How to Clean a Wood Fence
Wood fencing tends to be aesthetically pleasing, unless you've put off cleaning it for too long. Over time, a wood fence can become home to algae, mildew and mold growth, and eventually begin rotting.
Cleaning a wooden fence with household bleach, as many people do, can cause damage and discoloration if done incorrectly. Chlorine bleach runoff can also harm surrounding plants, patios and other surfaces.
Simple Green Oxy Solve Deck and Fence Cleaner is ideal for both manual and pressure washing to lift and remove dirt and grime from fencing. The fast-acting foaming formula eliminates tough stains from mold and mildew, tree sap, pollen, scuff marks, oxidation, weathering and more. It utilizes the power of peroxide to provide high-performance cleaning without toxic or abrasive chemicals.
Wood fences can improve the look of your yard for many years, depending on the type of wood you use and the climate you live in. Regular cleaning and maintenance with a stain or sealer can help both preserve the classic look and prolong the life of your fence.
Use the directions below to deep clean your fence at least once a year. To learn more about proper pressure washing equipment, technique and cleaning products, click here.
Pressure Washing Directions
If your prefer cleaning with a pressure washer, it's best to do it under cooler, non-windy conditions, when the surface you're cleaning is not in direct sunlight. This ensures the cleaner does not dry on your surface before rinsing, and the spray doesn't blow back in your face.
- Wet. Use a 25-degree tip on your pressure washer to rinse a few boards of your fence at a low setting. Hold the pressure washer wand firmly with both hands, keeping the nozzle at least three feet from the surface. Start further out and work your way in as needed, as any closer and the high pressure could warp and indent the wood.
- Prepare pressure washer. Drop the siphon tube into your bottle of Simple Green Oxy Solve Deck and Fence Cleaner or fill the on-board soap reservoir.
- Apply Simple Green. Use the same tip to apply Simple Green Oxy Solve to the same rinsed boards. Apply the cleaner from bottom to top. Spray in long, even strokes and be sure to change the area you're spraying frequently.
- Scrub stained areas. Use a scrub brush to remove mold and mildew stains, tree sap, oxidation, weathering and other troublesome spots.
- Let it sit. Allow the cleaner to dwell on the surface for 3-5 minutes to lift and dissolve dirt, stains and grime. Do not allow the product to dry on the surface.
- Flush pressure washer. Change to your 40° nozzle and flush out any remaining detergent from the line.
- Rinse. Rinse the boards with clean water at a low setting, moving from top to bottom.
- Repeat until clean. Continue wetting, cleaning and rinsing the fence in small sections until the entire fence is clean.
Manual Cleaning Directions
- Prepare cleaning solution. Fill a bucket with 1.5 cups of Simple Green Oxy Solve with 2 gallons of water.
- Apply Simple Green. Dip a scrub brush or sponge into your solution and scrub a few boards at a time.
- Let it sit. Allow the cleaner to sit for 3-5 minutes without drying.
- Rinse. Rinse with a garden hose at low pressure.
- Repeat until clean. Move to a new section of boards and repeat.
An oil-based stain will color the wood and highlight its natural grain. Depending on the type of wood and your climate, you can plan on re-staining your fence about every three years.
On the other hand, a sealer forms a protective UV and moisture barrier. Since sealants are made of wax, they will wear away more quickly and require a new layer at least once a year.
TIP: If you've just finished cleaning, allow your fence to dry for at least 24 hours before sanding, staining or painting it.