A Pro-Painter’s Surprise Product for Sparkling Siding (and More)

How to clean dirt, mold and mildew off your house, your rain gutters and your resin-based patio furniture with little effort.

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vinyl siding wash scrubFamily Handyman

More than any other factor, the prep you do before painting affects the quality and durability of your paint job. Exterior walls may have tough-to-remove dirt, mold and mildew to deal with. Want to know how one pro cuts his cleaning effort to a minimum?

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Our expert’s secret weapon: Deck wash. It’s become his method of choice to prep exterior walls to paint. It works so well, in fact, that he says paint tends to look almost new after washing. Sometimes a wash does enough to renew the appearance of a dingy exterior all by itself. A thorough wash, however, does not correct other issues with aging paint jobs, such as peeling or bubbling, he notes. So it may not pay to completely abandon your plans for a fresh coat of house paint—but in the short term it can enhance your curb appeal.

Furthermore, he says that for this job, all deck washes perform pretty much the same, so that under $10 gallon of off-brand wash at the big-box store becomes a better buy than the expensive, name-brand stuff at the specialty store. He recommends watching for a big sale or rebate incentive and stocking up. (Olympic Stain Premium Deck Brightener and Wash gets good reviews on Amazon.)

Learn how to prepare your home for a new coat of paint.

More Great Uses for Deck Wash

Beyond using deck wash to prep exterior walls to paint, the product comes in handy for two other tough jobs: Cleaning rain gutters and resin-based patio furniture.

Learn the best secrets of pro painters.

The moisture that collects around rain gutters often causes mold and mildew to grow. This is tough to remove, particularly when working above your head on a ladder. Enter deck wash: Spray it on let it work, then rinse it off. The black mold and mildew yellows and then just rinses away.

See our exterior painting techniques and tips for the smoothest, longest-lasting coat of paint.

The same goes for the resin patio furniture. Even the white chairs get so clean they look practically new, according to our source.

Don’t Forget This Finishing Tip

He does offer one cautionary note, however: Always rinse the area where you use deck wash thoroughly. Undiluted deck wash yellows any vegetation it touches.

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Photo: Family Handyman

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