A Handy Guide to Chain Link Fence Maintenance

chain link fence maintenance

One of the main reasons why chain link fences are so popular for industrial use is that they are relatively maintenance free and can last up to 50 years if properly cared for. While they don’t require staining or pressure washing, a chain link fence does require periodic cleaning with a few handy, household items.

You’re probably asking yourself…

What should I look for?

Most of the time chain link fences can protect your home or commercial property without any signs of wear and tear. However, there are three things you should look for regularly to avoid costly repairs or untimely replacement of your entire fence.

  1. Examine your posts. Any posts that are not standing at a 90-degree angle should be repaired or replaced.
  2. Bent or broken mesh. Replacing a section of mesh is easier than replacing the entire fence.
  3. Rust. Removing rust early can help you avoid costly and untimely replacement of your fence.
examine chain link fence

This black chain link fence we installed passes the above 3 criteria with flying colors.

But since a chain link fence is made of mesh, you’re also probably wondering…

How in the world do I clean a chain link fence?

Whether the mesh that makes up a chain link fence is simply galvanized metal or coated with vinyl, the thought of cleaning each strand enough to drive anyone batty. Fortunately, the majority of your attention can be paid to the posts and where the mesh meets the ground.

See any signs or rust? Bird droppings? Excessive amounts of dirt? Mold or mildew? It’s time for a good cleaning.

clean chain link fence

Remember to always be careful when cleaning your fence. Especially if it’s 10 ft. tall, like this one we installed.

But before you grab bleach, dishwashing soap or industrial fence cleaner, consider the effects these chemicals can have on your yard, plants or the environment in general. Instead, try these more natural cleaners.

  • White Vinegar – Although bleach is an effective mold killer, it can wreak havoc on your plants, fence and the groundwater you cannot see. Instead, pour white vinegar into an outdoor sprayer and spray any areas that appear to have mold or mildew. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse with plain water. Not only will the vinegar kill the mold, but it also will not damage the fence or your plants beneath the fence line.
  • Plain Water – If your fence is dirty, use a garden hose with a nozzle attachment that focuses the water in a high-pressure stream. This can effectively remove dirt from both the poles and mesh that may have accumulated over time.
  • Borax – For especially dirty spots, Borax is preferable to other liquid soap for its natural properties. In fact, Borax doubles as both a cleaner and a natural insecticide. Mix 3 gallons of water with 2 cups of Borax in an outdoor sprayer and use it to clean stubborn bird droppings or dirt off of your fence posts and mesh.
  • Steel Wool – It is important to treat any signs of rust as soon as they appear. Using gloves and a little elbow grease, rub a plain steel wool pad against areas that appear rusty to remove any signs of oxidation. For especially stubborn rust, a chemical rust remover used according to package directions will do the trick. Just be sure to use gloves and follow all manufacturers instructions.

A little maintenance of your chain link fence can go a long way to ensuring it secures your property for decades to come.