What do you clean your white vinyl porch railing with?

tinker1121March 11, 2008

I would be curious to know if anyone else has a problem with their white vinyl porch railing. We replaced old wrought iron railing with the white vinyl farmhouse type and chose a good brand, Fairway, which is better quality than the instock type at the HD and Lowes.

I hose it down but it seems to have black scratches here and there which I can't figure out how they got there and I have tryed Fantastic and other spray cleaners. The Fairway website recommends Soft Scrub and I know not to use that. I have used it on patio furniture and it creates roughness that attracts more dirt.

Any ideas?

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I'd try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:15PM
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DH swears by Scrubbing Bubbles for cleaning anything plastic or rubber, and has used it on our vinyl slider doors with no problems. Spray it on, let it set, then wipe off.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:20AM
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Wow, SoftScrub.

I was going to say those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers too. Hopefully not too big an area, though.

Vinegar and water does an amazing job of removing dirt, even wax and adhesive from glass.

I guess if they're recommending SoftScrub, it's safe to try a diluted solution of Clorox and water, like with grout??? Just rubbing the areas -- not rinsing into the landscape or anything.

I've heard baking a baking soda paste takes off paint and other scuff marks from furniture legs.

So, vinegar and baking soda sounds good : )

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:36AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am afraid the Magic Eraser would also scratch as Soft Scrub can. I used the eraser on my formica counters and can see every spot where rubbed.

The baking soda sounds the safest but I will try all ideas in inconspicuous areas, if we ever get a warm day around here.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 6:21AM
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Thanks for this thread. One of the dumbest things we ever did was to install white vinyl railings on our screened porch and deck, in an area where there is substantial tree debris. Dumb. For the first few months, I was wiping it down daily with just a wet paper towel. But if the debris isn't cleaned off shortly after a rain, it leaves stubborn stains. I agree that abrasive cleaners will just make it worse. I'm going to try the bubbles but I fear we're going to just have to get used to dingy.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:49AM
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That's pretty interesting about the stains and scratching since people are wanting the no-maintenance, carefree longevity of the vinyl fencing products. True though, those plastic chairs get pretty crumby looking too.

A few people down the road just put in some vinyl fencing. I sure wish they'd take the gloss off so they don't look so plastic. Esp bad at night with lights. They're also just too perfectly formed, so don't look at all real.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:14AM
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Soft scrub works on the black marks that are on our travel trailer. You know, the ones that streak down the sides from the roof when it rains? The trailer is vinyl siding, so I don't see why it wouldn't work on the railing. Very easy to use, too, with little to no scrubbing.

We've always admired those while vinyl fences and thought we'd like to do them around our pasture (for horses) because of the low maintenance. But after passing by ones that have been installed for a few years, we've changed our minds because of they way look after a few years. I guess we'll just stay with the natural look of wood.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:34AM
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I find that most any cleaner works if you hand rub with a cloth or sponge. But none of the spray-on, hose-off products seem to work for me. I use Mr. Clean.

I use a sponge on the end of a pole for areas I can't reach by hand.

I have frequently used Soft Scrub with Bleach on vinyl without problems.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:38AM
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Should have added - I use liquid Mr. Clean mixed with water - not the sponge.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 8:39AM
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I would be afraid any type of abrasive cleaner, would marr the luster of the plastic. Did you try asking at Home Depot. They sell many cleaners for outdoor furniture that might work well. They recommended Simply Green to me for another project. They might have something specific for plastic patio furniture. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:06AM
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Have you posted this on the cleaning forum?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:04AM
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I've used Mr. Clean eraser and haven't had any problems.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:09PM
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We have a white vinyl fence around our back yard. It still looks great after 8 years. I "clean" it about once a summer. I use warm water and baking soda. It works like a charm. Easy.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:30PM
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I bet Oxy Clean and warm water with a sponge would work really well. That stuff is amazing.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 4:29PM
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I tried the baking soda, mixed up a paste yesterday in a small area and it didn't work at removing the black marks. I like the Oxy Clean suggestion and will try all these suggestions and post when I find one that works.

I am still holding off on the Magic Eraser as way too many small areas to rough up with it. I should add that for several Christmas we attached garland to the railings and I assume from the movement of the wind, the top of the railing is full of black marks and scratches.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 6:06AM
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Try some vinegar too. It seems to just melt stuff off. I can't believe those 'fences' take a beating like that. Seems to defeat the purpose and you have to start over rather than just paint.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 7:51AM
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Try Simple Green. That's what we used to clean our old white vinyl patio furniture.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 10:21AM
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I just wanted to post that I found something that works great.

OxyClean Mircle Foam

Found it at Bed, Bath and Beyond today and I purchased the powder version in plastic canister and mixed some in a small container and applied with a kitchen scrubby when I got home. Worked like a charm!! I didn't to the entire railing, just the top rail but sparkling clean, no scratches and didn't bother the shiney finish. It also comes in an aerosol can.

I spiffed up the porch a bit with some purple pansies from Lowes for $4.99 a pot and put them in metal pot holders I have that attach to the railing. Looks nice for Easter with my purple and yellow easter egg house flag.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 3:10PM
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I,too,suffer from the black staining and minor scratches on my vinyl railing and was directed to this site for assistance. After reading many thoughtful suggestions and considering them, I went to the basement and pulled out what I had. I then tried 15 products ranging from a 1:10 H20:Chlorox mix to several automotive waxes. The BEST, by far, way and above anything I tried, was Turtle Wax Polishing Compound Wax and Scratch Remover. I've used it on all 13 sections of railing. Now let's see how long it holds up! Thanks to everyone for sharing your suggestions. Without you I would not have come to this "organized" conclusion. I even created a spreadsheet to track my results.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 11:31AM
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