How to Care for Your Vinyl Fence

Occasionally, someone will ask us for the best way to clean their virtually maintenance free fence.  To wash the stains off the fence, use a soft bristle brush attached to a garden hose, similar to a brush you would use to wash your car.  If a brush isn't available, just the garden hose with forced water pressure will suffice.  Be sure to protect all nearby landscaping from any direct contact with cleaning agents.

Here are some tips and techniques for cleaning your PVC fence.

Scuff marks from mower tires are a common problem on PVC fences.  Most marks of this nature can be removed by using a rough-textured, clean rag dipped in lacquer thinner.  This rag can be used to scrub the affected area until the marks are gone.  When doing this, you should always wear safety goggles and remember, the lacquer thinner is flammable.

If paint is the culprit, your task is more difficult.  However, paint can usually be removed successfully from vinyl surfaces if it is an enamel or latex base paint.  You can apply lacquer thinner to the surface with a spray bottle or clean brush, wait a short time to allow it to soften the paint, and then wipe it with a clean, absorbent rag.  it is important to wipe carefully in one direction rather than scrub because you want to remove the softened paint, not smear it.  Repeat this process until the area is free from paint.  This method works best if the affected surface can be removed and laid flat to prevent "runs" when the lacquer thinner is applied, but it is also successful on the vertical surfaces (you will just need to wipe the area with the clean rag quickly to prevent runs.)

If the paint is an acrylic base variety, removal is not always successful.  You can try the previously mentioned process.  If that is not successful, as a last resort, you can wipe the area with a clean rag dipped in acetone or xylene.  The acetone or xylene will turn to PVC to rubber, so it must be flushed with water immediately.  If you must resort to using acetone, the treated area will look duller than the surrounding area until the fence weathers for six to eight months.  This method is not desirable, but some customers may be in a situation where they must choose between a vandalized fence and a duller-looking fence.  You might also consider replacement under your homeowner's insurance, if vandalism is the problem.



A frequently asked cleaning questions is, "How do I remove rust stains from my vinyl fence?"  The first part of the solution, removing the source of the stain, depends on if the "rust" is caused by items such as hanging brackets, or from deposits collected on a fence from a lawn watering system.  If the rust has been created by a metal item, you need to remove the item, clean it and paint it before removing the rust from your fence and replacing the metal item.  If the residue us from well water with high mineral deposits, one could try to remedy the cause - dig a new well or install filters (both are expensive but the cause of the deposits needs to be removed or you will continually have to clean your fence).

To clean rust stains and hard water mineral stains from vinyl, there are several prducts that have been found to work successfully.   CLR and LIME-AWAY are available at large discount stores and some grocery stores.  Spray the cleaning solution on, then wipe or scrub with a clean rag as necessary.  Dun-Rite Lime Solvent (402-721-3061) works quite well on hard water scale.  You should spray it on, scrub the surface, and then flush it with water.  WHINK (800-247-5012 or is a product that has worked quite well on larger jobs.  It should be applied to a dry surface, allowed to stand for a few minutes, then wiped and flushed with water.  Hy-Pro Spray Cleen (888-826-5808 or also can be tried on larger jobs.  Spray it on, scrub with a nylon pad and then flush with water.  Most toilet bowl cleaners can be used on vinyl surfaces, but it would be wise to attempt cleaning a small, hidden area first to see if you are successful with no side-effects.

As with all chemicals, please follow label instructions and precautions.


Type of Stain

Cleaning Agent


Special Cleaning Procedures

Mold & Mildew

NORMAL Cleaning:  1 cup Simple Green and 1 gallon of water

VERY DIRTY Cleaning:  1/2 cup Simple Green and 1/2 cup Water

Mix the appropriate solution for your cleaning needs

Apply with soft cloth.  Use only a little pressure for normal cleaning.  You may use slightly more pressure for the very dirty stains.

Asphalt, Crayon, Greases, Oils, Tars, Wax, etc.

Solvents:  Mineral Spirits, VMP Naphtha Auto Tar Remover

Use plastic scraper to remove excess

Apply mineral spirits with a soft cloth.  Use only a little pressure to polish stained areas.  Rinse with water after stain is removed.

Gum, Lipstick, Marking Inks, Nail Polish, etc.

Trichloroethylene (Cleaning Fluid)

Use plastic scraper to remove excess.  The gum needs to be chilled for removal.

Apply mineral spirits with a soft cloth.  Use only a little pressure to remove stain.  Rinse with water.

Stubborn Stains

Xylene Lacquer Thinner

Use this method ONLY if the others have failed.

Moisten a small section with thinner and vigorously rub.

Rust and Hardware Stains

Magic, CLR, or Vinegar


Apply with soft cloth.  Use only a little pressure for normal cleaning.  You may use slightly more pressure for dirtier stains.

Print this chart

DISCLAIMER:  For your protection, always wear gloves and safety glasses when using any chemical.  Brooker Fence Company, Inc. does not guarantee that these chemicals will remove stains.  If unsure of proper use or procedures, please follow the manufacturer's instructions, or call the chemical manufacturer for recommendations on how to use them.