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Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean a White Vinyl Fence

Cascade Fence & Deck builds exceptional outdoor living projects in Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area.

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

What can take the shine off a white vinyl fence? Dirt and mildew. But, a dirty fence is a temporary problem that’s easy to fix. With minimal effort and no harsh chemicals, you can keep your fence looking like new.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean a White Vinyl Fence

There are three environmentally friendly ways to clean your fence. These methods won’t hurt landscaping and won’t leave pollution or residue that could harm your family, pets or wildlife.

1. Use Water for Light Cleaning: 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.

2. Use Mild Soap for Heavier Soil: If water did not restore the fence, wash it with soap. A mild soap such as dish soap or castile soap will work. Here’s what to do: a) Fill a bucket with warm water and a squirt or two of soap. b) With a soft rag or sponge, wash the fence. c)Rinse, and let the fence airdry.

3. Add Vinegar for Mold or Mildew: Mold and mildew look gross on a previously pristine white vinyl fence. Soap and water will clean most cases of this green or black growth. But, if you want to go the extra mile, add 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar to the bucket. Vinegar kills mold and mildew and slows its return.

What About Stubborn Stains?

The above methods wash off most dirt, especially if you regularly clean your fence, about once every 3 to 6 months. Here are a few situations 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.

Hint: 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.

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.

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