Cleaning Western Red Cedar – Did I Destroy It?
My house is clad is western red cedar with the smooth side facing out. The siding has been on the house for 3 years and hasn’t been cleaned to date.
I landed upon the method of applying oxiclean to the siding with a pump sprayer and then hosing it off which has worked well for getting the bulk of the mold and grime off.
After the siding had dried out, I noticed that the grain had raised and some wood fiber had come off. Is it to be expected as part of the cleaning process or did I screw something up?
Any tips on better ways to clean the siding are appreciated as well. Thanks in advance.
It all depends on what type of stain has been applied to the siding. One cup of bleach per gallon of TSP solution is generally a safe (and inexpensive) cleaner.
Good callout. The cedar hasn't been treated - 100% natural.
It's not uncommon for the grain to raise and some wood fibers to come off after cleaning western red cedar siding with a pressure washer or chemical cleaner like OxiClean. This is because cedar is a softwood and can be easily damaged by high-pressure water or harsh chemicals.
However, there are a few things you can do to minimize damage to the siding:
Use a lower pressure setting on your pressure washer or a gentler cleaning solution if possible.
Test a small, inconspicuous area of the siding before cleaning the entire house to ensure that the cleaning method is safe for the wood.
Work in small sections and rinse the siding thoroughly after applying the cleaning solution to prevent it from drying on the surface.
After cleaning, use a soft-bristled brush to lightly sand the surface of the wood to remove any raised grain or loose fibers.
Apply a protective finish to the siding after cleaning to help prevent further damage and protect it from the elements.