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How to Clean a Vinyl Fence

How to clean a vinyl fence

A vinyl fence doesn’t demand very much attention. For 364 days of the year, the attention you pay to your vinyl fence should involve nothing more than appreciating the aesthetic value it adds to your yard. You can install a vinyl fence that mimics the appearance of wood if you want, but unlike with wood, you do not have to stain or paint vinyl, and you don’t have to worry about its ability to withstand weathering.

Occasionally, though, you may have to spend an afternoon cleaning your vinyl fence, so you’re probably wondering what this entails if you’re still considering vinyl. Luckily, it is quite easy.

Why do vinyl fences need to be cleaned?

You may have noticed vinyl fences that are turning green or yellow. The reason is that algae can grow on vinyl over time.

So, why does algae start to grow on vinyl? The answer involves the combined factors of sunlight and dampness. Algae feed on the particles of sugars and other nutrients that collect on your fence from nearby vegetation. You can try to prevent algae growth by installing your fence in the shade, but this may not be possible, and it shouldn’t be necessary. Because vinyl fences are non-porous, any algae growth or staining will only be on the surface level, and vinyl fences are truly a breeze to clean.

However, if you have a lawn, you may want to quickly hose down your fence right after mowing so algae will not be able to feed on the grass shavings.

How often should you clean your vinyl fence?

Your vinyl fence will probably require a good cleaning once a year—and no more than that! As we said, it’s easy, so it should only take you an afternoon, and then you can take the rest of the year off.

What materials do you need?

Power washing is often touted as the way to clean a vinyl fence. However, if you don’t have a power washer, never fear. You probably already have the only tools you need to clean your vinyl fence. They are:

  • Your garden hose
  • A gallon bucket
  • Soap– If you have the ingredients available, you can make your own mixture of powdered laundry detergent, powdered household cleaner, liquid bleach, and water. Otherwise, you can simply purchase a solution formulated for cleaning vinyl.
  • A brush with stiff bristles

Steps to cleaning your vinyl fence

  • Mix your cleaning solution in your bucket.
  • Using your garden hose, wet one section of your vinyl fence.
  • Soak your brush in your cleaning solution, and scrub any areas that show staining. You do not have to scrub every inch of the fence!
  • Rinse off both the soap and the residue you’ve removed with your garden hose.
  • Repeat this process section by section until the entire fence is clean.

That’s it! Simple, right? If you regularly hose down your fence, the less scrubbing you will need to do. Caring for vinyl is remarkably easy, and that’s exactly why vinyl has become such a popular fence material. With vinyl, you can just relax and enjoy your fence with only minimal effort.

Do you agree that it’s easy to take care of vinyl? What’s your favorite method for cleaning vinyl—power-washing or scrubbing? Do you have any tips for removing algae from vinyl fences? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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  • merlin says:

    So, is there a wax or coating that can be applied to mitigate the mold/algae problem?

    • NJTeddy says:

      I had the same problem and found with a good scrubbing with soft scrub with bleach I only had to repeat every 2 to 3 years. Based on my fence which was installed in both sun and shade, I have algae in both situations. I do believe the grass clipping are involved but no way am I going to wash a 70 x 50 fence each time the grass is cut. So I use the soft scrub every 2-3 years

  • Connie says:

    thanks for info…. I did that and the fence looks allot better, but there’s lots of areas that have grayish looking spots… do I need to paint the fence? clean again? etc.? It’s been at least 2 yrs since its been cleaned….

  • Jane says:

    Don’t put vinyl fence in shady areas or if you live in a rainy climate. It’s best for places that get a lot of sun so you don’t get the algae build up in the first place.

  • William Ramos says:

    This is great! Now I know that by doing a regular hose down on fence can help to lessen the scrubbing thing. Thank you for these tips, now I can the right way of cleaning the vinyl fence. Thanks!

  • Carol Smith says:

    The Spray and Forget products work wonders.
    Put on hose sprayer… MAGIC… in a few weeks… It’s all pretty much gone.

  • Ken Hwan says:

    I found it really interesting that algae have a significantly lower chance of growing on a fence if that fence is in the shade. My wife and I recently moved into a new house with a fence, and most of the fence is out in the sunlight. I will be sure to take the time to look for any algae that might have grown on our vinyl fence!

  • M says:

    Use a garden sprayer filled with 1/2 regular bleach and 1/2 water. Spray on the fence and mold is killed and disappears in a couple of minutes. Rinse after a few minutes. Respray any areas still green. Rinse.

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