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Cleaning Fences: The How To Cleaning Guide for Maintenance Free Fences

vinyl privacy fence

If you’re one of the 65.1% of Americans who call themselves a homeowner, you likely are continually looking for ways to improve the home’s look.  So, in this post, we are writing about cleaning fences. 

So, if you are wondering how to clean your type of fence and what steps you need to take, keep reading cause we have the answers.

Though every fence we install across St Louis is a maintenance-free fence, you’ll still need to wipe it down occasionally. Read on to learn how to clean every type of maintenance-free fence to ensure the most extended life from your fence.

How to Clean a Vinyl FEnce

Cleaning Vinyl Fences

As one of the most popular fences on the market, vinyl fencing is a staple of many people’s homes. It’s versatile, in many different colors and styles, and is easy to clean. Read on to learn how to get your lovely vinyl fence in top shape this spring to keep your yard looking great!


To clean a vinyl fence, you’re going to want to get:

  • A bucket of warm water
  • Vinegar OR bleach (not both!)
  • A pressure washer


Although vinyl is one of the most weather-resistant materials, it will get dirty in winter. Ice and snow accumulate on it and then melt into muddy slush. The mud gets slung upward and splashes onto the vinyl pickets. Getting this grime off is easy- you need to know how!

You have a couple of options for how to do this. The first is to use a pressure washer and hose down your fence. Cleaning will go much faster. Just make sure you remember to wash it from all angles so that the grime gets off both the inside and outside of your fence and between the pickets!

If you like, you can even include cleaning solutions for many pressure washers today.

After hosing your fence down, you may want to wipe it down a little more. This will ensure you don’t miss any spots of grime on your fence. Mix a little vinegar or bleach (not both) with warm water and wipe the fence down. After that, rinse it with water again to ensure that the vinegar or bleach acidity doesn’t sit on the fence for too long!

How to Clean an Aluminum Fence

Cleaning Aluminum Fences

While vinyl fences are incredibly quick and easy to clean, aluminum fences need next to no maintenance. If you have these installed outside your home, your spring cleaning will be much easier than any of your neighbors. Read on to learn the straightforward steps you’ll need to take to keep your metal fence shining.


Cleaning an aluminum fence is easy, but you’ll still need:

  • A soft cloth
  • A bucket of warm water (maybe)


Even though aluminum fences are incredibly durable, they require very little maintenance. All you need to do is wipe it down with a soft, dry cloth, paying particular attention to areas that have additional dirt and grime on them. When it comes to these areas, you can also use a bit of plain warm water.

That’s it! It is that simple.

However, you distinctly must know NOT to do things when cleaning an aluminum fence. Do NOT attempt to clean your fence with something acidic like vinegar.

Although vinegar is a critical ingredient in many metal cleaners (including those for cleaning steel and simulated stone fences), aluminum isn’t strong enough to weather its acidity without corrosion. While aluminum is durable and weather-resistant, acidic compounds are a weakness that will cause rusting.


Cleaning Steel Fence

Cleaning Steel Fences

Steel fencing is one of the sturdiest types of privacy fencing on the market. While it’s significantly more challenging to clean than aluminum, it’s worth the effort if you want a metal that will last you for many decades without needing to be replaced. Read on to learn how to clean your steel privacy fence and ensure it has as long a lifespan as possible.


To clean a steel fence, you’ll need:

  • A bucket filled with warm water
  • Household dish detergent
  • A soft cloth
  • A fine-bristled toothbrush


While it’s easy to get moss and algae off aluminum fences, scraping this grime off higher-quality metals like steel is a bit more challenging. Pressure washing a steel fence may sound like a good idea- steel is incredibly durable- but this is a huge mistake. When you spray steel with a pressure washer, the surface protection will likely come off, opening the fence to the possibility of future erosion.

Your steel fence may be painted. Pressure washers are notorious for chipping the paint off of things they spray and causing incredible surface damage. It’s best to avoid attempting this altogether.

Instead, you will want to wash your steel fence by hand. Mix some dish detergent into your bucket filled with warm water until soap bubbles to the surface.

Once this happens, you can get to work by dipping your cloth in and gently wiping the fence down. Be sure to start at the top and work your way down to the bottom to ensure you don’t get the lower parts of the fence dirty immediately after being cleaned!

Once that’s done, scrape any hard-to-reach, ornamental places on your fence with the toothbrush. This will ensure you get moss, algae, dirt, and other grime off every part of the fence without missing any spots.


Privacy Fence by CertainTeed

Cleaning Composite Fences

Our composite fences are visually appealing and promote privacy in all areas of your life. They’re made of polyethylene but also reinforced with galvanized steel, preparing the way you want to clean them somewhat similar to the idea that you clean steel fences. Read on to learn more specifics on how to clean your simulated stone privacy fence!


You’ll need these materials to clean a simulated stone fence:

  • Two spray bottles
  • Two soft cloths
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar


While reinforced with steel, your simulated stone fence is made of more materials than a simple steel one would be. This means you will want to clean it by hand, as you would with a steel fence. However, you’ll need a special cleaner to remove the dirt and grime from every nook and cranny.

A homemade stainless steel cleaner is the most effective way to clean your simulated stone fence.

To create this cleaner, you’ll first need to put white vinegar into a spray bottle. The first step to cleaning your simulated stone privacy fence is to spray this vinegar onto the fencing. After that, wipe them dry with a soft towel (it can be made of either cloth or paper- it doesn’t matter.)

After that, fill a second spray bottle with water and repeat these steps with the water! Doing this ensures that the acid from the vinegar will be removed from the fence and prevents any possibility of poor reactions with the metal over time. After all, you don’t want the acid to discolor your beautiful simulated stone surface!

More Tips on Cleaning Fences

While dirt and grime coating your fence over time is a natural development, it doesn’t need to stay that way. There are effective ways to clean every material that might make up your fence so that you can ensure that it looks clean and beautiful going into the new season.

Now that you know how to clean a privacy fence made from any given material, it’s time to check out our resources on our St. Louis fence company webpage.

Click here to browse our resource center for more on maintaining your fence!

Are you not yet convinced?  Dig deeper with The Ultimate Guide to Fencing!

The Ultimate Guide to Fencing


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Tim Kelley

With over four decades in the St. Louis fencing industry, Tim Kelly leads Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions as its President. He is renowned for his commitment to quality, ethics, and community involvement.

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