How can I get mold off a pvc vinyl fence without harming plants?

My white (actually mottled green at the moment)fence is looking really shabby so I’d like to make it a focus for my spring cleaning. There are lots of products that claim to be safe for plants but I’d rather hear first hand from someone who has actually used one.

Does anyone have any recommendations? Pressure washing is out because the fence is not terribly sturdy. Plus, I think it needs actual scrub action. Anything that requires covering the plants won’t be practical because there are A LOT of them, many of them intertwined with the fence.

I think the green stuff is algae, not mold. If you are going the scrubbing route, how about trying just plain water?

I use an electric pressure washer to do the job. I find the electric washers do fine for this sort of thing, and they have lower pressure than the gas models so you avoid damaging most things but a strong enough spray to knock the algae right off. Plus no gas engine to worry about.

Algae! I didn’t even think of that, but of course you’re right! I did try scrubbing with just water but the green stuff seems to be . . .baked(?) on there. I was thinking maybe a mild, natural abrasive like salt or something but I have no idea what impact it would have on the foliage. If it’s between having a grotty fence and losing my garden, I’ll just remain “the lady with the nasty fence” :o

Pressure washer, once a year. No muss, no fuss, any plant damaged by water heals itself within a week or two.

Don’t snails clean algae off fish tank walls?

If so, I vote for snails! I wonder if you can rent them…

Salt is not a favorite of plants, so I would not recommend that. Vinegar or a bleach solution or pressure washing would be the usual solutions, and none of those are going to work with plants either. You might be down to very warm water and a lot of elbow grease, unfortunately.

Funny enough, last year I had to treat the yard for slugs. They quite liked my flowers but didn’t touch the fence. Also, I haven’t seen a snail around here in I don’t know how long. I would have thought they’d hang out in the same places.

Have you tried a Magic Eraser? The few times I’ve used them on things like plastic chairs and coolers, it does seem to work like magic. They wear out fairly quick, but tear through otherwise lock in grime.

I like Wet & Forget available online or at Ace Hardware. I don’t have a bottle around right now to read any cautions on its use but I don’t remember anything about being harmful to plants.


Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t fash plants much–you can get it in 30% concentrate and dilute it down and it fucks up algae like nobody’s business but doesn’t bother plants, just puts a little more oxygen down by their roots and they’re fine with that. Wear gloves though or you’ll be hating life.

I’ve used a dilute solution of bleach with a bit of Murphy’s soap. I spray it on, let it stand for a few, and then brush it off with a truck brush. Rinse with water. Perhaps surprisingly, the solution hasn’t done a thing to any of my plantings, though I do spray them thoroughly to rinse off any residual bleach/soap.

I’ll second what SmartAleq said, plus peroxide will do a better job of removing the residual staining from the growth on your fence than most products.

Thanks all. There’s plenty of stuff on the market but I really wanted first hand advice, which you all provided! I have both stain erasers and hydrogen peroxide on hand so I’ll do a small section with each and see how it goes. My honeysuckle thanks you:)

Both of ideas have been mentioned, but I’ll mention them again. My first thought would be a good pressure washer. Rent one, borrow one or use it as an excuse to buy one. Keep in mind, however, that when you pressure wash a fence (being a flat, vertical surface), you’re going to create a huge cloud of water mist. Plan to do it on a warm day since you’re likely to get wet, but also make sure you close your windows if your house is nearby and take a look on the other side of the fence to make sure you’re not soaking neighbor’s stuff.

The other thought is a Magic Eraser. I’ve yet to meet something I couldn’t clean with a Magic Eraser* (get the name brand, not a knock off) For mold, you probably won’t need anything but water. Bleach/vinegar etc might buy you some time before it reappears, but it may also end up in your plants.

*It’s my understanding that, unlike a sponge, a Magic Eraser is very slightly abrasive, so you’re not ‘cleaning’ the surface you’re using it on so much as ‘sanding’ the grime off. In any case, they work very well.

If your cultivated honeysuckle is anything like the wild honeysuckle in my backyard, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I haven’t tried killing it with fire yet, but nothing else seems particularly effective.

Also, if you go the pressure washer route, stand further back than you think you need to until you get the hang of it & with a wider spray pattern over a more concentrated one. You can always go back & do it again if it doesn’t work well enough the first time, but if you put it on super-concentrated death-ray status from 3" away; well, it’s not as easy to repair the broken fence, ripped off plant leaves, etc.