How to Clean a Vinyl Fence the Right Way
Vinyl fencing has the advantage over wood fencing when it comes to maintenance, but how easy is it to clean? How often should you shine it up, and what process is the most effective?
Whether you’re trying to preserve that glossy vinyl look or thinking about what type of fence is right for your yard, you can use this guide to understand all the maintenance required to clean vinyl fences.
The Advantages of Vinyl Fencing
Vinyl is a very low-maintenance material, which is one of the reasons why so many people love vinyl fences. Compared to other types of fencing material, vinyl is more durable and resistant to weather. Rain and snow slide right off.
Vinyl doesn’t need treating or sealing, and it won’t need painting or staining. It will keep its color for years, and you won’t have to worry about the material rotting, like wood, either. All these factors make vinyl a great choice for those who want a fence without all the complicated upkeep. When you buy vinyl, the price may be a bit more than a material like wood, but you’re paying for long-lasting durability and low maintenance.
But what exactly does low maintenance mean? In short, vinyl fencing only needs occasional cleaning. If you don’t clean your vinyl fence, it can be susceptible to algae growth. If algae, mold, or mildew starts to grow on your fence, it can stain your vinyl. The good news is this only affects the aesthetics of the fence. Unlike wood, mold won’t lead to decay.
To spot mildew, look for dark specks of green, brown, yellow, or black on your fence. If you let these areas go without cleaning, they will continue to spread and discolor the vinyl. With a quick clean, grime won’t leave any stains behind as long as you don’t let it sit for too long.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can hose down your fence after mowing the lawn. This will help keep algae attached to the fence from feeding on grass clippings that have landed on it. But the following cleaning tips should be more than enough to refresh your fence, even without regular washing.
How to Clean Vinyl Fences by Hand
Cleaning your fence by hand is incredibly easy. It only takes a few steps, and the results will leave your vinyl shiny and pristine. To start, you’ll need three things: a cleaning solution, a bucket, and a sponge or brush. If you use a brush, make sure it has soft bristles to avoid scratching your fence. You can also buy a cleaning solution or prepare one on your own.
If you’re worried about using chemical cleaners on your fence, there are tons of DIY recipes for all-purpose cleaning solutions. You can make your own soap for light maintenance, or you can mix together something more heavy-duty to fight mildew and mold. Once you have all the supplies, fill up the bucket with soap and water. For the average cleaning solution, the right mix is usually half a cup of cleaner for a gallon of water.
Stir it around a bit, then dip your sponge or brush into the solution and begin applying it to the fence in small sections. Give the cleaner a few minutes to soak in without drying. Then, you can begin rinsing with a hose.
You may have to use some elbow grease to scrub heavily soiled areas of your fence, but otherwise, the cleaner should work its magic without anything extra. Repeat this process until your fence looks brand new!
How to Pressure Wash Vinyl Fences
Pressure washers are perfect for blasting away dirt and grime in an instant. If you go this route, a vinyl fence only needs pressure washing about once a year. That said, pressure washers get pricey fast. You should only make an investment in one if you have other surfaces that also need pressure washing, like a deck. But renting a pressure washer for a day is easy and cheap.
It’s also worth noting that pressure washers are dangerous. They can pierce skin and protective gear, so take caution when using one. To clean a vinyl fence with a pressure washer, start by rinsing the fence. Stand a few feet away, set your pressure washer to a low setting, and slowly spray the fence. Work your way across the entire fence until complete.
The goal of this initial step isn’t to clean the fence entirely. Instead, you are aiming to dislodge the dirt and grime on the fence’s surface. Once you’re finished rinsing, you can start to apply soap.
Load your cleaning solution of choice into the pressure washer’s soap reservoir and begin applying it to the fence from bottom to top. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, so it can dissolve dirt and remove stains. If you have particular areas caked in grime, scrub them with a brush to help them break down.
Don’t let the cleaner completely dry. While you wait, flush out the pressure washer with some clean water to remove all the soap. Once the solution has had a chance to soak in, begin rinsing the fence again.
Continue rinsing the fence until clean. You may want to divide the fence into small sections to avoid rushing. If some areas don’t appear clean after one cycle, repeat the process until you’re satisfied.
Choose Vinyl for Easy Maintenance
With these tips, you can clean vinyl fences like a pro. Regular maintenance will keep your fence looking gorgeous for a long time.
If you’re still torn about what type of fence material to choose, learn more about the different types of fences here. Vinyl fencing is perfect for hot or cold weather conditions, but you should make sure you are selecting a high-quality vinyl. The better the material, the longer it will last.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for help—we can help you install quality fencing that will look great and hold up for years to come.