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How to Remove Asphalt From Vinyl Siding

Kurt Schanaman

Resurfacing of asphalt driveways works wonders for the appearance and the value of your home.

Unfortunately mishaps arise during such projects and some of the asphalt material finds its way onto the siding of a home or building in the vicinity of the driveway, necessitating the need for cleanup and removal of the material from the siding. Removal of asphalt from vinyl siding is simpler than for painted surfaces when armed with the proper cleaner for the job.

Determine Proper Cleaning Agent

  1. Determine which type of asphalt sealer material was used during the project--water-based or oil-based. Do-it-yourself sealants are generally water-based, while professional-grade sealants are most often composed of an oil base.

  2. Ascertain the hardness of the asphalt material. If the material is still soft and freshly deposited, choose the proper method along with the determined cleaning substance. If the material is hardened, a slightly different method is also warranted.

  3. Select the proper cleaning chemicals and set them in the vicinity where you will be removing the asphalt. For oil-based asphalt, dry or damp, you will need a good tar remover such as Turtle Bug, an asphalt remover found in most automotive supply stores, and a bottle of kerosene. For water-based asphalt, a professional-grade citrus-based cleaner will work well together with basic dish-washing soap and water.

  4. Put on your vinyl or rubber gloves and keep them on while following all of the steps in this article, and extinguish all open flames. Refrain from smoking while removing the tar from your siding to prevent flash fires and burns.

Removal of Oil-Based Asphalt

  1. Apply your chosen tar remover to the asphalt deposit and allow the cleaner to soak into the asphalt for about 15 minutes. While the cleaner is working, fill a bucket with warm soapy water and submerge your cleaning cloth in the soap-water solution.

  2. Scrub the asphalt deposit vigorously and in a circular motion until the material appears to turn to liquid and begins to smudge while scrubbing. Rinse the cloth well in the soapy water, wring and wipe off all of the smudges from the vinyl surface.

  3. Apply kerosene to larger surfaces, rather than using automotive tar remover, and perform the same steps above.

  4. Turn on your garden hose and flush the newly cleaned surface well with with the clean water to prevent chemical discoloration.

Removal of Water-Based Asphalt

  1. Apply a professional-grade citrus cleaner to the asphalt deposits and allow the chemical cleaner to work for five to 10 minutes. While the cleaner is working, fill the bucket with warm soapy water and submerge the cleaning cloth into the water.

  2. Rub the asphalt deposit with the wet cloth until the asphalt material begins to smear on the surface. Rinse the cloth clean and wipe off all remaining asphalt from the vinyl surface.

  3. Turn on the garden hose. Flush the surface to prevent chemical discoloration.

  4. Tip

    The time necessary for hard and soft vinyl deposits varies. If the asphalt is especially hard and tough, you will want to apply two or more applications of the cleaning agent to the material over 15 minutes to loosen properly.


    Keep pets and children away from the chemical cleaners.

    Always follow the label instructions on the chemical containers, and never mix different cleaners to prevent injury or death.

    Keep chemical cleaners, especially the kerosene, away from flames and sparks.

    Never permit any strong cleaner or kerosene to remain on the vinyl surface for more than 30 minutes. To prevent chemical stains, flush thoroughly with plain water.

    Never use cleaners with abrasives or excessively harsh solvents, as these will damage the vinyl surface. Kerosene is the strongest material you should ever consider using on such surfaces.