A new vinyl fence looks fresh and modern, but it can get dirty very quickly, especially if it’s white! The good news is they are easy to clean — just as long as you know how to clean a vinyl fence.
The Benefits Of a Vinyl Fence
Vinyl fences are becoming a very popular alternative to a traditional wooden fence. There are many different styles to choose from so you can match it to your house’s color and style.
They are very affordable and easy to install; some homeowners decide to install their fence themselves. Once the fence is up, it doesn’t require painting, sealing, or staining, so you save on maintenance costs.
A vinyl fence is a great choice if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather such as strong winds, hot or freezing temperatures, or regular rainstorms. Vinyl is stronger than wood, and it is very flexible. As it is non-porous, it won’t absorb water. This means apart from rain, you also don’t have to worry about your vinyl fencing getting wet from your sprinkler, and you can have it near a swimming pool. If you live on the coast, the saltwater won’t cause it to rot.
Vinyl fencing also won’t rot, peel or splinter, and as it is synthetic, it won’t attract termites or other pests. Another benefit is that it is very easy to clean a vinyl fence, You can expect your fence to last up to 30 years, and some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty.
How To Clean Your Vinyl Fence – Step By Step
Vinyl fences, especially white ones, show up the dirt very easily, but one of the benefits as they are non-porous the dirt is only surface level. This means mold, mildew, dust, and other grime should be easy to remove. Here are some simple steps for cleaning a vinyl fence.
Step One: Hose Down To Get Rid Of Loose Dirt
Thoroughly hose down your entire fence to dislodge and remove any loose dirt. You can use a pressure nozzle on your garden hose if you have one. Doing this step will make the scrubbing process quicker.
Step Two: Prepare Your Cleaning Product
Unless your fence is brand new or you have been hosing it regularly, you will still find dirt and debris stuck on your fence once you’ve completed step one. So there is more cleaning to be done.
There are many products on the market designed to clean vinyl fences, but if you want to make your own, you can mix dish soap or a mild household detergent in a bucket of warm water. And if you have mold on your fence, you may want to add half a cup of white distilled vinegar that you probably already have at home. Vinegar kills mold and will also prevent it from returning so quickly.
If your fence is particularly dirty or you don’t fancy mixing up your cleaning solution, you can buy a specialized vinyl fence cleaner from a home improvement store. They often come in a handy spray bottle, making it easier to apply.
Some people also suggest using bleach mixed with water and soap as an alternative way to clean your vinyl fence if other methods haven’t worked. A recommended ratio is mixing a third of a cup of laundry detergent, one quart of bleach and a gallon of water. This can be put in a spray bottle and sprayed on your fence. Make sure you use gloves when dealing with bleach and don’t use this method if your vinyl is non-white. Take care, though, as other people have found that using bleach dries out the fence and degrades the vinyl.
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Step Three: Scrub Off Any Other Dirt
Once you have decided what cleaning solution you are going to use, it’s time to scrub your fence clean. If you have purchased a product, it should contain detailed instructions on how to use it. If you are cleaning your vinyl fence with soapy water, you can use a rag or cloth. You will need to rinse your cloth regularly, or have new ones on standby, as you want to remove the dirt, not just spread it around. You may be surprised just how much dirt comes off your fence!
If you have any really stubborn stains that you can’t get off, you can try a non-abrasive scrubber or a bristled brush. Don’t use an abrasive cleaner or scouring pad for cleaning vinyl, as this will cause scratches. If you are using a brush, you can test it on a small section of your fence first to check it is not doing any damage.
And another tip, if you have any black rubber marks on your white vinyl fence, try cleaning them off with a pencil eraser.
Step Four: Rinse Your Fence
Once you are happy that your fence is clean, you will need to thoroughly rinse it with a garden hose to get rid of any excess soap or cleaning products. Start at the top work your way across, and then move down the fence to the next section, always going horizontally as any soap or remaining dirt will run downwards.
Using A Pressure Washer On A Vinyl Fence
You may have accumulated so much dirt on your vinyl fence that you will find a good scrub and hose down is not enough to get it completely clean. In that case, it may be necessary to pressure wash your fence. This needs to be done carefully, though, as if you don’t do it properly, it can cause more harm than good. You can rent a pressure washer from a hardware store if you don’t want to purchase one. Often the pressure washer will have a section to put the cleaning solution in, and then it will mix in as you spray.
Most people use “pressure washing” and “power washing” interchangeably, but power washing is a type of pressure washing that uses hot water. If the layer of dirt is particularly thick, power washing might be required because hot water can be more effective in cleaning it properly than cold water.
When deciding on the level of pressure to use, you will need to look at how much dirt there is on your fence, as well as your specific type of fence. If you are not sure, you will need to check with your fence manufacturer. Make sure you thoroughly rinse with water when you are finished pressure washing.
How to Keep Mold From Growing On Vinyl Fencing
Even though your fence is vinyl, it can still be affected by mold, mildew, and algae. This can grow when your fence comes in contact with organic material that is then exposed to sunlight and moisture.
One of the best ways to prevent this from becoming a problem is to hose your fence down about once a week so that mold and mildew don’t build up. It is particularly important to hose down your fence after mowing to remove any grass cuttings as they can encourage algae growth.
Vinegar is good for killing mold and mildew, so if you mix some vinegar in with your water, this will get rid of your existing mold and prevent it from coming back as quickly. A good ratio is 1 cup of vinegar to 2 gallons of water.
Even though you won’t be able to stop it from ever getting dirty, if you follow these tips, your vinyl fence will be easy to keep clean and look after. You can have a sparkly, white fence without having to work too hard for it!