With any fence, mold can be an issue; and with vinyl, there are a few easy fixes and ways to prevent it.
To keep mold off of a vinyl fence, wash it or spray it down at least once a week. If the weather tends to be wet or the air is humid, mold may be a persistent issue. If so, apply a mold resistant spray to the fence every season.
There are some easy fixes to the mold on your fence and we have to solutions for you.
Why Does Mold Grow on a Fence?
Mold is, simply put, a bacteria that grows on any wet, or moist surface. It thrives in humid and shady climates.
On a vinyl fence, mold tends to grow because of water retention, nearby trees, or dust accumulation. The most common cause, though, is water retention. This is mainly a result of sprinklers, rain, snow, or morning dew.
Water droplets form in the cracks and crevices on the vinyl and make a great home for the mold bacteria. The most common places that this happens on a vinyl fence is in the posts and the base fence board where the water accumulates and can’t escape or dry up.
How to Properly Remove Mold from a Vinyl Fence
Since mold is an ever-present problem, especially when it comes to fences, there are lots of different solutions to remove the mold and kill the bacteria.
Option 1: Once-weekly rinse
The fastest and easiest way to remove mold from a vinyl fence is to spray it down with a hose once a week. This is a bit easier to do if you have a spray handle rather than just using the end of a hose, but that will work, as well.
Just remember: this technique is effective in removing the mold once it’s already growing, but it doesn’t do anything to prevent or kill the mold bacteria.
Option 2: Soap and water scrub
Another fast and simple way to remove mold on a vinyl fence is just with soap, water, and a scrub brush.
This requires a bit more grunt work and may take a lot more time, but it sure does the trick! Some people suggest doing this once a week, others say once a month.
You really can’t ever scrub too much with soap and water, so wash at your own discretion; however often you want to wash your fence is up to you.
Now, a regular kitchen sponge isn’t recommended for this job. There’s a lot of area to cover and the sponge will wear out quickly. Try to use a bristle brush with a handle. It’s much more sturdy, it’s much easier to maneuver and your hands won’t be as tired by the time you’re done.
Once you’ve scrubbed the fence with soap and water, rinse it once over with a hose. Mold thrives in grime and debris so leaving any soap residue will actually help it grow.
Option 3: Bleach solution scrub
Scrubbing the mold-covered vinyl fence with a water and bleach solution is also a fabulous technique to remove the bacteria.
This method, unlike using a hose to spray down the fence, is pretty time consuming and can be a bit messy. If you choose to use bleach, use a 2 parts water, 1 part bleach solution.
Make sure you wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) while scrubbing the fence with bleach. You’ll want to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and gloves so you don’t experience any skin irritation or breakdown.
You also want to protect your plants from the bleach solution so make sure to take the proper precautions for them; grass, bushes, trees, shrubbery, etc.
Cover everything surrounding your fence with a plastic sheet or garbage bags. This protects everything from any bleach splash and keeps your lawn and plants nice, green, and healthy.
That’s a lot of work, so if nothing else, at least make sure the grass you’re working on is covered with plastic.
Also, this only will work on white vinyl fencing. Bleach will distort any other colors.
How to Prevent Mold from Growing on a Vinyl Fence
First and foremost, any fence requires basic and continuous maintenance. This is especially true when it comes to mold removal and prevention. Expect to clean your fence at least once a month, if not more.
That being said, there are preventative measures you can take to help avoid mold growth. Otherwise, here are a few things to do about the issue:
Fences don’t seem like something in your yard that would require any constant maintenance, but they definitely do. This is especially crucial when trying to prevent mold from growing.
As mentioned above, there are a few tips on how to remove mold from a vinyl fence, but some of those same things apply for preventing mold, as well.
Providing your vinyl fence with a once-weekly spray down with a hose and water, even before there’s any sign of mold growth, will help wash any Of that bacteria off.
Mold doesn’t necessarily grow on the vinyl itself but tends to stick to other substances already on the vinyl: water, tree sap, mildew, dust, and other debris. So, spraying down the fence and getting all the other stuff off of it will help prevent mold from growing on it.
Now, make sure, when you spray your fence down, it’s a bright sunny day. If you give the vinyl fence a nice wash and there’s no sun to dry it out, you’re providing mold an even better environment to grow on your fence. So, only do this if you know the sun will be shining.
Bleach kills most bacteria, including mold. As mentioned above, it does remove mold once it’s already growing. But, if you wash your fence with a bleach solution before you notice any mold it prevents it from ever growing in the first place!
Rather than using a scrub brush to wash your fence, if you’re using the bleach as a preventative measure, just put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the fence.
This method is much easier than scrubbing, takes a lot less time, and an extremely effective preventative measure.
Again, make sure the surrounding plants are protected from the bleach solution, and be sure to wear your PPE (personal protective equipment).
Other Preventative Measures
Now, weekly and even monthly, maintenance can definitely be a hassle and very time-consuming. And, let’s face it: not many people like to spend that much time working outside in the yard.
So, there are a few things you can do to your fence right after installation and once a season to help prevent the growth of mold. These methods really only require 1 or 2 applications per year which rather than once a month bleach application.
Some of these products include:
30-Second Outdoor Cleaner
This product has really great reviews and can be used on so many different surface, not just vinyl. Just mix the solution 1 part cleaner to 2 parts water and spray on the dry vinyl.
Rinse immediately and let it air dry. Again, make sure it’s a bright sunny day so it dries properly.
This bottle is made to attach to the end of your hose.
Mold Armor E-Z House Wash
This cleaner is specifically formulated to kill the mold bacteria and prevent it from growing.
When using this product, just add to a garden sprayer and spray the fence, starting at the bottom and working up. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and spray it down with a hose.
This product isn’t a concentrated solution so you don’t have to mix it with any water. It also won’t damage the plants and grass around the fence as long as you spray them with water first.
Here’s a link to Home Depot’s website for this cleaner.
Wet&Forget: moss, mold, mildew, and algae stain remover
This specific product claims that after one application, any mold, mildew or algae bacteria will die. It also claims to help prevent any mold as well.
It seems pretty simple to use: mix the concentrate with water, put in a sprayer, spray the affected area on the vinyl fence and leave it. It does not require any scrubbing or rinsing.
This one is made to attach to the end of a hose and doesn’t require mixing.
Moldex Mold Killer
This Moldex Mold Killer is made specifically to kill and prevent the mold bacteria on any outdoor surface, including vinyl fences.
It comes in a bottle with a spray tip on it already so there’s no need to dilute it, mix it, or put it in another sprayer. Like I said before, it does work to kill the mold bacteria, but it works best in prevention.
With this mold killer, simply spray it on the surface, leave for a few minutes, and wipe clean. If the vinyl fence is already moldy, you should see the mold come clean off the surface right away.
This chemical is marketed as a mold prevention technique, as well. So once you apply it, unless you live in a very humid and wet part of the country, there shouldn’t be any mold growing. If you do live in one of these very wet places, you may need to reapply a couple of times in order for it to be effective.
Here’s a link to this product from Amazon.