How to Clean Mildew Off a Vinyl Deck

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  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 5
What You'll Need

If you have ever had mildew on your vinyl deck, you know it can be a serious problem. Mildew can spring up quickly and stubbornly refuse to leave, no matter what you do. Even if you successfully remove mildew, it can return again just as strong later. So how do you clean mildew off of a vinyl deck, and make sure it never comes back? The answer involves no special tools or materials—in fact, you probably have everything you need to do it lying around already. Here are some strategies you can use when cleaning mildew off a vinyl deck.

Step 1 - Setting Up

Vinegar is an excellent way to remove mildew and mildew stains from vinyl. It is natural and harmless, does not give off any dangerous fumes, and you probably have some available to you already. To begin, simply bring your vinegar and sponge outside and put some vinegar on your sponge.

Step 2 - Applying Vinegar

  • Use your sponge soaked in vinegar to apply the vinegar to your vinyl deck. Let the vinegar sit for a few minutes—though vinegar is only mildly acidic it is usually enough to kill mildew.
  • Wipe it clean with your sponge. Often, this is enough to remove mildew and mildew stains. However, you can repeat as necessary.
  • If a few repetitions of this technique do not remove your mildew and mildew stains, apply some vinegar and leave it for about an hour before wiping it off.

It is a good idea to wipe over your entire vinyl deck with your sponge soaked in vinegar. Not all mildew will necessarily be visible immediately. Additionally, applying vinegar to your vinyl deck once per week can prevent mildew from coming back. Simply going after your current mildew and mildew stains may seem like a time-saver, but in the long run, it will cause you more problems. Take the time to clean your vinyl deck properly.

Step 3 - Applying Bleach

If vinegar is not enough to remove the problematic mildew from your vinyl deck, you may need to bring in something harsher to do the job. Bleach is great at killing mildew. However, it is less than ideal because bleach is toxic, harsh, and gives off fumes. Fumes should not be a problem because you are working outside, but you should still do your best to avoid breathing any fumes despite your more than adequate ventilation. Additionally, you should wear gloves when working with bleach, and be sure to keep it away from children and pets.

  • Use your sponge to apply bleach to your vinyl deck. Let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe it off.
  • While doing this, be aware that dead mildew usually turns white. This is a good way to figure out how well the mildew is doing, and whether you need to apply more bleach.
  • Once the mildew is dead, you can go over your vinyl deck with soap and water to wash away any leftover mildew.
  • Applying vinegar weekly can prevent new mildew from growing.