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how to clean a wood fence without pressure washing

Wood fences come in a variety of styles and materials. They can range from simple picket fences to ornately wrought iron designs. Some are even designed to blend into their surroundings.

You’ve got a beautiful wooden fence around your property. But, unfortunately, it has become dirty over time. 

How to clean a wood fence without pressure washing?

Why Should You Clean Your Garage Regularly

Over time, your wood fence will show signs of wear and tear. It may become discolored, mildewed, or covered in dirt and grime. While pressure washing may seem the quickest and easiest way to clean your fence, it’s not always the best solution.

The high-pressure water can blast away the dirt and grime on concrete surfaces quickly and easily, but it also forces the water deep into the wood fibers of wooden decks and patios. This excessive water penetration can cause the wood to rot and mold, leading to expensive repairs.

Why Should You Check The Wood Fence Before Cleaning

If you want to clean wood fences but are not sure how to do so, there are some things you should check before cleaning.

First, ensure you have removed any nails or screws from the fence.

Second, take out any loose pieces of wood.

Third, if the fence is made of wooden boards, remove them one at a time.

Fourth, if the fence is covered with moss, try to scrape it.

Finally, if the fence is painted, make sure you paint over the old paint.

Protect Your Plants

Before starting the cleaning process, it is vital to protect your plants. Cover any sensitive plants with plastic or a tarp to prevent them from being damaged by the cleaning solution or water.

Choose the Right Cleaning Solution

There are a variety of cleaning solutions you can use to clean your wood fence. However, it’s essential to choose the right one for the job. A fence and deck cleaner designed to move ordinary dirt, mold, mildew, and algae is a good choice.

Always read the instructions, and make sure you pick up any other equipment you might need, like a brush or hose attachment.

Cleaning your wood fence with the right solution will help it look its best for years to come.

Speak to Your Neighbors Before the Cleaning Process

Before cleaning your wood fence, it’s always a good idea to speak to your neighbors. This way, they will know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.

Tell them when you plan to start the cleaning process and how long it will take. It’s also a good idea to let your neighbors know what cleaning solution you’ll use. This way, they can take any necessary precautions to protect their property.

Regular Methods of Cleaning the Wood Fence

Here are other methods of Cleaning the Wood Fence:

Remove all nails and staples

Start by removing all nails and staples from the wood before cleaning. The easiest way to remove them is to use a hammer and chisel, but you can also use a drill press or power sander to smooth them away.

Be careful when sanding around the edges of the boards, though. You don’t want to scratch the surface of the wood.

Check for rot

Rotting wood doesn’t just mean waterlogged and rotting boards. Rotting wood can also come from brown spots on the fence itself. These spots may indicate dry rot, which occurs when fungi or bacteria grow inside the wood and eat away at its fibers.

They usually occur near the ground level and are caused by moisture trapped under the fence. To avoid this, put a layer of gravel beneath the base of the fence, so it stays drier.

Sand the fence

Sanding the fence is another great way to remove loose debris and stains. But it’s essential to use high-quality sandpaper, as low-quality sandpapers tend to leave scratches.

Instead, use fine-grit sandpaper until you see the desired results. Always wear safety glasses and gloves when sanding.

Polish the fence

Polishing the fence gives it a glossy sheen that makes it easier to see and keeps it cleaner. Buy a wax polish designed explicitly for wood fences.

Apply several coats of polish to the entire fence. Once you’ve finished applying the final coat, let the fence sit overnight. You can apply additional coats of polish during the day if needed.

3 Natural Alternaives to Clean a Wood Fence (Without Pressure Washing)


Pressure washing can strip away the natural oils in the wood, leaving it vulnerable to sun and weather damage. Instead, try one of these gentle cleaning methods to restore your fence to its original glory.

Method 1: Cleaning with Bleach

If your fence is covered in mildew or mold, you’ll need a more robust cleaning solution to remove it. Try 1 part bleach to 3 parts water.

Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that will kill mold and mildew spores on contact. However, it can also damage your plants and landscaping if you’re not careful.

Be sure to soak up any runoff with a sponge or mop, so it doesn’t harm your grass or other foliage. You should also avoid getting bleach on your skin or clothes as it can irritate.

Once you’ve sprayed down the affected areas, let the solution sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with a hose or pressure washer set to low.

Method 2: Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner that you can use on almost any surface, including wood fences—Mix white vinegar and water in a bucket or spray bottle to make a vinegar solution.

For extra dirty areas, you can use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. If you have stubborn stains, you may need to scrub them with a brush before cleaning the area.

As with bleach, rinse any residue with fresh water to avoid damaging your plants.

Method 3: Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda is another versatile cleaning agent used on wood fences. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup water in a bowl to make a baking soda paste.

For tougher stains, you may need to add more baking soda until you have a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain with a sponge or cloth and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean.

You can also make a baking soda solution by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda in 2 gallons of water. It can be sprayed directly onto the fence and left to dry before rinsing any residue.

Future Maintenance of Your Fence

Once you’ve cleaned your wood fence, there are a few things you can do to protect it in the future.
1. Apply a sealant
Applying a sealant is one of the best ways to protect your fence. It will help to prevent water damage, mold, and mildew growth.
2. Use a mild cleaner
When it comes time to clean your fence again, make sure you use a mild cleaner. Harsh chemicals can damage the wood and leave it vulnerable to weathering.
3. Rinse with fresh water
After cleaning your fence, always rinse it with fresh water. It will help to remove any leftover cleaner that could damage the wood.
4. Inspect regularly
Make sure to inspect your fence regularly for any signs of damage. Catching problems will help to extend the life of your fence.

Fence Repair and Replacement: How to Choose an Expert?

When you need a fence repaired or replaced, you must hire the right person. Many homeowners prefer to DIY their repairs because they think it saves money. Unfortunately, overdoing a project is easy, causing more significant expenses and inconvenience. When choosing a fence installer, consider the following tips:  


 A trusted fence repair expert should have experience working on fences, both residential and commercial. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. If they recommend someone, ask how many years they’ve been installing fences. Local trade associations also provide referrals.  


 The best fence installation companies will have their employees certified by the American Fence Association (AFA). The AFA is a nationally recognized organization that provides training and certification for fence professionals. A company member of the AFA is more likely to provide quality service.    

 Insurance and Bonding

 The company you hire should have general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. These policies protect you in case of property damage or injury that occurs during the job. The company should also be bonded, which protects you if they don’t complete the job or do poorly. 

 Warranties and Guarantees

 The fence installation company you hire should stand behind its work with a warranty. Most companies offer a one-year warranty on materials and labor. Some companies may also offer an extended warranty for an additional fee. Make sure you get the warranty in writing. 

Don’t try to do it yourself when it comes time to repair or replace your fence.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve covered all the options for how to clean a fence without a pressure washer. We hope you feel confident trying one of these methods the next time your fence needs a good cleaning! Also, if you have any other tips or tricks for fence cleaning, please share them in the comments below.


How do I get green algae off my wood fence?

If the algae are growing on your wood fence, you must treat the situation before it worsens. The best way to remove algae from wood fences is to use an algaecide.

There are several types of algaecides available, but they all work by killing the algae cells when they come into contact with them.

The most common type of algaecide used to kill algae is called copper-based. A mixture of copper sulfate and water will usually be sufficient to kill algae growth.

However, to ensure that the algae do not return, you should mix the solution with a fungicide such as sodium selenite. Sodium selenite works because it prevents algae from returning after treatment.

Can I paint over the green algae on the fence?

Yes, but it’s going to be messy. Depending on its intensity and color, it may take several coats to cover up all the algae. To prevent damage to your fence, use a brush with soft bristles (such as an old toothbrush) rather than a stiff wire brush. Also, avoid getting water on the wood when painting because it will rot out more quickly.

 If you’re having trouble finding a solution to this problem, contact a local fencing company and ask them whether they offer an algae removal service. They may charge per yard or hour, so check their rates before hiring anyone.

 For best results, apply a bleach-based cleaner such as OxiClean and let dry completely between applications. Then wash off thoroughly with warm water and soap and rinse well. Finally, scrub gently with a small sponge to remove stubborn residue.

How do you clean a stained wood fence?

The first step to cleaning a stained wooden fence is to remove all loose dirt and debris (e.g., leaves, twigs, etc.). Next, use a stiff brush to scrub away stains until they’re gone. Finally, apply an exterior stain protector before applying a fresh coat of paint. Check out this handy guide for tips on keeping your fence looking its best.

How do you soft-clean a fence?

Soft-cleaning fences are easy and fun! First, remove all weeds from around the base of the fence. Then use a garden hose to spray water onto the top of the fence. Wait until the water has run off before touching the fence again.

How can I make my old fence look better?

If you want to make an old fence look new again, try sandblasting it first! Sandblast removes rust, paint, stains, graffiti, and other surface contaminants. It’s fast, easy, and inexpensive (less than $20) compared to having the work done professionally.

 To sandblast your fence, use fine-grit sandpaper wrapped around a foam block. Work carefully, so you don’t burn yourself. Remember to wear safety glasses. For best results, sand both sides at once.

Picture of Z Hashan

Z Hashan

I’m Z Hashan, an entrepreneur, but more importantly (well, to me at least), a tool head. I’m passionate about all sorts of machines and how they work – it’s in my blood.

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