handled carefully. Dissolve 1/2 cup of bleach into a bucketful of water, then brush it onto the stained area using a stiff brush.

The siding may get slightly damaged in some cases due to the bleaching agent but should recover with time if not immediately.

Method 3: Sanding

Sanding is an option for rust stains on vinyl siding that are set in pretty badly. First scrub off as much of the rust stain as you can, then sand the area till you see the familiar sheen of the vinyl siding.

This method works best if sanding is done after applying a cleaning agent to the rust stain. Allow it to dry, then sand it again to get a smooth finish.

Method 4: Using Vinegar and Citric Acid

Many rust stains on vinyl siding are caused by iron run-off from sprinklers. For this reason, citric acid is an option if the rust stains on your siding are due to this.

Add one tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of citric acid, then add water to get a solution with the consistency of paint. Apply it to the rust-stained area and scrub vigorously, then hose off with water.

Method 5: Using Vinegar

Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the paste on the rust stain and let it stay for an hour or overnight before scrubbing with a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water when you are done.

Method 6: Using a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are extremely useful for removing rust stains from vinyl siding. The powerful jet of water acts like sandpaper to scrub away the rust stains and is a great way to clean rust stains from vinyl siding. This method also helps remove any loose paint or material that might be covering the stained area.

Method 7: Sanding and Buffing

Sanding and buffing are some of the most reliable methods for removing rust stains on vinyl siding, especially if done regularly as preventive maintenance. Sanding removes the roughness of rust stains, after which buffing restores the sheen to the area.

Method 8: Using Oxalic Acid

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Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

The most common option is to scrub with oxalic acid because it works well on stubborn rust stains. However, it is harmful to the environment and human health.

Method 9: Using Hydrochloric Acid

Another option is to use hydrochloric acid because it does not damage the environment as much as oxalic acid. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid in a spray bottle.

Spray the mixture on the stain and let it stay for about fifteen minutes before scrubbing with a toothbrush. Rinse immediately with clean water to avoid damage to your home’s siding.

Method 10: Using Wire Brush

If you don’t want to mix chemicals or if they do not work, there are some other methods that you can try. Try using a wire brush to remove rust stains from vinyl siding, or use other tools designed for cleaning metal surfaces.

You should also use other household ingredients like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. If you are doing this yourself to save money over hiring someone else to do the job, then please make sure that you read and follow all safety instructions.

Method 11: Using Chemical Strippers

One last thing that you should try if your rust stains won’t go away is to get a chemical stripper (you can get this at almost any hardware store) and put it on the stain, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, and then scrape it off with something like a razor blade. Make sure you put strips of tape on your siding before trying this, just in case it gets on the paint.

There are many ways to clean rust stains on vinyl siding using homemade cleaning agents, and these are just a few options. Be sure to take care of rust stains on vinyl siding as soon as you notice them to prevent further damage.

Final Thoughts

If you live in an area with rust stains on your vinyl siding, it is essential to take care of them as soon as possible. The sooner they are removed, the less chance there will be for their damaging effects to spread and cause more damage than necessary.

In this article, we looked at several ways that you can use to clean these troublesome stains from your home’s exterior surface. If you have any questions or would like some help assessing how much work needs to be done around your house, contact us today. Thanks For Reading!

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