Eco-friendly ways to clean a white vinyl fence

A white vinyl privacy fence borders this concrete residential driveway

A vinyl fence is nearly maintenance free. You’ll never have to refinish, paint or seal it. Even our wet Pacific Northwest weather won’t damage one of these durable fences.

What can take the shine off a white vinyl fence? Dirt and mildew. Like the cedar wood fence, white vinyl is susceptible to mold growth, and can become discolored over time. In fact, although many people think white vinyl fades and changes color over time, it’s normally just something growing on the surface of the material that gives it that unpleasant color.

Thankfully, a dirty fence is a temporary problem that’s easy to fix. With minimal effort and no harsh chemicals, you can remove almost any degree of stains and keep your vinyl fence looking like new.

How to Clean a White Vinyl Fence

The following steps will enable you to clean any white vinyl fence. These steps won’t hurt landscaping and won’t leave pollution or residue that could harm your family, pets or wildlife.

Remove light soil and debris with a garden hose.

For light soil and debris, spray the fence with water. A garden hose with a spray nozzle should do the trick. You can use a pressure washer, but in most cases, that’s more power than you need.

Remove heavier stains with mild soap.

If the fence still looks dirty or discolored after a spray-down, fill a bucket with warm water and a squirt or two of soap. A mild soap such as dish soap or castile soap will work. Use a soft rag or sponge to wash the fence. Rinse, and let the fence airdry.

Treat mold or mildew with vinegar.

Mold and mildew look gross on a previously pristine white vinyl fence. If the fence still has black or green stains after applying the soap, add 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar to the bucket and re-wash by hand. Vinegar kills mold and mildew and slows its return.

Removing Stubborn Stains From White Vinyl

The three steps we just covered will wash off most dirt, especially if you regularly clean your fence, about once every 3 to 6 months. Here are a few solutions for when soap, water and vinegar might not be enough.

Scuff Marks 

Rubber can leave black marks on your fence. If a tire or sneaker has had a close encounter with your white vinyl, remove the mark with a large pencil eraser.

Stubborn caked-on dirt

Dip a soft scrub brush in the aforementioned soapy mixture to spot clean tougher stains. Test a small area if you’re worried the brush could leave scratches.

Extensive mold and mildew

If mold or mildew has been growing on your fence for a long time, you may need more than a soap-and-vinegar solution to remove it. Try adding undiluted vinegar to a spray bottle. Apply the vinegar to the mildew and let it stand for a few minutes before wiping or scrubbing. Rinse with plain water.

Proactive tip: Mold and mildew grow from a combination of moisture, organic material and sunlight. To prevent mold and mildew from growing, brush or rinse off grass clippings as soon as you notice them on the fence.

Stains from manmade products

Tougher stains such as tar or paint can be removed using products formulated for those substances. However, these products may not be eco-friendly and could mar the look of your fence. Test any high-powered cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Keeping Your Vinyl Fence Clean

The easiest way to avoid a long, difficult cleaning process is to keep your vinyl fence clean. A little bit of regular maintenance can go a long ways in preventing stubborn stains, mold growth and more.

Spray off dirt or grass clippings after any yard maintenance, keep plants trimmed away from the fence, and give it a good scrub down during your spring cleanup. You’ll never have to deal with ugly green or black stains on your white vinyl fence again.

Enjoy Your Clean Fence

We hope that you found this guide useful. Cleaning a white vinyl fence won’t take long, and will make a big difference in the street appeal of your home. Whether you’re putting your house on the market or you’re doing some spring cleaning around the backyard, you’re sure to be happy with the result.

If you have any questions about cleaning a vinyl fence, you’re always welcome to get in touch with our team. We’ve been installing vinyl fences in the Pacific Northwest since 1997, and we’re more than happy to share what we know about installing and maintaining this long-lasting product.

Have any other questions about fences, or want to share a photo of your freshly-cleaned fence? Tag us on Instagram @cascadefenceanddeck.

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