Vinyl fences make a great addition to any yard. They look great, they are very safe, and they are easy to install. However, like any outdoor furniture, they can get dirty. Luckily, unlike many other types of materials, vinyl fences are remarkably easy to clean. Here are a few easy steps to help you when cleaning your vinyl fence.
Different Cleaners for Different Purposes
When considering how to clean your vinyl fence, you’ll want to use different cleaners to get your fence clean and looking great.
You can use water if you’re looking to do some preliminary or otherwise light cleaning. You can either opt to use a garden hose or a pressure washer depending upon your needs. If you have some stubborn dirt or soil that refuses to come off, using a little soap should do the trick.
However, for the toughest jobs, such as trying to remove mildew or mold, you may wish to use a vinyl fence cleaner such as vinegar. Vinegar also has the added benefit of being effective against certain types of bacteria and viruses, including the flu and tuberculosis.
What Can You Use to Clean a Fence?
The great news is that there are many ways you can clean a vinyl fence and leave it looking great. Listed below are some expert tips on how to clean a vinyl fence.
1. Spray off Your Fence with a Hose
No matter what type of stain you’re working with, spraying with a hose should always be your first step. It removes any loose dirt and grime with minimal damage to your fence. Try adding a high-pressure nozzle if you’d like to get a little more bang for your buck with this step.
You’ll find that in many instances, you’ll get the fence looking as good as new with this method alone.
2. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
You’ll be shocked at how much a simple wipe-down with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will do for you. Skip this step if you’ve got heavy-duty stains, but if you’re working with simple dirt, dust, and general yard pollution, this is a great step that can save you a lot of time.
Using a magic eraser to clean a vinyl fence is easy:
- Get it thoroughly wet, then squeeze out excess water
- Start swiping your fence, working from the top down
- If the eraser gets too dirty, cut off dirty bits and continue swiping until done.
3. Use a Simple Cleaning Solution
This is one step up from using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It will clean most of the same basic stuff as a magic eraser, but it will do a better job of getting into cracks and crevices. For this method:
- Combine a small amount of dish soap with a bucket of warm water
- Agitate the water until it’s nice and sudsy
- Dip an old dish towel or washcloth into the water and then scrub away
If you’ve got a few stubborn stains that are hanging on, try using a non-abrasive scrubber.
4. Use Bleach
If the first three steps aren’t getting the job done for you, try using a bleach solution. While some people might balk at using bleach on vinyl—bleach can be powerful enough to begin breaking down your vinyl if you’re not careful—you shouldn’t have any issues so long as you remember to correctly water down the bleach in your solution. This said, you may want to avoid bleach altogether if you have a non-white vinyl fence, as you can run the risk of bleaching your colors.
Just like the above method, prepare your cleaning solution, but rather than using dish soap, try adding one part bleach for every five parts of water. Make sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands as you scrub away at your vinyl fence. You might consider using a pump sprayer to limit your contact with your bleach solution. This method should take care of almost everything.
5. Use a Specialized Cleaner
Some stains can be stubborn, and the worst ones are iron and mold. For red iron stains, try using a specialized vinyl fence cleaner. We don’t have a particular one we recommend, but you can find many effective options online or at a home improvement store. For all other tough-to-get-out stains, try using a xylene cleaner. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more powerful treatment.
6. Use a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers are often touted as one of the best tools to clean fences with, as they provide more power to remove tough dirt and grime than you can achieve with only your garden hose and thumb.
However, not all pressure washers are created equal. Not only are there different types of pressure washers (gas or electric), you’ll also have to worry about several different attributes such as:
- PSI (pounds per square inch)
- GPM (gallons per minute)
- Types of pressure washer nozzles
- Types of cleaning solutions
While there is definitely lots to learn about pressure washers, generally you’ll want to use a washer with around 2,000 or 2,800 PSI as that provides the right amount of power you’ll need to clean your vinyl fence.
Go on the Defensive
One thing to keep in mind is that the best offense is a good defense. If you let your fence become too dirty, then specialized cleaners and bleach solutions are more likely to be necessary. Spray down your fence at least once a week if possible. You should also be giving your fence a basic soapy wash at least once every few weeks.
If mold and mildew are likely to be an issue, you might want to consider a protective coating of Mold Armor, Moldex, or some other similar mold prevention coating. Mold stains can be particularly tough to remove, so err on the side of caution and try using a mold protector if you’re in doubt.
Which Vinyl Fence Cleaner Is Best?
When it comes to cleaners, you ultimately have two main choices: You can use a DIY cleaner, or use a store-bought option. Both of these types can be very effective when it comes to cleaning power. Which one is best will depend on how you wish to approach cleaning.
DIY cleaners can be:
- More budget-friendly
- Safer to use
- Environmentally friendly
Store-bought cleaners can:
- Be already mixed and ready to go
- Simpler to use
- Incredibly powerful
How to Make a DIY Cleaner
If you opt for a DIY cleaner, follow this step-by-step process for a simple recipe and how to use it:
- Mix ½ cup white vinegar with 1-2 gallons of water
- Wet a rag with the solution and wipe down the fence
- Rinse your fence with water
How to Make Your Vinyl Fencing Look New Again
While vinyl fencing is known for its durability, even this fencing material doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the elements and regular wear and tear will take their toll, and the luster of your vinyl fence can fade. However, before you consider replacing your vinyl fencing, there are some steps you can try to both clean your vinyl fence and make it look as good as new again.
1. Use Vinegar
You can use a vinegar solution to remove a lot of grime, dirt, and mold that can accumulate. Mix vinegar with water using the ratio given above (½ cup vinegar with 1-2 gallons of water). You can also add some laundry detergent for additional cleaning power.
Next, you’ll want to give your fence a pre-washing with a hose, which will knock off any loose bits of dirt and grime.
Afterward, you’ll want to use a soft brush or garden sprayer to apply your vinegar solution onto the fence. Make sure to rinse the solution off of the fence as you are working. Using this method, you may want to start from the bottom and work your way up to prevent streaking.
2. Use a Vinyl Restoration Product
While we don’t have a recommendation for which specific product to use, many vinyl restoration products on the market can help your vinyl fence shine again. These kinds of products tend to combat oxidation and sun damage to restore your fence to its original luster.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions supplied with the product, as the directions will vary from product to product.
3. Add a Layer of Paint
If you still aren’t happy with the results, you can always add a layer of vinyl-safe paint to your fence.
First, you’ll want to apply an acrylic binder to your fence and let that dry. Afterward, using a synthetic bristle brush or paint roller, you’ll want to add a layer or two of paint. Allow up to 24 hours for each layer to dry before adding a new one.
If you try the above methods and getting your vinyl fence clean still seems out of your reach, feel free to contact us. At Best Vinyl Fence and Deck, we have seen every situation under the sun and can usually help you find the right solution.
If everything else fails and you think you need a new fence, you can always contact us for a free estimate. Be sure to also check our selection of vinyl fence styles to find the best style for your property.