Exterior vinyl shutters are popular among homeowners for various reasons. They are strong and durable, easy to maintain, affordable weather resistant, and versatile in design. This material works best in areas of high humidity where wood shutters would warp and break.
If you have installed vinyl window shutters, you also appreciate how easy it is to blend them into your existing home’s décor. With time, however, most homeowners notice their once beautiful shutters fading which affects the rest of the home’s façade. If your house shutters have deteriorated over the years, there is no reason to worry.
You can now give your windows a new lease of life by cleaning the shutters and removing oxidation which is the main cause of fading. Check out this tips on how to clean vinyl exterior shutters and effectively revive your home’s decor:
Consider the Challenge Carefully
If your exterior vinyl shutters appear faded, it is most likely they have been around for some time. It is true vinyl shutters require minimal maintenance but over some years, oxidation covers the surface. As the vinyl degrades due to UV exposure, it will release titanium dioxide. Of course, there is also dirt and grime which has built over the years especially if the shutters you don’t clean the shutters regularly.
Look at the Warranty
It is important to contact the manufacturer before you use any products that might void the warranty. Some cleaning products in the stores can damage the vinyl surface and the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty will not apply and this can lead to costly replacement. Check whether the lifetime warranty included catering for fading and other damages.
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Prepare Yourself For the Task
To get it right, you need to prepare thoroughly for the exterior shutters cleaning. You have to identify the items required and collect them before commencing. This will save you a lot of time and help you complete the task fast and safely. You will need a brush, garden hose, bucket, soft cloth for cleaning, microfiber cloth/mop for drying, hand gloves, mild household detergent, all-purpose outdoor detergent, and a hose-end sprayer.
Routine Shutters Cleaning
It is advisable to regularly clean your vinyl shutters to prevent dirt build-up and keep them looking great. For this task, you need a brush to clean any loose dirt and debris off the shutters. Wear your rubber and cotton gloves and prepare a solution of ammonia and water. Mix the solution using a gloved hand to avoid skin irritation. This solution will not bleach your shutters but will remove all dirt and grime.
Clean and Rinse the Shutters
Use a sponge or soft cloth to wipe the shutters softly and make sure you reach all sections of the surface. Focus on the edges where dirt and grime collect and make sure every area is clean. You can now rinse the shutters to ensure no cleaning solution is left. For the best results, you can use a garden hose to clean the solution and then leave them to dry softly. To avoid ugly marks, you can opt to dry the shutters using a soft dry cloth or mop.
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Cleaning Oxidized Vinyl Shutters
Dealing with oxidization on the surface of vinyl shutters is more complicated. This is a chalky substance that turns your otherwise beautiful window shutters into an eyesore. The chalkiness is not only on the surface and but also ingrained in the shutter. In this case, you need to use a commercial cleaner that will restore your shutters to their previous state.
- The first thing you need to do is identify a good commercial cleaner or look for the recommended products from the manufacturer.
- Take precautions to avoid further damage to the shutters by using bleaching products.
- Mix the Professional Grade Cleaner Concentrate with water as instructed and remember to use hand gloves to avoid damage to your hands. It is also important to use a pump-up garden sprayer, bucket or spray bottle for the best results.
- Make sure you wipe the windows before the cleaning process starts.
- Work on one or two shutters at a time using the sprayer and cover the entire surface including the edges.
- After spraying, let the cleaning solutions work on the surface for 5-10 minutes. It is important to look at your watch to avoid letting the cleaner dry on the shutters. If you notice the cleaner drying, re-wet the surface once more and wait for it to continue working.
- Using a non-scratch scouring pad, wipe the shutters one at a time and make sure to remove all the cleaning solution, dirt and grime that is on the surface.
- Rinse the shutters thoroughly using a garden hose and ensure you have removed the cleaner.
- Apply the scratch test by gently scratching the surface and if you notice a mark, go through the process again. A perfect oxidation removal will leave the vinyl exterior shutters gleaming and without any surface layer. The original color should easily come through even when looking at the shutters.
Avoid Common Shutter Cleaning Mistakes
- Don’t blindly trust the commercial cleaner and instead, carry out a spot test on a hidden area of your shutters and see the impact. If it causes any damage, don’t use it for cleaning your shutters.
- Don’t ignore the warranty because what looks like a routine cleaning might end up causing more damage and the manufacturer might void the warranty. If you want to repaint them, make sure this won’t interfere with the warranty.
- Don’t try cleaning upper story window shutters and instead call in an expert to do the risky climbing.
- Don’t allow the cleaning solution to dry on the shutters because it could leave permanent marks which are hard to clean.
There is no doubt that vinyl house shutters add glamour to your home, provide protection and privacy. However, when they deteriorate due to dirt and exposure to UV light, you need to clean them professionally. With these tips, you can now revive your windows’ treatment by cleaning the shutters.