Cheaper than other fencing options, vinyl can be customized to achieve the perfect look for your yard; however, over time vinyl fencing can collect dirt, mold, mildew, and algae. Before you begin disinfecting your fence with harsh chemicals such as bleach there are a few things you should know.
Bleach is a powerful cleaner for removing dirt and grime from various surfaces including vinyl fences; however, be careful putting bleach on a vinyl fence as improper use leads to fade and corrosion. Avoid using bleach on any colored vinyl fencing as this could damage the fence’s color.
While an effective product, bleach can be dangerous if not used in the proper proportions or scenarios. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about bleach’s effects on vinyl as well as how to use it and other methods to clean both white and colored vinyl fencing.
Bleach and Vinyl Fences
Bleach is the preferred cleaning or disinfectant product in most households; however, if used improperly bleach can cause damage to the intended surface, animals or children, plants, and even us. Protect your family by knowing how to use bleach correctly.
With a pH of 11, bleach is extremely basic and harmful undiluted. All bleach concentrates should be diluted with water prior to use. Never dilute bleach with another chemical or cleaning solution.
The US Center for Disease Control recommends mixing 1/3 cup bleach with at least one gallon of water. Be sure to pour the bleach into the water to avoid any undiluted splashback.
Direct contact with undiluted bleach could result in an allergic reaction or serious burns. Wear proper protective gear when using bleach to clean any surface.
Learn more about mistakes to avoid making with bleach from the American Association of Retired Persons here!
To avoid any unintended damage from the use of bleach, only use it on a calm day as the wind could spread the mixture onto unwanted surfaces.
In addition to harming yourself or others, an excessive amount of bleach will corrode your vinyl fencing. Be sure to follow the dilution instructions for your bleach product or use the guidelines listed above.
Bleach is effective for removing dirt, mold, mildew, grime, and potentially color. To maintain the color of your vinyl fencing opt for an alternative cleaner. However, if your vinyl fencing is white, diluted bleach will have no effect on the color.
Before deciding that bleach is the right cleaning solution for you, look at the surroundings of your fence. Are there perfectly trimmed bushes, beautiful blooms, or well-manicured grass near the fencing? If so, bleach should be used sparingly or avoided altogether as it may harm any plants it comes in contact with.
Be sure to keep children and animals away from where you clean as they too can be harmed by the bleach mixture.
Cleaning Vinyl Fencing with Bleach
Typically, a vinyl fence (or any fence for that matter) can be cleaned with a pressure washer. However, if you do not have a pressure washer you may find yourself looking for an alternative method.
If you find yourself in this situation a bleach treatment could be the perfect option. The materials you need to complete a bleach treatment are:
- bleach concentrate,
- a spray bottle,
- and, a brush.
Start by mixing your bleach with water. Depending on how much area you need to clean, you may have to refill your spray bottle. Then, rinse off the surface of your fence with either your garden hose or a bucket of water.
Take your spray bottle of bleach and coat one area. It’s best to focus on one area at a time to avoid streaking or missing spots. Let the bleach mix sit for five to ten minutes before rinsing with water.
If any trouble spots remain, repeat the process this time scrubbing with the brush before rinsing. Although this may seem like a tedious process, you will begin to see results within minutes!
Vinyl Cleaners Other Than Bleach
If you have a colored vinyl fence or even a white vinyl fence surrounded by various types of plants, you will need a cleaning solution other than bleach. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from when cleaning your vinyl fencing.
The first alternative solution to bleach is another common household product, dish soap.
Although this might sound strange, dish soap is an effective cleanser for more than just last night’s lasagna pan. Other surfaces dish soap can clean are cars, toilets, clothing, glasses, as well as your fencing!
For cleaning a vinyl fence with dish soap, follow the same steps given for bleach, replacing the bleach with a dish soap mixture. Because dish soap is not as powerful as bleach, you may need to repeat the process a few more times to receive equal results.
Still worried a dish soap mixture will harm your lawn? No need! Dish soap can actually be a helpful lawn care tool. Spraying small amounts of diluted dish soap onto your lawn in the summer can remove mosses and help lock in moisture.
Another less harmful mildew remover you can get from your pantry is vinegar. Use either diluted or undiluted to remove mildew and mold from your colored vinyl fencing. However, do not spray any surrounding plants as the acidity could harm them.
Do you only have a small area of fence to clean?
If so, a magic eraser could be the perfect solution. Known for removing stains from most surfaces, a melamine sponge (magic eraser) is a quick and easy solution to small mildew or mold spots showing on your fence.
Although each of these solutions is effective, there is one solution better than the rest to protect your fence from needing a bleach treatment: Frequent cleaning!
Try to wash your vinyl fencing at least once every other week with either the garden hose or a pressure washer. To further protect your fence, gently scrub with soap at least once a month.
With proper fence maintenance, there will be no need for bleach or any other harmful chemicals to keep your fence clean.