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Article by george@lockstep.media / May 1st, 2022

How to Clean Stucco: An In-depth Guide

Your home is your most significant investment. It’s where you spend most of your time, and it’s full of the things that mean the most to you. But your home is also a significant financial asset—one you need to protect!

When it comes to home improvement, knowing how to clean different types of surfaces and materials without damaging them is an essential part of keeping your home in good condition.

The stucco on the exterior of your home (or office) provides a beautiful, durable protective barrier against the elements, but it can become damaged over time. If you want to keep your stucco looking its best and safeguard your home from costly repairs, stay tuned!

This guide will coach you through the ins and outs of effectively cleaning stucco, which will not just boost the beauty of your home but also strengthen the barrier that covers it.

Modern house facade insulation under plastering, stucco and wood wall siding. The combination of stucco and wood siding, wood cladding on the external house wall.

Cleaning Stucco the Correct Way

Keeping the exterior of your home or place of business looking clean and beautiful is essential, but not all surfaces are created equal.

Typically made from a mixture of limestone, concrete, and sand, stucco is considered environmentally friendly since its core ingredients are all naturally occurring materials that are easily accessible. Additionally, stucco is an excellent insulator and can significantly cut down on heating and cooling costs.

When it comes to building materials, stucco is a popular choice among many home and business owners today since it’s often used to improve the appearance of residential and commercial property exteriors. However, stucco walls will need proper care and regular cleaning sessions to maintain their beauty.

Because of its textured surface, stucco can accumulate a significant amount of dirt, grime, mold, and algae. Over time, these pollutants can not only cause a property’s appearance to age, but they can also cause long-term damage to the structure itself.

As a result, you must pay close attention to your stucco surface and thoroughly clean it. Stucco surfaces should be cleaned at least twice a year, ideally three times a year.

What is the best way to clean exterior stucco? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through cleaning a stucco wall properly so that the surface remains in pristine condition for years to come!

Step 1: Thoroughly Inspect Your Stucco Surface

When repairing it, checking for signs of damage on the stucco surface should be your first order of business. Keep in mind that stucco is an architectural material, just like brick and stone. That means that water can come into contact with the material and cause considerable damage.

If the surface looks immaculate from a distance, then you’re in a good starting place. But it’s not time to celebrate yet. Take a closer look for any cracks, gaps, or other openings that may exist, carefully noting all of the damaged areas. 

You can do this by running a hand over the surface, or using a flashlight to look for irregularities. Make sure to check any corners or edges, since these places tend to show signs of wear first. Check underneath any protruding parts (like windowsills) for signs of deterioration. 

If you wash your stucco without inspecting the surface, water may enter through the cracks. Mold, mildew, and other unwanted fungi can begin to grow due to this situation.

As many people are aware, Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments. In some cases, this can even result in notable water damage to the interior of your house.

Step 2: Seal Up All Cracks and Gaps

If you discover any cracks in your stucco surface, you must repair them before proceeding with the washing process. If you don’t, you risk damaging your stucco further, leading to expensive repairs down the road.

Minor damages can be easily repaired by the homeowner, though it may take several sessions if it’s your first time. Hairline cracks and minor chips are typical examples of the type of damage you might encounter.

If you’re new to this, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  1. Caulk gun: the go-to tool for sealing cracks as good as new
  2. Paintbrush: an additional applicator for more natural results
  3. Stucco patch or caulk: the substance used to fill in cracks and gaps
  4. Putty knife: scrapes away excess filler for that pro look and feel
  5. Soft-bristle brush: for hands-on scrubbing of persistent stains
  6. Sand or other gritty material: to achieve the same texture as real stucco
  7. Sandpaper (optional): for finer smoothing or reshaping the area 

For minor repairs, choose an exterior acrylic caulk that best matches the shade of your stucco’s surface to seal the cracks and gaps. This is available at the majority of major home improvement retailers and local stores.

To cover the cracked or chipped area, apply caulk to it with a caulk gun and paintbrush. After that, you can apply sand or any other gritty material to the surface to mimic the texture of the stucco. When using the gritty material to the caulk, make sure to do so while the caulk is still wet. 

Fortunately, stucco is a relatively forgiving material, and you can quickly repair small chips or cracks with plaster or stucco fill. However, ensure that the filling has had sufficient time to dry completely before attempting to clean it. After a week of clear skies and dry weather, your repaired stucco exterior should be ready for washing.

Please keep in mind that if the damage is severe, it is recommended that you seek professional assistance.

Step 3: Rinse Diligently

Rinsing the surface is a vital but often overlooked step! So, let’s talk about it.

When you have finished inspecting and repairing any cracks in the stucco surface, it is time to rinse the stucco surface meticulously. You’ll need to start by rinsing the surface thoroughly with water. This will remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface.

It’s crucial to remove as much loose material as possible before you begin washing because if it isn’t removed first, it will just get pushed into any cracks and holes in the stucco by your scrubbing action. This could lead to further damage to your stucco wall—so be sure to rinse carefully!

You can accomplish this with a regular garden hose and an attachment, or with a pressure washer if you prefer. When power washing your stucco area, select a nozzle with an angle of 25 or 40-degrees and a pressure of no more than 1,500 PSI.

Because stucco surfaces are porous and delicate, applying too much pressure can cause damage. The distance from the nozzle to the stucco surface should be at least 24 inches in length. Avoid damaging the surface by rinsing it with a consistent stream at a 45-degree angle.

Step 4: Applying Cleaning Solution

Knowing how to clean stucco stains means understanding which cleaning solution to use. Lighter colors typically can be removed using a solution of liquid dish soap and water.

If there is mold or mildew growth, you will need to use a more robust solution such as bleach and water to clean the area. You are combining equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle for the former.

Another recourse is to use a mix of bleach and a concentrated stucco cleaner to clean the surface. You can purchase this type of cleaning agent at any home improvement store. Make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions on the label before using.

Typically, however, you will need to combine the cleaner with either bleach or hot water. Bleach aids in the elimination of mildew and algae. When working with bleach, always use rubber gloves and goggles to protect your eyes.

If you do not want to use bleach, you can substitute a solution of dish soap and Borax instead. Boric acid (the main ingredient in Borax) is an effective mold-killing agent that is less toxic than bleach. For this cleaning solution, simply grab a large mixing bowl or bucket and combine 2 to 3 gallons of warm water with about 1/2 cup of Borax and two tablespoons of liquid dish soap.

It’s time to put your cleaning solution to use now that you’ve prepared it. When pressure washing stucco, use a 65-degree nozzle tip to apply the solution at a downward angle. Keep a distance of about 18 to 24 inches between the end of the nozzle and the stucco surface.

Allow for approximately 5 to 10 minutes of resting time after applying the solution. It is indispensable not to allow the solution to dry out, as this will make rinsing it off more difficult. By lightly spraying it with water now and then, you can keep it from drying out.

Step 5: Scrub Time

OK, this is the part we’re sure you’ve been waiting for—it’s the scrub time! Stains on your stucco walls that are hard to get rid of will need a little extra help from a brush. Take some time with them. Then, scrub the stains away with a soft-bristle brush, either by hand or with the use of a revolving brush attachment. 

Scrub the stains in segments, applying mild pressure while maintaining a strong but not harsh touch on the surface. This will prevent damage to your wall while still getting those stubborn spots off!

Let’s be honest—you’re not spending your weekend trying to get stains off your stucco walls because it’s fun. You’re doing it because you want a clean, stain-free house or office building. Well, that’s what you’re going to get with just one more step.

Step 6: Repeat the Rinsing Process

You’re almost done! Once you have finished scrubbing the stains off your stucco surface, it is essential that you, as a final step, thoroughly rinse down the area again to remove any detergent solution left on the surface. If done correctly, it will remove all of the pollutants as well. This will help protect your stucco wall and ensure that it remains as clean and bright as possible.

Work your way down the surface with the pressure washer, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom. You can use a nozzle tip with a 25 or 40-degree angle for this. If you choose the 25-degree tip, make sure to keep your feet at least 24 inches away from the project wall to avoid causing any harm to it.

Doing it Yourself

Sure, you can clean the stucco on your home yourself, but should you? Can you pressure wash stucco without harming your walls?

The answer pretty much boils down to the age of your home, your stucco’s current condition, your level of experience with the proper machinery, and your time frame.

If you’re in the market for DIY home improvement, it’s essential to understand your options for stucco cleaning. If you wish to do it yourself, many products on the market can help you clean your stucco.

As you already know, the best way to clean stucco is with a pressure washer or power washer. Although you can easily rent or purchase a pressure washer and do it yourself, you need to understand how to use it correctly if you don’t want to damage your stucco.

While these tools are designed specifically for this type of cleaning and can handle almost every job without causing damage to your siding or home exterior, some pressure washing equipment is too strong for use on more fragile stucco and can splinter or crack the surface. This is why you need to be sure that you know how to use one correctly before you start spraying away at your house!

If you don’t have experience with these kinds of machines or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself (which is entirely understandable), then you may want professional help instead.

Working with Professionals

Hiring a professional is preferable for several reasons. Professionals understand how to clean stucco with pressure washing without causing damage to the surface. They also have access to tools that most homeowners simply don’t have—tools that are specifically designed for this type of cleaning.

More importantly, they have years of experience doing this type of work and can help you avoid common mistakes that homeowners often make.

When choosing a professional, there are several things to consider. It’s always advisable to check refereFirst, it’s and ask questions before hiring someone. You should also inquire about their expertise in this field and what kind of training they have received. This way, you’ll know whether or not they will be able to handle whatever situation comes up while they’re working on your project.

Stucco Washing FAQs—You Asked, We Answered!

Q: What’s the easiest way to remove green algae from stucco?

If you see visible masses of green slime, better known as green algae building up on your stucco, it’s time to remove it.

Green algae growing in the pores of your stucco can make your exteriors look aged and unkempt. And if left to grow out of control, certain types of algae may also become hazardous to your health.

Green algae is a type of fungus that grows naturally in our environment. They thrive in moist areas like ponds, lakes, and rivers. However, they can also grow in dry places like concrete sidewalks, gravel driveways, and stucco walls if there is enough moisture and sunlight.

To remove green algae from stucco, a solution made of water and dish soap can be used as a cleaning solution. If the stain is still detectable, you may need to scrub it with a soft-bristle brush before rinsing it with water.

Q: Is it possible to use CLR on stucco?

Yes, you can use CLR on stucco. Preventive measures must be taken, however.

Calcium Lime Rust, also known as CLR, is a product that can be used to clean unpainted stucco. It’s perfect for taking care of those unsightly mineral deposits, and it’s easy to find at many hardware stores.

However, when applied on painted stucco, CLR will cause the paint to fade or crack, so avoid doing so. Instead, CLR should be used as follows: 

First, mix a solution of one part water and one part CLR in a plastic spray bottle. Next, spray the blend onto the affected area of your stucco and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then rinse with cold water and scrub the surface with a soft-bristle brush. Finally, wipe dry with a towel and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling CLR.

Q: Is using vinegar on stucco a good idea?

Here are some things to consider: Using vinegar to clean stucco can help get rid of efflorescence. In unsealed concrete, efflorescence can be observed as a white powdery residue on the surface, whereas it appears more like a white blush in sealed masonry. Efflorescence is created by vapors traveling through the construction materials and depositing soluble salts and bases on the surface.

However, vinegar isn’t recommended for every type of stain. When dealing with mildew or algae growth on stucco surfaces, it is preferable to use a bleach solution. Vinegar will kill only about 70% of these molecules, leaving you with an unsightly infestation that still needs to be cleaned up.

Q: What is the most effective stucco cleaner?

There are many different options that you can use to clean stucco. The most effective cleaner will depend on the type of stucco and the extent of cleaning that needs to be done. Learning how to clean stucco ceilings, siding, and other surfaces requires familiarity with the most effective cleaners available.

One simple approach involves the use of a bleach and water solution or a bleach and concentrated cleaning solution to clean stucco. Another option is to use Borax mixed with warm water and dish soap as a cleaning agent. In addition to removing surface dirt and grime from your stucco, these cleaners will help you get rid of stubborn stains.

Q: But is bleach safe to use on stucco?

Yes, you can utilize diluted bleach to clean the surface of your stucco wall.

Stucco can be cleaned using a solution ratio of 1 parts bleach to 3 parts water. Apply the mix to the surface and permit it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off with clean water to clear away any remaining residue. It is essential not to use too much bleach on your stucco because it could damage the surface by causing it to break down over time and become brittle. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is by always diluting any cleaning solution containing bleach to reduce its concentration so that there isn’t enough present in the mixture when it comes into contact with stucco surfaces. You should also avoid letting sunlight shine directly onto any areas where you have applied bleach. This will cause them to fade prematurely due to exposure from ultraviolet rays present during daylight hours.

Q: What’s causing the black spots on my stucco?

When you notice black stains on your stucco surface, don’t fret! You might be thinking that this is a sign of the end for your beautiful wall—but it’s not.

In fact, the stains are most likely the result of a certain form of mold, mildew, or algae growth. Nearby bushes and trees, increasing humidity levels, rainwater, and shadows all contribute to the development of mold and mildew breeding conditions.

These circumstances allow contaminants to be naturally brought in by exposure to the elements. They then are absorbed into untreated stucco, creating discoloration and degradation.

A combination of dish soap and water can be used to remove this type of stain. Saturate your stucco with the solution for 15 minutes. Use a scrub brush to remove the black stains, then use pure water from a garden hose to rinse the area right away.

Q: Can you power wash stucco?

If you want to clean stucco, the short answer is yes. You can. But if you don’t have the experience using a power washer or a high-pressure water blaster, it’s probably not a good idea.

If you’re cleaning stucco yourself, simply remember to keep a reasonable distance between the nozzle and the surface, and to use about 1,500 PSI. If your pressure is too high, you run the risk of damaging the exterior of your home.

Given the force of a power washer, however, it is always better to seek the assistance of a professional. They’ll be equipped to quickly assess the situation and let you know if it’s safe for you to power wash your stucco yourself or if it’s better for them to do it as part of a larger maintenance package.

The Most Effective Method of Cleaning Stucco? Leave It to the Pros

Property owners, such as yourself, must be knowledgeable on how to clean stucco effectively and correctly. With this knowledge, you can keep the appearance of your stucco surface in good condition while also extending its life cycle by limiting the damage caused by pollutants.

The use of pressure washing stucco is still one of the most effective methods of cleaning stucco, but it is best left to the hands of trained experts. If you’re looking for the most effective method of cleaning stucco, you’ve come to the right place. At Advantage Pro Services, we’ve got you covered.

So before you start renting complex equipment and watching hours of amateur tutorials on Youtube, consider letting our pros take care of your stucco problems—we’re here to help!

We’ve positioned ourselves as the leading provider of stucco cleaning services in the Houston area. We can help you determine if stains on your stucco are purely cosmetic or indicate a more serious underlying issue.

If you’d like to discover more about how we can assist you, let us know, and we will be thrilled to speak with you. 

Our Team is Your Team

Our stucco cleaning service is comprised of fully-trained professionals who are eager to get started right away. We’ll assess the extent of any damage and provide you with an estimate prior to beginning our work. We’re confident that you’ll be pleased with our services, and we’d love to prove it for you! 

We started our company more than two decades ago with a simple goal: to provide Houstonians with a home maintenance service that was both thorough and affordable. 

We believed that by building trust, we could help more people make their home cleanliness dreams come true. We made it our personal mission to be the best at what we did, and through hard work and persistence, we grew into the company we are today—the first choice for Houstonians who want their homes and businesses cleaned professionally, without breaking the bank.

If you’ve been looking for a stucco cleaning service in Houston that will give you detailed results at an affordable rate, look no further. You’re in good hands!

Welcome to Our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee Policy

Life is messy. Your home’s exterior shouldn’t have to be.

When you take pride in how your house looks, you want it to be as clean and beautiful as possible. It’s not a chore—it’s a pleasure. But what happens when all those hard-to-clean places on your property start to look more like a disaster zone?

That’s where our power-washing services come in. We’ll make certain that your stucco looks its absolute best, and we guarantee you will love the results.

You’ve worked hard for your home, and we’ll work hard for you. We’ll take care of all those hard-to-reach spots like sidewalks, decks, fences, driveways, patios, siding, gutters—you name it!

Home improvement is the name of the game here, and the best way to improve your home’s exterior is to power wash it. Why? As we’ve been discussing, power washing can significantly enhance the beauty and health of your home. It gets rid of dirt, grime, and mold, which can cause allergy problems and damage your home’s structure. Fortunately, our experts know how to get the job done.

We are so confident in our work that we provide you with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Yup! Meaning—if you’re not completely happy with our work, we’ll redo it for free. It’s that simple. We’re not satisfied until you are.

How it Works

Each home is unique, and we are mindful that no two are the same. During our first meeting, we’ll discuss your needs and assess your property. Rather than offering a generic one-size-fits-all answer, we will devise a strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.

Like you, we believe that home is where the heart is. That is why we take pride in providing professional, affordable, and efficient services to ensure that your home is as gorgeous as it can be.

We’ll work hard to ensure that we meet all of your expectations. We’ve been up and running for well over 20 wonderful years now, and during that time, we have built an impeccable reputation for professionalism and quality work.

With Advantage Pro Services, you get it all.

  1. Quick & Easy Online Scheduling: We know that you’re busy. That’s why we make it super easy to book our services online. Just swing by our site to connect with our team and secure your free assessment.
  2. Expert Analysis & Cleaning: At Advantage Pro Services, we make the process of getting your house sparkling clean easy. With our expert team, you can have a clean house as early as tomorrow!
  3. True Joy & Peace of Mind: Our team of experts are true specialists in their field. They have the industry know-how and proven expertise to complete the work successfully, giving you peace of mind that your exteriors will be looking their very best for years to come.

When you hire our specialists, you can rest easy knowing that genuine professionals who specialize in exterior home improvement will take care of everything. Don’t wait another day to get going on improving your home and protecting your investment. 

Connect with our team today to set up your free assessment!

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