Need to Clean Your Chain-Link Fence? Here's How to Do It

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Durable, long-lasting, and inexpensive, chain-link fences have become a popular option for many homeowners in need of a good fencing solution. If you want your chain-link fence to look as good as the day you had it installed, it pays to keep it clean. Otherwise, dirt and debris can accumulate on the fence as time goes on, robbing your fence of its original luster.

A lot of people think chain-link fences are hard to clean, but that's simply not true. The following offers an in-depth guide on how to clean your chain-link fence and safeguard it against rust and corrosion.

Pre-Cleaning Prepwork

Before you get started, it's a good idea to run an ordinary household broom over the sections of fence to be cleaned. Doing this will knock leaves and other debris out of the links and get rid of excess dust. A quick brush with your broom can also knock down those annoying spider webs before you start washing in earnest.

If the fence is caked in dirt and debris, then you'll want to do a "pre-rinse" using your garden hose and a hand sprayer set on its high-pressure jet setting. Spend a few minutes knocking away caked-on dirt, grass clippings, and even rust fragments, if you happen to spot any. If you have a pressure washer, you can skip this step and use that instead.

To protect your hands against cuts and scrapes, you'll want to wear rubber gloves as you clean your fence.

Washing by Hand

To wash your chain-link fence by hand, fill a bucket with warm water and add several drops of mild detergent. Mix the water and detergent thoroughly until you begin seeing suds. You can also use a cleaning solution that includes rust inhibitors. At this point, you'll want to pick a small section of fence to work on.

Next, dip a soft-bristle brush into the solution and scrub it onto the fence. Start from the top of the fence and scrub it back and forth in a horizontal motion as you work toward the bottom of the fence. After you're finished cleaning your chosen section, use your garden hose to rinse the suds off the fence.

When you're finished, you may see some areas that look like they could use a second round of cleaning. Don't be afraid to go over these areas again with the soap and brush.

Washing with a Pressure Washer

Pressure washing offers a fast and effective way of cleaning your chain-link fence. If you own one, you can use it instead of washing your fence by hand. Start by filling your pressure-washer tank with a mix of your preferred mild cleaner and warm water. Hold the pressure-washer wand at least three to four feet away from the fence and spray back and forth in a quick fanning motion.

Make sure you're using moderate pressure when spraying. This should be enough to knock loose most dirt and debris. If necessary, you can turn up the water pressure to remove stubborn debris.

Taking Care of Rust?

If you see rust spots, you'll want to get rid of these before you finish cleaning your chain-link fence. Start by knocking rust flakes loose with your pressure washer or hand sprayer. Next, grab some steel wool and use it to lightly buff away minor rust deposits until the underlying metal shows through again. You can also use a chemical rust remover to strip away rust deposits. If you're using chemicals, make sure to rinse the fence thoroughly afterwards. When you're done, dab a small amount of rust inhibitor or oil-based primer to seal the area against future instances of rust.

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