How to Clean Vinyl Fencing


Wayne asked: How do I clean vinyl fencing? The vinyl fence has both grass stains and some black scuff marks where the lawn tractor has brushed against it. Using a power washer did not clear it off by itself or with soap. Any ideas on how to clean this would be appreciated.

Vinyl fencing makes a beautiful addition to any home and requires much less maintenance than real wood. It can tolerate a variety of cleaning methods and products which is good news when you’re dealing with a mixture of stains. Though it may take some elbow grease, the fence will be looking new in no time.

General Cleaning and Light Stains

Use this method for seasonal cleaning of typical dirt and dust build up.

You Will Need:

  • Garden hose with sprayer
  • Dish soap
  • Old clothes or towels
  • Scrubbing pad (non abrasive)
  • Bucket
  • Water

Steps to Clean the Fence:

  1. Begin by hosing down the entire fence with a garden hose.
  2. Use the sprayer attachment to get some force behind the water.
  3. Clean from the bottom of the fence to the top, working in small sections.
  4. The hose will remove most of the dirt and grime, but there may be a few areas that are stubborn and require some scrubbing.
  5. To tackle these, fill a bucket with warm water and add some dish soap to it.
  6. Agitate the water to mix it well.
  7. Moisten the old cloth or towel with the water and begin wiping the fence. A non-abrasive scrubber can be used for stubborn areas.
  8. Once clean, rinse again with the hose.

Cleaning Tough Stains

Use this method for those tough grass, food and other organic stains that the dish soap won’t remove.

You Will Need:

  • Bleach
  • Old clothes or towels
  • Scrubbing pad (non abrasive)
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

Steps to Clean the Fence:

  1. Fill a bucket with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water. This mixture can be made weaker or stronger depending on the color of your fence (dark colors would use less bleach) and the amount of dirt. For example, if your fences are white and are covered with stains, use 1 part bleach to 3 parts water.
  2. Moisten the cloth or towel with the bleach/water mixture and scrub away the stains.
  3. Remoisten the cloth as needed. For darker fences, rinse the mixture off as soon as you’ve removed the stains.
  4. Again, for stubborn stains, a non-abrasive scrubber can be used.

Removing Grass Stains, Tar, Grease, etc.

You Will Need:

  • Wood or plastic scraper
  • Mineral spirits or automotive tar remover
  • Soft cloths
  • Rubber gloves

Steps to Clean the Fence:

  1. Begin by cleaning the fence using the general cleaning method described above.
  2. Protect your hands with rubber gloves.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth with either mineral spirits or tar remover.
  4. Gently rub the stained area. Do not apply too much pressure or it will leave a polished mark.
  5. Once the stain is removed, rinse thoroughly with water. This can be done with a bucket or the garden hose.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • A quick cleaning product is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It is non-abrasive and will remove a variety of stains effortlessly from the surface of vinyl.
  • If your vinyl fencing is colored, test a small, hidden area first before using the cleaning products to ensure they will not cause damage or discoloration.
  • If none of the above cleaning methods will remove the stain, use xylene. Moisten a soft cloth with the liquid and scrub the surface vigorously. Rinse completely with water.
  • Clean your fences regularly, at least once or twice a year to keep dirt and stains from becoming major and difficult to remove.
  • Mold and mildew are a common problem on vinyl fencing. Use the second cleaning method with bleach to remove these stains and prevent future growth.