How To Clean Wood Siding Before Painting

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

When you’re painting a house, it’s a good idea to clean all surfaces before you paint. This means cleaning the windows, doors, and wood siding for an exterior makeover. But there are two different types of exterior wood: rough sawn and smooth planed. And they need to be cleaned differently before you paint them!

In this article, you’ll learn the best tricks and tips for cleaning wood siding.

Do you know which type of exterior wood your home is made from? This information will help determine how to clean rough sawn or smooth planed siding before painting.

Steps to Clean Wood Siding Before Painting

Here are a few steps that you need to follow to clean wood siding before painting

1. Clean smooth planed siding:

Use a pressure washer and detergent to remove loose dirt, moss, and mildew. A pressure washer has a wand with a rotating nozzle that sprays water at high speed. Simply spray the siding to clean it.

Make sure you wear protective clothing – safety goggles, gloves, etc. Also, make sure to avoid any electrical or gas lines near where you’re working with the pressure washer.

Clean smooth planed siding
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2. Clean rough sawn siding:

Rough sawn wood is common around older homes. It’s called rough after the surface of the wood has been planed down with a blade but not sanded. On this type of siding, you can see small saw marks and a variety of color variations.

To clean it completely before painting, use a scrub brush or sandpaper. For sanding, use a sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper.

Don’t sand the wood excessively; you can damage the siding.

To make sure you don’t miss any areas, begin with a corner and work your way down and across each side of the house in sections that are about 2 feet wide. Work your way from the bottom to the top of each section, cleaning all surfaces.

Also Read: How to Pressure Wash Wood Siding – A Definitive Guide

3. Use Homemade Wood Siding Cleaner

Most wood cleaners require you to let the solution sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with water.

But if you’d like to skip all that, just mix one cup of bleach into a gallon of warm water and then scrub the siding with this homemade cleaner. Use a sponge or brush, but avoid using steel wool or abrasive sponges that can scratch the surface.

After you’ve cleaned and rinsed the siding, let it dry for two hours in direct sunlight before painting.

4. Remove Mold or Mildew With Bleach and Water

Use a mixture of one part bleach and three parts water to wipe down the siding. Don’t rinse it off; just let it dry in direct sunlight for about two hours before painting. You’ll know the mold or mildew is gone if the surface feels smooth after wiping it down with the solution.

Remove Mold or Mildew With Bleach and Water
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5. Choose The Correct Siding Cleaner

There are plenty of wood cleaners available at home improvement stores, but choose one that is low in acidity so it won’t damage the siding.

Additives may include chlorine bleach or oxalic acid. If you prefer something more natural, look for an oxygenated bleach cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime without chlorine bleach. Also, look for biodegradable soaps and detergents

If you’d like to avoid using a cleaner with chlorine bleach in it, add one cup of white vinegar to two gallons of water and wipe down the siding. Let it dry in direct sunlight before painting.

Cleaning wood siding will leave the house looking fresh and clean for the new coat of paint. After you’ve pressure washed, scrubbed, or sanded it, just let it dry in direct sunlight before painting.

Why is Cleaning Important Before Painting?

The siding is the part of a house that takes a lot of abuse from rain, snow, and sun. If you want your paint job to last as long as possible, it’s important to make sure your siding is clean before painting it.

Exterior wood has natural pores that soak up moisture. When they’re dirty or clogged with algae, mildew, or moss, they won’t be able to do their job. When water sits on a dirty surface, it can actually cause the wood to rot and decay quickly.

For that reason, the best time to clean your siding is right before you plan on painting it. Then when you paint an area of wood siding, you can ensure that it will be clean and free of debris.

If you’d like to get the siding really clean before painting, give us a call or contact your local paint store for expert advice on how best to get the job done.

Also Read: Wood Clapboard Siding VS. Vinyl Siding-Which is the best?

Precautions to Take Before Cleaning The Siding

Here are a few precautionary measures that you need to take before cleaning the siding.

Precautions to Take Before Cleaning The Siding
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Wear Safety Goggles

If you use any chemicals, make sure to wear safety goggles, chemical gloves, and rubber boots to protect your skin.

Keep Off Children And Pets From The Area

You should keep off the children or pets from that area until dry. You can also cover window wells with plastic sheeting for their protection.

Avoid Electrical Connections

Do not use a pressure washer to clean the siding near any electrical connections or outlets.

Avoid Acidic or Oil-Based Solvents

You should avoid using acidic or oil-based solvents when cleaning. Also, you must take care of these safety measures to prevent accidents from happening.

What To Avoid While Painting Wood Siding?

There are several things that you should avoid while painting wood siding.

  • Do not start the job in direct sunlight because it can cause your paint to dry too quickly and bubble up.
  • Also, do not try to apply any primer over top of oily stains like mold or mildew. To remove these stains, use a mixture of bleach and water and let it dry before applying primer.
  • Do not paint when there is a strong wind or rain unless you use an anti-drip solution because the siding will become moist and lead to peeling and cracking of paint.
  • Avoid letting excess paint drip on windows, doors, or other areas that you don’t plan on painting. Wait until the paint has thoroughly dried to remove any excess material.
  • Always test for lead on older homes or if you are unsure of what type of paint is on there at the moment.


Whether you pressure wash, scrape, or sand the wood siding before painting it, make sure to always clean it thoroughly. If you are looking for a company that can help with cleaning Wood Siding Before Painting in Massachusetts, then contact us today.



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