Can You Use Oxiclean to Clean Siding Before Painting?

can you use oxiclean to clean siding

Siding is a popular choice because it provides a strong layer of protection for the exterior of homes.

But even though siding means you do not have to paint, you may want to change the color of the siding itself from time to time.

A fresh coat of paint is cheaper than adding new siding, but the question is, can you use popular products such as Oxiclean to clean the siding – before you paint over them?

Molds can create an unsightly, green tinge to the siding that makes it quite unattractive in appearance.

Although Oxiclean does destroy mold, it does not harm most plants and the environment, so you can safely use it to clean the siding of your house.

Knowing that, let’s know what Oxiclean is and then check how to use it for cleaning…

What is Oxiclean?

Simply put, Oxiclean is an all-purpose cleaner that incorporates hydrogen peroxide to remove the toughest stains, debris, and organisms such as mold or mildew.

Whether your siding is aluminum, cedar shingles, or vinyl, it can be cleaned using products such as Oxiclean.

IMO, you should clean your siding with oxygen bleach (like OxiClean) periodically, even if you do not plan to paint it anytime soon.

What is the main ingredient in OxiClean?

Sodium percarbonate (Na2CO3•H2O2) is the main active ingredient in OxiClean™ formulation.

It’s an adduct of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which, when dissolved in water, breaks down into hydrogen peroxide.

Is OxiClean dangerous – what is it good for?

Since the powder contains sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate, it’s harmful if swallowed.

You should therefore avoid getting in direct contact (with skin or eyes) while using this powder or solution.

When mixed in warm or hot water Oxygen is released which targets the stains brilliantly.

Not only as a versatile stain remover (both inside and outside the home), but it is also used by cloth diaperers to disinfect and brighten cloth diapers.

This also means that the product can also be used on various types of clothing, carpet, and upholstery.

OxiClean is many times also used as a sanitizer, disinfectant, fungicide, sporicide, and chemical sterilizer.

How to Clean Siding with Oxiclean?

How you use Oxiclean will depend partly on the type of siding you have, but the process is basically the same.

Remember to mix the Oxiclean in water according to the instructions on the packaging.

1- Aluminum:

Aluminum is a non-porous surface where stains can easily be removed using Oxiclean.

Simply create the mixture, then spray it onto the siding.

2- Vinyl:

Because vinyl is also not porous, the mold and mildew that sticks to the surface can be easily washed away.

Simply create the mixture and apply it to the surface, then wash away with a power washer.

3- Wood:

Because of the porous nature of the wood fibers, it is subject to stains from road salt, tree sap, and mildew.

Chlorine bleach should not be used as it only damages the wood.

Apply the solution to the siding and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Then, rinse off the Oxiclean (using a power washer) as it will have done its work.


Remember that you should not leave the solution on the surface for too long as it can be damaging.

Also, do not store the solution in a closed container for more than 5-6 hours.

This can build up the pressure inside and can rupture to cause injury.

Can I Mix Oxiclean and Vinegar?

A mixture of distilled vinegar and regular unscented OxiClean can act as a strong stain remover that can be used for various household cleaning purposes.

Not only it can cut through tough debris and oily substances but also the stains that are otherwise hard to remove.

To use vinegar and OxiClean together, you can follow these easy steps…

  • Add a scoop of OxiClean with vinegar to form a paste, and use it to scrub clean the surfaces like siding, countertops, bathtubs, etc.
  • In a bucket, add a scoop of OxiClean and a cup of vinegar. Dilute it with two quarts of water and stir well. You can use this solution for mopping or washing walls.
  • Combine one cup of vinegar, one scoop of OxiClean, and two quarts of hot water to make a carpet cleaner solution. You can also use this solution for laundry treatment.

Is Power Washing Safe for Cedar Siding?

While power washing, if you use high-pressure, it can damage the softwood siding and surfaces, particularly cedar shingles.

However, if you use the low setting, it can remove the Oxiclean along with old paint without causing any damage.

Remember that the flow of water itself and not necessarily how hard it hits the surface is what rinses away the Oxiclean.

You can spot clean a cedar fence using Oxiclean by following these steps…

  • Put on protective gloves and eyewear.
  • Spray nearby plants with water to protect them in case any Oxiclean splatters
  • Mix ½ cup Oxiclean with 1 gallon of hot water
  • Dip brush into the mixture and scrub 

Once you have cleaned the surface of the siding, let it fully dry before you apply the first coat of paint or primer.

Be sure that you have enough time to apply all the coats of paint necessary, so check the weather reports for the following week to ensure the paint has sufficient time to dry.

How Do You Clean Mildew Off of Cedar Siding?

The best way to clean cedar shake siding, and get mildew off, is by using an oxygen bleach solution.

It’s available in a powder that can be mixed with water.

Simply apply the oxygen bleach solution to your cedar siding and keep the surface wet for 15 minutes.

Removing the natural color from the siding helps in removing the mildew and deep-cleaning the siding.

If you still notice the stains on the wood, lightly scrub the siding and finally rinse with clear water from a garden hose.

Related Questions

What can you use instead of Oxiclean?

If you do not find Oxiclean near you or do not want to use it for any reason, the best bet is to buy and use pure sodium percarbonate as an alternative.

Pure sodium percarbonate is stronger than true OxiClean (which contains sodium percarbonate with other ingredients) but does not contain any unnecessary additives, as you may find in some store-bought cleaning products.

Another good alternative to Oxyclean is a mix of hydrogen peroxide with washing soda.

Is it safe to use OxiClean and bleach together?

The short answer is no; you should never mix OxiClean and bleach to use together.

Mixing the two can be extremely dangerous as OxiClean breaks down into hydrogen peroxide which can then combine with chlorine bleach to create poisonous gases with heat.

Breathing these toxic fumes can be fatal, especially if you are in a room with poor ventilation.

How often should you clean and stain cedar siding?

Cedar cleaning and stain treatments should last 5-7 years, provided you have cleaned them well and applied a high-quality paint or stain.

Depending on the upkeep and weather conditions, you may expect your cedar sidings to last much longer.

I have seen homeowners who cleaned and recoated their cedar shakes every two years, and they are still in tip-top shape after a decade.

Final Thoughts

Oxiclean acts like a powerful mold-eliminating agent, and it works very well for cleaning up the sidings before staining or painting.

Since it’s also a good alternative to chlorine bleach, not only can you use it on hard surfaces but also on different types of fabrics as well.

Depending on the surface and severity of the stain, you may need to use different methods and tools for cleaning.

But the results you get are more than overwhelming.

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