Cleaning Tips for Vinyl Fencing
Many homeowners install vinyl fencing because of its virtually maintenance-free qualities, but maintenance-free does not necessarily mean dirt-free. With any vinyl fence installation, Salem homeowners may find that the elements can take their toll, as can scuff marks, paint, garden tools, children and oils. While the market offers several specialized products for cleaning vinyl fencing materials, Salem residents can often clean their vinyl fencing with items found in their own pantries or cleaning supplies.
Like the inside of your home, you should regularly clean your vinyl fence to keep it looking like new. For the general cleaning of a fence installation, Salem residents typically only need to pick up a garden hose and rinse the fence with water. For heavier buildups of mud or dust, you can use a pressure washer on its lowest setting (about 1,200 to 1,500 PSI). Alternatively, you can also use a soft-bristled brush (like the kind you use for washing dishes) to gently scrub off stubborn dirt and debris.
Tires, sneakers and any rubber surface can leave unsightly scuff marks on vinyl fencing. As soon as you see a scuffmark on your Salem fence installation, grab a wedge-shaped pencil eraser. Rub the eraser over the scuff mark as if you were erasing something you wrote with a pencil. For extra help, gently use super-fine steel wool to eliminate the scuff marks. If the mark is stubborn, you can try using paint thinner and a rag. Remember to wear protective gloves and safety goggles when using chemicals. Additionally, bear in mind that paint thinner is highly flammable.
Latex and enamel-based paints are easier to remove from any fence materials Salem homeowners have accidentally painted. First, see if you can lift the paint using a fingernail or plastic scraper without damaging the fence. If this does not work, apply a thin coat of paint thinner over the affected area of vinyl fencing and allow the chemical to sit for five minutes. Then, using an absorbent rag, carefully wipe the paint off while sweeping the rag in one direction; do not try to scrub off the paint. Repeat until the paint is gone.
For paint that is harder to remove, some may recommend using acetone or xylene. These products, however, can ruin the composition of your fence by turning it into rubber if you do not practice extreme caution. Using acetone or xylene on vinyl fencing will also cause it to look dull.
Rust and Hard Water Stains
No matter the type of fence installation, Salem homes all suffer the consequences of Oregon’s rain, which can cause both rust and hard water stains. To remove these types of stains, spray white vinegar onto the affected areas and rub with a soft cloth, applying light pressure. Repeat this process until the stains disappear.
Mold and Mildew
Another consequence of Northwest rain, mold and mildew easily grow on vinyl fencing. Because harsh chemicals, like bleach, can harm the environment around your fence, opt for earth-friendly, biodegradable solutions. Fill a bucket partially with water and, in a separate container, mix together 2 cups of Castile (biodegradable) soap, ½ cup white vinegar and several drops of tea tree oil, which naturally kills mold and mildew. Add 2 teaspoons of the soapy solution to the water, dip a rag in the mixture, and gently scrub off the mold and mildew. Alternatively, you can mix equal parts Simple Green and water to create an earth-friendly cleaning solution to combat the mold and mildew on your vinyl fencing.
General Tough Stains
Ink, gum, wax, lipstick, nail polish, crayon, grease and tar may seem trickier to remove from vinyl fencing than they really are. To remove these stains, gently use a rubber scraper to remove the excess build-up. Chill the gum before scraping. Then, use mineral spirits and soft cloth to wipe away the stains. For extra-sticky gum, spray non-fat cooking spray on it to dissolve its sticky properties, followed by mineral spirits to clean the surface of the vinyl fencing. For tough stains, use a mixture of baking soda and water.
Before you go out and purchase commercial fence cleaners, look in your pantry. You may find you already have the solution for cleaning your vinyl fencing.