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How to Clean Stucco

Stucco is a beautiful and durable material used to cover exterior walls of homes and buildings all across America. However, it is susceptible to dirt, stains, and other contaminants that can diminish its appearance over time. That’s why understanding how to properly clean and maintain your stucco walls is essential for preserving its beauty and longevity.

In this section, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to clean stucco, along with helpful tips and tricks for DIY stucco cleaning. We’ll also discuss the best stucco cleaning methods and products to use for optimal results.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The best way to clean stucco is using a soft washing technique or manually scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush.

  2. Assessing the specific cleaning needs of your stucco before starting the cleaning process is crucial.

  3. Regular maintenance practices will help prevent the future buildup of dirt, stains, and other contaminants.

  4. Power washing can be an effective method for cleaning stucco, but it must be done correctly to avoid causing damage.

  5. There are various stucco cleaning products available on the market, but it’s important to choose one that is safe for your particular stucco surface.

Understanding Stucco and its Cleaning Needs

Stucco is a popular exterior finish that is composed of cement, sand, and water. It is known for its durability, low maintenance, and unique textured appearance. However, like any surface exposed to the elements, stucco is susceptible to wear and tear over time, which is why regular maintenance is essential.

Stucco maintenance involves more than just cleaning the surface. It includes inspecting for cracks, repairing any damage, and applying a fresh coat of stucco if necessary. Neglecting stucco maintenance can lead to costly repairs down the line, such as water damage, mold growth, and pest infestations.

Stucco is also more vulnerable to certain types of damage than other surfaces. For example, it can easily develop chips, cracks, or efflorescence (white stains caused by salt buildup) due to its porous nature and exposure to the sun, wind, and rain.

In addition to natural wear and tear, stucco can also be damaged by improper cleaning methods. High-pressure washing, abrasive cleaners, or using the wrong cleaning products can cause damage to the stucco surface. Understanding the composition of stucco and its unique cleaning needs is crucial for maintaining its beautiful appearance for years to come.

Assessing the Cleaning Needs of Your Stucco

Before starting the cleaning process, it’s important to assess the specific cleaning needs of your stucco. Identify the type of stains or dirt on your stucco walls and determine the appropriate stucco cleaning methods to use.

Stucco can accumulate a variety of stains, such as mold, mildew, efflorescence, and rust. Each requires a specific approach to remove effectively. For instance, acidic chemicals can damage stucco surfaces, and scrubbing with a hard-bristled brush can leave unpleasant marks on your walls.

To assess the cleaning needs of your stucco, start by identifying the type of stain you are dealing with.

  1. If you find mold or mildew on your stucco walls, you will need to use a cleaning solution that kills the spores and removes the stains.

  2. Efflorescence, which is the white, chalky buildup on your stucco, requires a different approach. A DIY vinegar solution could do the job, but in more severe scenarios, a professional cleaner could be necessary.

  3. Rust stains can occur near metal objects on your stucco walls. A cleaning solution containing oxalic acid is typically effective in removing rust stains.

Once you identify the type of stain on your wall, opt for the appropriate cleaning method for your stucco. Factors such as the age of your stucco, its condition, and the severity of the stains can all affect the cleaning approach you choose. Using the right stucco cleaning methods can prevent the surface from discoloring or deteriorating and can help avoid costly repairs in the long term.

Preparing for Stucco Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your stucco, it is essential to take the necessary precautions and prepare the area properly. Here’s a checklist of things to do before you begin:

  1. Remove any furniture or objects that might be in the way of the cleaning process. This includes outdoor furniture, potted plants, and decorations.

  2. Cover nearby plants and shrubs with plastic sheets to prevent them from being damaged or affected by the cleaning chemicals.

  3. Close all windows and doors to prevent water from seeping into your home and causing damage.

  4. Inspect your stucco walls for any loose or damaged areas that may require repairs before cleaning.

  5. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves, safety glasses, and a breathing mask, when using chemicals or power tools during the cleaning process.

By following these steps, you’ll ensure a safe and effective cleaning process, and protect your home and property from any damage or harm.

DIY Stucco Cleaning Tips

If you’re planning to clean your stucco walls yourself, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always read and follow the instructions on the cleaning products before using them.

  2. Test the cleaning product first on a small, inconspicuous area of your stucco walls to ensure it won’t cause any damage or discoloration.

  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that can damage or scratch the stucco surface.

  4. Work in sections and rinse each section thoroughly before moving on to the next.

  5. Use a gentle, sweeping motion when scrubbing your stucco with a soft-bristle brush to avoid damaging the stucco surface.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to clean your stucco walls safely and effectively, without causing any damage or harm to the surface.

Choosing the Right Stucco Cleaning Techniques

Now that you have assessed the specific cleaning needs of your stucco, it’s time to choose the right cleaning technique for your walls. Below are some of the best stucco cleaning tips to ensure optimal results:

  1. Soft Washing: This low-pressure cleaning method uses a mixture of water and a specialized cleaning solution to gently remove dirt, stains, and grime from your stucco walls. This technique is ideal for delicate stucco surfaces that can be easily damaged by high-pressure washing.

  2. Pressure Washing: This high-pressure cleaning method is best suited for heavy-duty stucco cleaning jobs, such as removing tough stains and stubborn dirt. However, it can damage delicate stucco surfaces and should only be used by professionals or those with experience in power washing.

  3. Manual Scrubbing: This old-fashioned cleaning technique involves using a bristle brush and a cleaning solution to manually scrub the stucco surface. It’s a labor-intensive method but can be effective for small areas or localized stains.

When choosing a cleaning technique, consider the age and condition of your stucco walls, the severity of the stains or dirt, and your level of experience in stucco cleaning. Remember to always follow safety precautions, protect surrounding areas, and use appropriate cleaning products and equipment.

Removing Stains from Stucco

If your stucco has unsightly stains, don’t worry! There are many effective solutions for removing common stains like mold, mildew, efflorescence, and rust stains. Follow these expert tips to restore the clean and vibrant appearance of your stucco walls.

Mold and Mildew Stains

To remove mold and mildew stains, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply the solution to the affected area. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with water. For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the area gently. Avoid using bleach, as it can damage the stucco.

Efflorescence Stains

Efflorescence is a white, powdery substance that appears on stucco walls due to salt buildup. To remove efflorescence stains, use a solution of muriatic acid and water (always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use protective gear when handling chemicals) and apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water. Repeat the process if necessary, and avoid getting the solution on surrounding vegetation or metal surfaces.

Rust Stains

Rust stains can be challenging to remove from stucco walls. Start by mixing one tablespoon of oxalic acid with one cup of warm water and applying the solution to the affected area. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water. If the stain persists, use a commercial rust remover (make sure it’s safe for stucco surfaces) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Note: Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your stucco wall before using it on a larger area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration.

Power Washing Stucco: Dos and Don’ts

If you’re looking for an efficient way to clean your stucco, power washing can be a great option. However, it’s important to use the method correctly to avoid damaging your stucco. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

“Using a power washer on stucco can be effective, but it’s important to be careful and use the right technique. Improper use can cause damage to the stucco or make the surface more vulnerable to future staining or damage.” – Expert Cleaner

Do Use the Right Equipment

Make sure you have access to a high-quality power washer that has adjustable pressure settings. The pressure should be low enough to avoid damaging your stucco, but high enough to remove dirt and stains effectively. A pressure of 1500-2000 psi is recommended for stucco cleaning.

Don’t Use Too Much Pressure

Using too much pressure while power washing can lead to serious damage, such as cracks or chips in the stucco. Start with the lowest pressure setting and gradually increase as needed. Keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the wall to prevent damage.

Do Use the Right Cleaner

Choosing the right cleaner is important for effective power washing. Look for cleaning products that are specifically formulated for stucco and avoid harsh chemicals or acidic cleaners. These can cause damage or discoloration to the stucco.

Don’t Forget to Protect Surrounding Areas

Power washing can create a lot of spray, so it’s important to protect surrounding areas from potential damage. Cover nearby plants, outdoor furniture, and other delicate surfaces with plastic sheeting or tarps.

Do Test a Small Area First

Before starting the power washing process, test a small, inconspicuous area of your stucco to make sure the pressure and cleaning solution won’t cause any damage.

Don’t Rush the Process

Take your time and be patient with the power washing process. Rushing can lead to mistakes or oversights that cause damage.

By following these tips and using the right stucco cleaning products, power washing can be a safe and effective way to clean your stucco walls.

Maintaining Clean Stucco

Now that you have successfully cleaned your stucco, it’s essential to maintain its pristine condition regularly. By implementing regular maintenance practices, you can prevent future buildup of dirt, stains, and other contaminants. Here are practical tips on how to maintain clean stucco:

  1. Inspect Your Stucco: Regularly inspect your stucco to identify any issues or damages. Look out for cracks, chips, or other damage that may need repairing.

  2. Clean Regularly: To prevent the buildup of dirt and stains, clean your stucco walls at least once a year, or more often if necessary. Use gentle cleaning methods and avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the stucco surface.

  3. Trim Overhanging Trees: If you have trees overhanging your stucco walls, make sure to trim them regularly to prevent leaves, branches, and debris from collecting on the surface.

  4. Prevent Water Damage: Water damage can cause significant damage to stucco walls, leading to mold and mildew growth. Check your gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure proper drainage of water from your roof.

  5. Address Issues Promptly: If you notice any issues with your stucco walls, such as cracks, chips, or stains, address them immediately to prevent them from worsening. Consult with a professional stucco contractor to identify and fix any problems.

By following these simple maintenance practices, you can keep your stucco walls looking their best for years to come.


Cleaning and maintaining stucco may seem daunting, but with the right techniques and products, you can achieve impressive results. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your stucco walls remain clean, vibrant, and stain-free for years to come.

Remember to Assess Your Stucco’s Needs

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to assess your stucco’s individual needs. Consider the type of stains or dirt that you’re dealing with and determine the best cleaning method accordingly.

Preparation Is Key

Proper preparation is crucial to success when cleaning stucco. Make sure to have all the necessary equipment and take proper safety precautions. Protect nearby surfaces from damage and ensure that the area is well-ventilated.

Choose the Right Cleaning Technique

From soft washing to pressure washing, there are various cleaning techniques to consider. Each method has its own pros and cons, and it’s important to choose the one that’s best suited for your stucco. Don’t forget to follow expert tips for optimal results.

Don’t Forget Maintenance

Maintaining your stucco is just as important as cleaning it. Regular upkeep, such as inspecting for cracks and applying sealant, can help prevent future buildup of dirt and stains. Follow our practical tips to maintain the beauty of your stucco walls.

With the proper care and attention, you can keep your stucco looking as good as new for many years to come. So go ahead and give it that deep clean it deserves!


How often should I clean my stucco?

It is recommended to clean your stucco at least once a year to prevent the buildup of dirt and stains.

Can I clean stucco using just water?

While water can help remove some surface dirt, it is often not enough to effectively clean stucco. Using a mild detergent or specialized stucco cleaner is usually necessary for thorough cleaning.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean my stucco?

Yes, a pressure washer can be used to clean stucco, but it should be used with caution. Make sure to keep the pressure at a safe level, and avoid aiming the stream directly at the stucco surface to prevent damage.

What is the best way to remove mold from stucco?

To remove mold from stucco, create a solution of equal parts water and bleach. Apply the solution to the affected area and scrub gently with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly with water afterward.

Are there any stucco cleaning products I should avoid?

Avoid using acidic cleaners or abrasive materials on stucco, as they can damage the surface. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations and use products specifically designed for stucco cleaning.

How can I prevent stains from appearing on my stucco?

Regular maintenance is key to preventing stains on stucco. Keep the surrounding area clean and free of debris, and address any issues, such as leaks or water damage, promptly to avoid potential staining.

Can I DIY stucco cleaning, or should I hire a professional?

Stucco cleaning can be done as a DIY project, but it requires careful preparation and following proper techniques. If you’re not confident in your abilities or have a large area to clean, it may be best to hire a professional stucco cleaning service.

How long will the results of stucco cleaning last?

The duration of clean stucco results can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and the level of maintenance. With regular cleaning and proper care, you can enjoy the clean appearance of your stucco for an extended period.

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