Updated on September 11, 2020
How to Clean Stucco
Having a stucco in your wall exudes an upscale and sophisticated impression in your home. This advantage makes your home more appealing especially if you are trying to resell it to the market. It can easily increase the resell market value of your house. However, there are also downsides as it is not low in maintenance as other options such as vinyl siding and brick homes.
Stucco is light color and porous in nature. It makes it prone to elements such as pollen stains, algae, dirt. mold and mildew. But there are several available options to prevent and drive with those pesky stains away. Using the right tools and procedures, you can successfully remove these stains.
1. Inspect your stucco
Inspect the stucco if there is any damage such as chips and cracks before cleaning it. Washing a damaged stucco can cause further damages as the water can get into cracks, resulting in mold and mildew to grow. If you found any flaw or damage to your stucco, having it repaired first prior to cleaning.
2. Repair any crack or chips in your stucco
If you found any crack, seal it with caulk. Exterior acrylic caulk can be used to repair any minor damages. Just choose a caulk that matches the color of your stucco exterior. This is available in most home improvement stores. If you find it hard to look for the color that perfectly matches your stucco wall, then settle for the closest one. As long as the damage is not too prominent, the mismatch in color won’t really be too obvious. After applying the caulk, give it at least a week to dry.
3. Examine the problem areas
Identify the causes of stains on your stucco. Is it mildew or algae? Is it just general dirt and debris? If you see a black stain that closely resembles dirt, it could be mildew. Investigate further. Does the black stain appear on the spot where water usually drips or accumulates? If yes, then it is most likely mildew. However, a green stain is most likely algae. You can use bleach to clean microorganisms such as algae and mildew.
4. Make a combination of cleaning solutions
Select a concentrated cleaner designed specifically for exterior surfaces. A description that says, “professional strength concentrate” is a viable option as it contains ingredients like acetic acid and sodium o-phenylphenate. Carefully read the instruction and mix the concentrated cleaner and bleach. You can also add some hot water to make it more potent. This mixture of cleaning solution helps in killing the microorganisms such as algae and mildew.
5. Use a cleaning solution that is alternative to bleach
If you don’t want to use bleach due to some allergy or sensitivities, you can opt for Borax-based solutions. Borax is a natural substance that is equally effective as bleach in killing molds and mildews but less toxic than bleach. For this solution, you will need hot water, dish soap, and Borax. Combine the three ingredients in a large container. You can refer to this measurement: 2 gallons of warm to hot water, 2 tablespoons of dish soap, and 1/2 cup of Borax.
6. Wash the wall with water using a pressure washer
Pressure washers have different nozzles that spray different amounts of water pressure. Since stucco is delicate, choose a low-pressure spray tip nozzle to the pressure washer’s hose. Cover the entire wall with water before applying the solution.
7. Apply the cleaning solution
Using a pump sprayer, spray the cleaning solution. Segregate your wall into different sections and start spraying your cleaning solution to the first section. It is recommended to focus on heavy stains and start from the bottom and work your way to the top until you have covered the entire wall.
8. Let the cleaning solution sit for five to ten minutes
To ensure that the cleaning solution works effectively and penetrates the stains thoroughly. After a few minutes, gently spray the wall with water while you let the cleaning solution penetrates your wall. Since stucco is porous and usually soaks up water, you have to add some water to keep the cleaning solution activated. For walls stained with algae, you have to keep the cleaning solution for at least thirty minutes.
Scrub the wall
Scrub the stained spots using a rotating brush while still soaked with a cleaning solution. You need to scrub more on areas with heavy stains. Scrubbing helps to loosen the grime and makes it easier to rinse.
9. Rinse off the cleaning solution
Rinse off the first section of the wall first to wash away the cleaning solution and specks of dirt. Start with the top and working your way down to the bottom. Rinse and finish each wall section thoroughly.
10. Check the stucco carefully
Make sure you haven’t missed any spots of dirt, examine it carefully. If you find any remaining dirt, repeat the application of cleaning solution, and rinse it off with water. Let it dry for at least twenty-four hours.