How To Clean A Fence with Wet & Forget
If good fences make good neighbors, do clean fences make clean neighbors? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your property’s borders to wallow in dirt, mold, and mildew.
So, take a gander through our guide on how to clean your fence so you can maintain positive boundaries with everyone who borders your property.
Why Do Fences Get Dirty?
Fences suffer from the same hazards that almost all outdoor structures do:
- Dirt and mud
- Mold and mildew
Dirt and mud’s placement on the above list shouldn’t be too surprising. Yards are literally dirty, and wind and rain work together to thwack your fence with dirt, mud, and other loose debris with ease and regularity.
The other items on the list may seem slightly more mysterious, but anything left untouched outside can quickly fall prey to those organic growths. Additionally, each prefers damp environments, though mold and mildew prefer a darker living space to algae and lichen.
While each of these growths is different, they can be difficult to differentiate. In fact, you may have to get uncomfortably close to determine what exactly it is that’s inhabiting your yard’s physical borders.
Their texture is one indicator: lichen and moss have a structure to them, and you should be able to feel them if you run your hand over them. Lichen and moss each tend to be vibrant green when wet, but lichen offers a broader spectrum of color when dried.
If you don’t feel a structured texture when you run your hand over the stain, you’re more likely dealing with algae, mold, or mildew. Whether the growth is more abundant in sunlight or shade will help you identify the culprit from that point, as algae require sunlight to grow while mold and mildew do not.
Of course, after touching so many weird things on your fence, please make sure to wash your hands before doing anything else.
Even if you’ve always wanted that hip, mossy vibe in your yard, don’t let your fence serve as an organic growth’s new outpost. At best, you could be left with permanent discoloration, and, at worst, you could find yourself having to replace your deteriorated fencing sooner than expected.
How to Clean Your Fence
The first step in any project is to gather your tools. In this case, that means finding a few things:
- Wet & Forget Outdoor Concentrate
- Garden pump sprayer
While you may have to engage in some slight scrubbing if the issue with your fence has more to do with dirt and mud than organic growth, cleaning stains caused by the growth will only require Wet & Forget Outdoor.
Wet & Forget Outdoor contains no bleach and is non-acidic. The lack of bleach is critical here, as bleach has a high pH level of 13 while Wet & Forget’s pH level is 8 and far more neutral.
Due to the lack of bleach, Wet & Forget Outdoor is safe to use on practically any outdoor surface, including:
- Painted and stained surfaces
The spray works with wind and rain to clean gently over time. Green stains are typically gone within a few weeks, while black stains can take several months.
Long-established discolorations may require a second application a month or two after the first. It can take between six and 12 months to return these more stubborn stains.
A single application of Wet & Forget Outdoor can keep outdoor surfaces clean for up to a year or longer, depending on the climate, humidity, and available sunlight.
Wet & Forget Outdoor works best when temperatures are above freezing, and there’s no rain in the forecast for up to five hours after application.
While Wet & Forget Outdoor is gentle on the environment, the presence of grass, plants, and gardens near your fence requires some precautions. You can protect your lawn and garden from any potential overspray by rinsing them with fresh water before and after application.
Finally, refrain from using any Wet & Forget Outdoor product within 100 feet of any pond, stream, lake, or water body running off into local waterways.
How to Remove Algae, Mold, and Mildew
With all this in mind and your tools at your side, it’s time to start cleaning away algae, mold, and mildew. Follow these steps, and you should be able to clean all your fencing in only a few minutes:
- Dilute the Wet & Forget Concentrate with water in a garden pump sprayer or backpack sprayer. We advise using a 1 part Wet & Forget to 5 parts water mixing ratio. If you have a one gallon sprayer, we advise adding 20 oz (2 ½ cups) to your sprayer then filling the rest with water up to the one gallon mark.
- Thoroughly spray your fence.
- Keep pets and family away from the fence for 4 to 5 hours.
That’s all you need to do to get Wet & Forget to gently clean your fence over time. If any stains are particularly stubborn, consider a second application a month or two later. One gallon of the Wet & Forget Concentrate will cover 750-2,250 square feet, depending on the porosity of the surface.
How to Remove Moss and Lichen
Moss and lichen are slightly more complex than other organic growths. That means you may need a particular focus on areas contaminated by their presence.
For moss, spray it until soaked to the surface to which it’s clinging. Within a few days or weeks, the moss will brown, curl up, and detach, allowing it to be swept away with wind and rain.
For lichen, spray until it’s fully saturated. Wait 15 minutes to allow the outer shell to open up, and then apply Wet & Forget Outdoor to the growth again to get into the second layer of the growth.
How to Remove Dirt and Mud
To get rid of mud and dirt, first, brush away any loose debris or dirty spots. Spray caked-on mud with your hose to loosen it up, then scrub or brush away.
A second spray of the hose can rinse off any lingering dirt.
How to Remove Rust
Most of our cleaning discussions have centered on dirt and the various organic growths that infiltrate our yards. However, if your fence is made from metal, you may have an additional concern: rust.
Rust, if left untouched, will begin to deteriorate the metal in your fence. This will eventually render your property’s border defenseless.
If you prefer a chain-link fence, consider purchasing one coated with PVC or vinyl. The coating protects against rust and makes maintenance easy.
There are a variety of chemical cleaners available that can help remove rust and prevent further corrosion. It’s essential to follow the instructions on those specific products to ensure you’re using them safely.
What About Power Washing?
There’s something about a power washer that beckons to us whenever we think about an outdoor cleaning project. Yet, while wonderful in some applications, it’s a tool that can cause expensive damage when used in many situations.
Even if you laugh with maniacal glee while blasting away your fence’s surface stains, you’re not necessarily killing the source of the growth. Instead, you’re making it more difficult to clean later.
That’s because the powerful stream of water can chip away at the surface of your fence. This allows organic growth to burrow deep inside where it’s harder to reach.
Also, an improperly used power washer can decimate gardens and damage homes. None of those things are good, so skip over the power washer on this project.
Where Can You Find Wet & Forget Products
With the right products at your side, treating your fence only takes a few minutes. So, check out our online store or head to your nearest retailer to purchase Wet & Forget Outdoor today!