How To Clean Different Types of Fencing

Keeping your fence clean is an essential part of fence maintenance.  A clean fence will not only help look better, but it will prolong its lifespan, too.  

Thankfully, cleaning fences is quite easy and can be completed with things you may already have in your cupboards or with a quick trip to your local hardware store.

Follow these tips for cleaning your vinyl, wooden, or metal fences.

One thing to keep in mind, no matter the material your fence is made of, if you plan to use a chemical cleaner, be sure to cover the ground and plants around the fence with plastic to prevent damage to the surrounding area.

Wood Fences

To protect your wooden fence from the elements and to keep it from cracking, cupping, or warping, you must keep your fence clean and sealed or stained.

Start by putting your safety glasses and gloves on. Once in place, mix a mild detergent solution.

Many people like Oxiclean or bleach, others prefer vinegar.  Scrub your fence with a fiber scrub brush or, for heavier debris, use a wire brush. Be sure your brushing strokes go with the grain of the wood.  

Be cautious not to scratch your natural or painted fence by using a light hand. Others opt for a pressure washer.

Power washers are just that, powerful!  Just be careful to use a washer that is rated at 2,700 PSI or less, use a wide angle tip, spray 18-24away from the fence, and keep the wand moving at all times.  Failing to do so could warp, dent, or take the paint off your fence.

Make sure to rinse the wood of any cleansers.  Add a sealant or stain once dry, if necessary.

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences will look dirty faster because of their bright color.  Thankfully, however, cleaning vinyl fences is very easy, inexpensive, and will only take a little bit of time.  Routinely maintaining and cleaning your vinyl fence will help it from becoming spotted with mildew and mold and keep it from greying with dirt.

Steer clear of products that contain bleach, as that could stain your vinyl fence.  Instead, use a sodium-bicarbonate-based cleanser.  Vinegar is a great cleanser for vinyl fencing, too.  Depending on how much dirt and mildew build up there is, youll use 1-2 cups of vinegar for every gallon of water.  Put on your gloves and dip a knotty terry cloth rag into your solution and start wiping/scrubbing.  Use a rag rather than a brush to avoid scratching the surface of your fence. A pressure washer may also be used.

Metal Fences

Cleaning your metal fence is important in avoid rust spot and dirt.  Regular cleaning and maintenance will stretch the lifespan of your fence immensely.  

Depending on how dirty your fence is, wire brushes can be used to get rid of dirt, rust, old paint, and caked on dirt.  If you think a wire brush isnt necessary you can use a soft bristled brush and some dish detergent.  Be sure to rinse any residual suds away. A pressure washer may also be used.