3-Step Guide For Using Homemade Cleaners On Your Cedar Wood Fencing

Posted on: 15 April 2015

If you have a privacy fence made of cedar, you may have chosen the material based on the wood's benefits, such as its resistance to rotting and warping. Although the wood is durable and does not deteriorate easily, you may still need to clean your fence periodically. If so, use the following three-step guide for using homemade cleaners to do the job.

Step 1: Rub Stained And Mildewed Areas With Baking Soda Paste

The first step in cleaning your cedar fence involves spot treating any stained and mildewed areas with a thick baking soda and water paste. Along with the baking soda and water, you will also need a garden hose with a spray nozzle, a small container, and a pair of plastic gloves.

In the small container, mix together two cups of baking soda and one cup of water. The mixture will be thick and gritty. If the paste does not stick easily to the fence, mix in a tablespoon of water until it does. However, before you begin applying the paste, use the garden hose to thoroughly wet the wood. The moisture will open up the pores, enabling you to clean deeper into the cedar's grain.

Using your gloved hands, coat each stain or section of mildew with about a quarter inch thick layer of paste. Depending on the number of spots needing treatment, you may have to mix more of the paste.

After every area has been treated, let the paste sit for an hour. When applied to stains, the paste absorbs and draws out the oil or tree sap causing the problem. When applied to mildew, the baking soda dries it out and start killing it in preparation for step two.

Step 2: Apply Undiluted Vinegar To The Areas Treated With The Baking Soda

Once you have given the baking soda time to soak into the wood, it is time to apply undiluted vinegar to the treated areas. The vinegar acts as a safe alternative to bleach by removing the stains and killing the mildew when it reacts with the baking soda. However, it will not discolor the cedar's grain like bleach could.

For this step, you will need to fill a plastic spray bottle will undiluted white distilled vinegar. If you do not have a spray bottle, you could soak a clean, white cloth with the vinegar and blot it onto the paste.

Soak the areas treated with baking soda with the vinegar and let it set for an hour to give the two ingredients time to react. After the time has passed, rinse the fence with the garden hose. Then, go on to the third step.

Step 3: Scrub The Fence With A Homemade Cleaner And Conditioner

After rinsing the fence, the final step involves scrubbing the fence with a homemade cleaner and conditioner. You will need mild dishwashing detergent and orange essential oil. Mild dishwashing detergent is used to clean off any surface dirt, grime, and dust. The orange oil adds moisture to the wood, giving it a revitalizing shine. The orange oil can be found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and department stores.

You will also need a gallon bucket and a stiff nylon brush. The nylon is strong enough to penetrate the pores of the wood but does not scratch the grain. In the bucket, mix together a half gallon of warm water, a teaspoon of the dishwashing detergent, and 30 drops of the orange oil. Dip the brush into the cleaner and scrub the surface of the wood. Scrub with the grain to allow the oil to penetrate it. Let the cleaner soak for 15 minutes. Then, rinse the fence with the garden hose.

The above cleaning process is safe to use on your fence as a monthly maintenance job and whenever it become visibly dirty. However, you could find damage to the fence caused by strong storms or heavy impact. If so, you may want to contact a fence contractor for more about this topic. They can then recommend either repairing or replacing sections of it.