Remove stubborn ‘green stains’ from your fence with kitchen staple

Unlike metal fencing, wooden fencing adds a warm and natural finish to any garden, affording gardeners their own little pocket of countryside. When they have been freshly painted they look stunning, but overtime they can start to form a green looking growth known as algae. Like any organic growth, algae generally requires high levels of moisture, which is why it thrives in a dark, damp environments. It can also be aided by sunlight, although fencing that gets large amounts of shade can also suffer from algae due to the moisture these dark conditions create.

Fed up of these stains on her fence, one woman took to the Gardening UK Facebook page to ask for some advice on how to remove them. 

Saffy Fry wrote: “How can I get rid of this green algae on our fence? I have tried mould and mildew remover and also, sanding it down and retreating, but it still comes back.”

The gardener also shared a photo of the state of her fence. The majority of the fence panels seemed to be covered in algae.

Taking to the comments, group members were quick to share their top tips. The suggestion that frequently popped up was to use white vinegar.

Jayne Fidon said: “White vinegar mixed with hot water and work it in with a brush and leave for 30 mins or more, then house down. 

“Repaint when dry with good quality fence paint. Normally this happens when a fence is in the shade most of the day, less of a problem in full sun.”

Sinead Crawley commented: “vinegar in a spray bottle, spray it on, leave and it will get rid of the green stains in a few days. 

“I’ve done all my decking and fences last week, starting to see a difference already.”

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Amy Caner said: “Definitely white vinegar. Easiest and most effective way to get rid of it.”

Callum Goth urged: “Please don’t use bleach in the garden, it kills a lot more than the mould. Use white vinegar instead, it just kills the algae.”

Lindsey Hall wrote: “I use white vinegar diluted with water to remove algae from my fence and it doesn’t even take the paint off.”

Frankie Hudson replied: “White vinegar or similar. Don’t bother with powerhosing – that only opens up the timber grain and allows more water inside, making the problem worse down the line.”

Vinegar is a household cleaning wonder and it works very well for wooden fences – especially for those that have been affected by green algae or have brown spots on it. 

It is recommended to use a ratio of one part white vinegar and four parts water when cleaning fences. 

The solution can be added to a spray bottle, then scrubbed away with a brush or rubbing pad.

If gardeners do decide to go in and paint their fence after, they should make sure that the fence has completely dried beforehand.

For very tough algae buildup or mould spots, gardeners may have to bring out the household bleach.

Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent that will make the algae easier to scrub, but it can also damage some of the fence.

So, rather than covering the entire fence with the bleach, soak the affected area with a solution of one to two teaspoons of bleach in a gallon of water. 

Scrub the fence with a stiff brush to remove any debris, and then rinse it with clear water.

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