Long fence, help choose a chem

I’m getting a headache just reading countless threads about fence cleaning. SH, Ox, hydroxide, percarbonate, metasilicate…

Here’s the fence.

So far I have 5# of percarbonate, oxalic, the usual SH and now bought a couple small bottles of 100% lye/hydroxide from Lowes.

She is wanting to get it stained, so as natural a color as I can get it. I tried 12v SH 50/50 on my own fence and it turned it a ghostly whitish color and I don’t think she wants that. Percarbonate didn’t do a darn thing at 8oz/gal.

I’ll probably use my little 12v cart to apply unless you all feel the xjet would be better.

Just keep in mind that if you can’t get one panel looking good then the other 17 or however many won’t look good either. Make sure you have a rock solid plan that you are entirely confident in, or dont do it.

I’ll let some others chime in on exactly what to do as I am not that wood guy.

You do realise that you have to rinse it with about 1000 psi to get the wood colour back right? It’s not just a case of spraying SH and having natural looking wood with a mist of water.


This was my delima when I began to read. Just keep it simple. Know your customer. I normally use house wash with 10min or so dwell and around 800-1200 psi. I’ve been told lots of factors and it’s true. I’ve just recently started using ox. My plan is to get some pallets and do some small batch mixes and see the results. Never know how it will go until you try. I also make hot mix in a sprayer if real bad. I plan on trying potash like IBS does just to see how it works out. Here in the deep south it gets bad plus I live in one of rainiest city’s in the nation. The algae/mildew is heavy

Agree with @MuscleMyHustle. You will need pressure to get it back to original look.

Using 6% on wood is way too strong and why it turned your fence white. I would just hit her fence with about 2%-3% sh, let dwell 10 minutes, and rinse at about 1000 psi. Make sure you don’t apply it to the whole fence at once so certain sections dry or it dwells longer than 10 minutes. I’ll sometimes hit it all at once but I’ll then give the whole thing a quick low pressure rinse to dilute it down before I start the pressure cleaning. I would then follow with Oxalic and just rinse well with low pressure. As @MuscleMyHustle you don’t just rinse from a few feet back. Put a nozzle on that puts you at 1000 psi and stay close enough to where you only go over one board at a time. I usually barely overlap the gap in order to hit the sides a little bit. 1000 psi alone will clean up a fence pretty well so I’m guessing you’re not getting close enough to remove the dead layer of wood and filth. SH alone isn’t going to clean it up. You have to use some pressure on every square inch of the wood. Your nozzle will only be maybe 6" or so away from the wood. Maybe not even that far. Go with one with continuous motion top to bottom without stopping and then bottom to top and repeat.

There are other ways to clean a fence but this way will work.


As far as wood goes, everything I’ve ever hit with SH over 2% looked white and pulpy, even with 1k rinse and oxalic. 50/50 is WAY too strong with SH

I thought 2-3% would cause a lot of furring using sh at that concentration? I did percarbonate on my first big one and your right the 1000 psi nozzle is key. Long time rinsing! I did like how 3% made it instantly change color though when I tried a small practice board at home. I just spent $300 in nozzles to have a variety of 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 psi. I want to make a nozzle holder that shows the fan, psi, and nozzle number so I can pick my desired tip for any application. I also got nozzles of those specs for my surface cleaner too. I feel much better this year now that I have a full year of experience and dialing in everything. My new di system will be here wed and by the end of next week the truck will finally be 100% done! I’ll post pics or maybe make a video like @Racer did.


I use those clear plastic tackle-boxes and a sharpie.


How was your first year? Ya made any money?

Yes and spent 95% of it back into the business. Stoked to actually keep most of it now. Just spent the last $1500 to get the rest of every single thing I needed on the truck!


Guess I’ll try 2% first, then maybe percarbonate on a different section. Is lye out of the question?

Lye will cause furring too. It’s all about dwell time @Seandz. You can go a little stronger but you just don’t let it dwell near as long. You’re always better off starting low and working your way up. A lot of wood you can just hit with your house wash mix. The black in the picture above will require stronger though.

As far as Sodium Percarbonate @dcbrock it usually requires scrubbing with a deck brush in really bad spots. I don’t think I’d even mess with it on this job just because it’s pretty filthy in spots. No matter what always do a small test spot just to see how it’s going to turn out with what you plan on using. I leaf blower can come in handy when trying to speed up the drying of the test spot.


Agree, I used this procedure many times with good results. Vinyl is so easy we do it on autopilot, when we get to wood there is no one single approach so we question ourselves. I would recommend doing every panel the same. You will have inconsistencies, it’s wood, but you don’t want to be (or your customer) second guessing your procedure and saying that’s why the fence doesn’t look the same everywhere.

…and don’t forget the oxalic and a good rinse.

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I’m wondering now if I should just use my xjet instead of the 12v if 2% is all that’s necessary.

I’m Comfortable with wood now. Thanks for all the tips fellas!

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I use X-Jet M 5

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Hey, had an epiphany earlier. How about…using the xjet, while downstreaming.


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Wow that looks awesome. What’d you use on that?