How To Clean And Spruce-Up Your Chain Link Fence For Spring

Most residential chain link fences have been galvanized to help the fence's exterior withstand the elements and delay any oxidation or rusting on its surface. Unfortunately, over time, your once-shiny and new-looking fence can become dingy, discolored, and stained, not to mention overgrown with weeds. Here are some tips to help you clean, restore, and get your chain link fence looking much improved and ready for spring.

Remove Debris

Last summer may have come and gone, but remnants of its weed and vegetation growth may still be clinging to the links of your fence. Now that all the weeds growing on your fence are dead and dried, removing them is easier than when they were green and fresh.

With your fingers, pick the stems and leaves of any vegetation from around the links, or use the end bristles of a broom to brush them from the wires. This project may be a little time-consuming, but it can greatly improve the look of your chain link fence by changing its appearance from neglected to tidy.

Next, use a power washer or your garden hose with a nozzle sprayer attachment to rinse off any dirt or other debris that may have accumulated along the bottom of the fence. The surface of your fence can become coated in road salt residue from winter, especially when you live in a climate that has snow and ice during winter.

Remove Mold and Rust

When your aluminum chain link fence's galvanized surface becomes worn off from age, your fence can begin to show rust spots. It is important to clean these spots from your fence to avoid having the surface metal break down from rust damage, which can result in having to replace sections of your fence. There are many methods you can use to remove rust from your fence. Choose one that works for you and the tools you have on hand to remove rust and other residues.

Use a piece of steel wool or rough 80-grit sandpaper on the surface of any rust stains on your fence's surface to remove the rust. To remove rust from crevices, use a dremel sanding bit with a pointed end to reach them. You can also use naval jelly to help remove rust. Apply the naval jelly with a paint rush and let it sit for ten minutes. Wipe the jelly from the surface to remove the rust, using a damp cloth.

You can also use white vinegar to clean rust and mold growth from the surface of your fence. Vinegar is not going to harm your skin if it comes into contact with it during the cleaning, but it will kill and remove mold growth and spores and clean rust from your fence. Soak a paper towel in vinegar and wrap it onto the rust-coated part of your fence. Leave the vinegar-soaked paper towel in place for 30 minutes or longer, as necessary, to remove the rust. Then, use a hand scrub brush or an old tooth brush to dip into vinegar and clean the rust-coated metal.

Another type of cleaning mixture to remove rust is made by combining baking soda, cream of tartar, and hydrogen peroxide, which you may have all stored in your pantry and bathroom. One recipe recommends to combine one-fourth cup baking soda and one teaspoon cream of tartar into a bowl and mix it together. Then, add hydrogen peroxide and stir it with a spoon until the mixture makes a thick paste. Spread this mixture over rust spots on your fence and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer. Rinse the paste off with clean water and wipe the rust off with a clean, wet cloth.

Recover Exterior

Once you have removed any rust, mold, and other debris, you should follow it up by protecting your fence with a new coat of rust-preventing acrylic paint. Don't apply paint with a sprayer, as this can cause the paint to spray all over your yard and vegetation. Apply a drop cloth under your chain link fence and coat both sides of the fence using a long-napped paint roller.

For more information about maintaining or repairing your fence, contact a fence contractor service, such as Elrod Fence Co.