How to Clean Your Vinyl Fence or Railing


Cleaning? I thought vinyl was low-maintenance!

Vinyl is low-maintenance, especially when compared to wood. You’re never going to have to paint vinyl or replace a rotting board or picket. But low-maintenance is not NO maintenance. Vinyl fencing and railing is outdoors, so vinyl fencing and railing is going to get dirty.

So how do I clean it?

Fortunately, cleaning vinyl is easy, and you probably already have what you need on hand. Soap or a mild detergent, some water, and a non-abrasive cloth (don’t use steel wool on your vinyl!) are great choices. You can also use citrus-based cleaners.

If you want to get fancy, you can use a pressure washer, but always make sure you’re using the recommended setting for vinyl. Read the pressure washer instructions before you begin.

Okay, but there are some stains that don’t come off with soap and water.

Some stains are stubborn. Rubber marks, permanent markers, paint, oil, tar, or nail polish will probably require a bit of elbow grease. But that still doesn’t mean you need an abrasive cloth! You can use a melamine foam pad like Magic Eraser ® or Easy Eraser ® on persistent stains. If that doesn’t work, try a tough spot remover that’s approved for use on outdoor vinyl, like Goof Off ™.

What about the small black dots that look like mold? How do I get rid of them?

This is called shotgun mold and it’s typically spread on vinyl fencing by landscaping mulch. You can clean it off using the stubborn stains method listed above.

 I followed the suggestions and now I have dull spots on my vinyl fence? How do I fix that?

The glossy shine of newly installed vinyl can rub off during cleaning. To address this, try wiping the vinyl with a clean damp cloth. If that doesn’t work, you can use an outdoor paste wax (non-abrasive, of course). Armor All® Paste Wax or Johnson® Paste Wax can help renew the gloss. Other gloss-renewing options include outdoor house wax, automotive wax, or plastic boat polish.

7 Insider tips to cleaning your outdoor vinyl

Topics: Vinyl Railing Outdoor Living Products Vinyl Fencing Lawn & Garden Products