There are few features that can crown a yard or patio like a white vinyl fence. Sleek and stylish, its timeless beauty looks as naturally at home in a traditional environment as a contemporary one.
Whether it’s purely decorative or functional, too, a white vinyl fence isn’t absolutely impervious to the outdoor elements, which means that its clean look can become marred by dust, dirt, grass stains or even tar and grease.
It might look bad now, but remember that it’s only a temporary state. With a few cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease, you can restore your white vinyl fence in a few quick steps so that it once again turns heads (and not only yours).
Light cleaning method
To erase a light buildup of dust and dirt, gather the following supplies: a hose, mild dish soap, rags, a nonabrasive scrubbing pad, a bucket and water. Then get to work by:
- Hosing off the fence with water, working in small sections and from the top down. Use a sprayer attachment with a steadier stream if stubborn dirt remains.
- Add a few squirts of dish soap to the bucket and fill it with warm water.
- Moisten a rag with the soapy solution and wipe the fence, again working in small sections. Use the scrubbing pad, as needed, for ground-in stains.
- Rinse the fence with the hose until the shine returns.
Mid-grade cleaning method
There are some stains that soap won’t remove, including grass and organic stains like mold and mildew. For these tougher stains, you’ll need to press bleach into action, as well as rubber gloves to protect your hands. Then barrel down and:
- Fill the bucket with one part bleach to five parts of water. This solution should be strong enough to overcome most mid-grade stains, but ramp it up to one part bleach to three parts of water for more resistant stains.
- Dip a rag into the bleach solution and wipe the fence. Follow with the scrubbing pad as needed.
- Rinse the fence with water from the hose and watch the stains fade away.
Full-force cleaning method
The sight of tar and grease on your white vinyl fence can be distressing, but they too are temporary. This is when it helps to remember that most stains lift rather easily from vinyl as long as you use the proper cleaning agents. To tackle the toughest stains that can come into contact with vinyl, assemble: a plastic scraper, tar remover or mineral spirits – found at home improvement and painting stores – rags and rubber gloves. Then, after cleaning your fence following the “light” cleaning method:
- Dampen a rag with the tar remover or mineral spirits, being sure to keep your distance from sparks or other flammable sources.
- Lightly rub the fence with the tar remover or mineral spirits. Follow the “less is more” maxim until the stain is gone.
- Rinse the fence with cool water from the hose. If you’ve used a good deal of mineral spirits to clean the fence, you’ll want to minimize splatter, so soak a rag with fresh water and rinse the fence for a more directed effort.
Cleaning your white vinyl fence with sudsy water at least once a year – not just when it reaches a crisis stage – can prevent dirt from building up and becoming caked on. And regular cleaning with bleach can actually repel mildew and mold. Bleach might not stop these elements from growing, but it will slow them down – and keep your white vinyl fence looking like the gleaming crowning touch it was meant to be.