How to Clean and Maintain Stucco Siding

New home with brick stucco siding and brown vinyl siding

When it comes to stucco, one of the best maintenance practices is keeping your siding clean and free of debris. It might sound simple, but this can help to ensure your investment lasts and looks great for as long as possible. With over 70 years of experience, Garden State Brickface and Siding serves Central and Northern New Jersey, including Sussex and Hunterdon counties. We provide stucco installation and repair, plus stucco painting and maintenance and other services. Here, we provide tips about how to clean stucco and maintain it properly.

Gather Cleaning Supplies and Equipment

To rid your stucco of mildew, mold, dirt, and other debris, as well as renew its appearance, you’ll first need to have some supplies on hand. It’s a common misconception that you can only clean stucco siding with a pressure washer. While this tool can help to streamline the process, it’s more than possible to get your siding squeaky clean with just a few household items. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bleach or Borax, dish soap, and concentrated exterior cleaner
  • Brush with soft bristles
  • Bucket
  • Caulking gun and exterior caulk
  • Hose and spray nozzle
  • Pressure washer with low-pressure nozzle (if you have it)
  • Protective gloves, goggles, and respiratory mask
  • Spray bottle

Take Precautions Before Cleaning

Before cleaning your stucco siding, be sure to examine the surface for any signs of damage, such as chips, cracks, or broken areas. Before wetting the surface, you must repair areas of concern to prevent mold and mildew from forming within the walls. This is where the caulking gun and exterior caulk come in. Use these tools to create a waterproof seal for smaller cracks and chips.

However, call in a professional if you notice large cracks and crevices –– you’ll likely need more of a repair than your household tools can handle, and it’s best to leave these jobs to professionals like those at Garden State Brickface and Siding.

While you’re inspecting the stucco, look for the growth of mildew, mold, or algae. Algae causes green stains on the stucco, while mold and mildew leave black stains. If you find any of these areas, treat them with Borax or bleach to prevent further growth.

Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

When problem areas have been addressed, you’re ready to mix your cleaning solution. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for correctly mixing a concentrated exterior cleaner with other chemicals. You should also wear your protective gear from this point until the cleaning is complete.

There are two main cleaning solution mixtures effective for cleaning stucco. These include:

  • With bleach: Combine one cup of liquid bleach with one gallon of water.
  • Without bleach: Combine ½ cup of Borax, two tablespoons of dish soap, and two gallons of hot water.

You can mix up the solution in your bucket and then set it aside until needed.

How to Clean Stucco With and Without a Pressure Washer

Whether you’re using a power washer or other tools, the first step is to spray the stucco with water. The siding should be completely drenched. If using a pressure washer, ensure you use a low-pressure spray tip nozzle and minimal pressure to avoid damage. The pressure washer should be held at a 45-degree angle and held at least two feet away from the siding’s surface. For those without a power washer, a hose and spray nozzle will do the trick.

Next, apply the cleaning solution to one section at a time. After spraying the stucco with the mixture, let it sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes (or up to 30 minutes for heavily stained areas). If there are any difficult stains or hard-to-reach areas, scrub them out gently with a soft-bristle brush. Then, rinse the stucco surface with water using the hose or power washer.

Notes About Cleaning Stucco

When you’re ready to bring your stucco back to life, choose a day with no wind or rain in the forecast. Stucco will take around 24 hours to completely dry after cleaning, so windy or rainy conditions can cause dirt and debris to stick.

How frequently you should clean your stucco depends on where you live. For most homes, once a year suffices, but two to three times a year is ideal. This is because stucco is porous and has an uneven texture, making it easy for dirt, mildew, mold, and other debris to accumulate on the surface. These elements eventually lead to damage, so regular cleaning, sanitization, and maintenance are a must. With that being said, you should always clean areas immediately that show signs of hairline cracks, followed by caulking them.

Learn More About Cleaning and Maintaining Stucco

Specializing in stucco, stone veneer, brickface, and vinyl siding installation and repair, Garden State Brickface and Siding is here to help you maintain your investment. Whether you’re curious about how to clean stucco or want to explore financing options for new siding, our team is standing by to assist. For more information, contact us today.