Removing Vine Residue From Home Exterior

Vines climbing up your home exterior can look attractive in some aspects.

Removing the Vines

Vines can grow under house siding and surfaces, causing cracks and damage.Vines can grow under house siding and surfaces, causing cracks and damage.
But these aggressive growers can cause serious damage to your walls, leaving you no option but to remove the plants. After removing the vines, however, you may be left with residue on the home exterior. Removing this vine residue isn’t difficult and can be accomplished with inexpensive products.

When removing the vines from the exterior of your home, refrain from pulling them off the surface, since this can damage some wall materials, such as bricks or mortar. Instead, cut them off the surface, gently remove them from the surface and place them in a compost pile or garbage bag.

Cleaning Solution

Hosing the exterior of your home with a stream of water may be enough to remove the plant residue. Another option is to create a gentle cleaning solution using 1 cup of oxygen bleach dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water. Oxygen bleach is generally found in the laundry section of discount or grocery stores. It is safer than chlorine bleach and doesn’t harm plants. The oxygen bleach solution works well on all types of exterior surfaces including brick, stucco and vinyl. Trisodium phosphate -- also called TSP -- is another option for cleaning vine residue from exterior walls such as vinyl and aluminum siding. To create the mixture, dilute 1/3 cup of TSP with 1 gallon of water. Instead of oxygen bleach or TSP, use a mixture of 2/3 cup of all-purpose household cleaner and 1/3 cup of laundry detergent.

Removing the Vine Residue

A scrub brush dipped in the homemade cleaning solution works well to remove stubborn vine residue from the exterior or your home. Some scrub brushes feature a hole in the top where you can screw the end of a broom handle into the hole to make cleaning the home’s exterior easier. Once you have removed the plant residue, rinse the cleaning solution off the home exterior with a water hose. Never allow the cleaning solution to dry on brick walls as it can cause stains and damage to the surface.

Considerations and Precautions

Before using any cleaning solution on the exterior of your home, test it on a small inconspicuous area. If the cleaning solution discolors or damages the area, discontinue use. Furthermore, before using any chemicals or touching any vines, wear chemical-resistant gloves to protect your skin from possible irritation caused by the chemicals or plants.

About the Author

Marylee Gowans has written about gardening for both online and print publications. She attended the University of Akron, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. In 2009, she received master gardener certification from the Master Gardeners of Summit County, Ohio.