How to Get Rid of Dirt and Stains on Your Fence
Fences are exposed to the elements, making them prone to dirt and stains. Wood fences can be particularly challenging as mildew and mold like to grow on them and stains can be difficult to remove. Learn more by clicking here.
The good news is that there are several ways to clean your fence without using a power washer, and without damaging your lawn or garden.
1. Pressure Washing
One of the best ways to get rid of dirt on a wood fence is with a pressure washer. The key is to use a low setting to not damage your fence.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, try using cleaning products that are specifically formulated for fences. These cleaners can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores. They work well to remove mold, mildew, and moss from a wood fence, as well as oil stains from car traffic and bird droppings.
A stainless steel wire brush can also be used to scrub off caked-on dirt or other debris from a wooden fence. Once the fence is clean, consider staining it to help preserve the wood and protect it from weathering.
2. Oxygen Bleach
Oxygen bleach is an oxygenated solution of hydrogen peroxide that cleans and removes organic stains (like mildew, mold, moss, and dirt) without damaging surfaces or leaving dangerous byproducts like chlorine bleach. This cleaner is available in powdered formulas to mix with water as needed or in liquid form in many different dilutions depending on your needs. The powdered formulas are more stable than the liquid and can be stored for long periods.
Before power washing, a wood fence can be pretreated by spraying it down with a garden hose set to high pressure to open the grain and rinse away clumps of dirt and debris. This also preps the surface for cleaning and prevents abrasions from the wire brush. Then follow the directions on the package of your chosen cleaner to apply it and scrub thoroughly.
Experts recommend starting with a quick hosing down with your garden hose and using a nozzle to control the water flow. This method will remove loose dirt and debris and help you identify more difficult stains and algae that require more work.
If you have a mildew- or mold-prone fence, try a homemade cleaning solution. Emma at Decor Home Ideas recommends a mixture of white vinegar and water as one of her top picks, since the product is inexpensive and easy to find in your pantry.
To make the vinegar solution, mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 gallon of water and apply it to your fence with a rag. Rinse the fence thoroughly afterward. Repeat as needed for stubborn stains. If you’re worried about damaging your wood, test the mixture on a small section of your fence before applying it to the entire surface.
4. Dish Soap
For dirt and general stains that don’t require significant pressure, cleaning your fence with a soap solution is a great way to go. This method works well for most stains, but may not be enough for embedded mold or extreme discoloration.
For vinyl fences, a textured sponge or scrub brush is a great tool to use in conjunction with this solution to get hard-to-reach spots. This technique is also a good option for removing rubber scuff marks, which are fairly common on vinyl fencing.
To make a soapy solution, fill a bucket with warm water mix in some white vinegar to kill mold and mildew, and then add some dish soap. Dip your sponge or scrub brush into the solution and then start wiping away!
You might not realize it, but water is a very powerful cleaning tool for your vinyl fence. A hose and nozzle with a high-pressure setting can remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants that are stuck to your fence.
You can also use a brush and water to scrub the surface of your vinyl fence. This can get rid of most mold, mildew, and other stains from your vinyl fence.
More severe stains might require the use of chemicals. Before you apply chemical cleaners, read the instructions on the label to ensure that it is safe for your vinyl fence. If you are going to use bleach, cover surrounding plants to avoid any runoff from the cleaning process. It is also a good idea to lubricate any moving parts on your fence like hinges and latches before starting to clean. Check out this interesting post!