How To Affordably Renew and Clean Faded Vinyl Shutters

In this article: If your vinyl shutters have seen better days, you might not need to replace them. Try these tips for cleaning and renewing them.

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Vinyl shutters are durable and low-maintenance additions to your home’s exterior. However, like anything that’s exposed to the elements, they can accumulate dirt, grime, and even mold over time.

Has the surface of your vinyl exterior shutters faded? You’d probably like to restore them to their original color rather than replace them. Yet, maybe you’d rather not go through the hassle of washing, sanding, priming and repainting the vinyl shutters, as that kind of defeats the purpose of having maintenance-free vinyl shutters.

Renewing and cleaning your vinyl shutters periodically can extend their life and keep them looking their best. And yes, it can take a bit of work, but maybe not quite as much as you think.

Read on for the steps to renewing and cleaning faded vinyl shutters with some elbow grease and then some recommendations from readers that might make the job a bit easier.

Cleaning Vinyl Shutters

Here is how to clean vinyl shutters:

  1. Inspect the shutters: Before cleaning, give your shutters a thorough inspection to spot any areas that need special attention, such as cracks, chipped areas or stubborn stains.
  2. Gather supplies: Basic cleaning agents like soap, water and a sponge or a soft-bristle brush are usually enough for general cleaning.
  3. Remove loose debris: Before wetting the shutters, it’s a good idea to brush off any loose dirt or cobwebs.
  4. Test clean a small area: Choose a small, less visible area to test your cleaning solution to ensure it doesn’t discolor the vinyl.
  5. Apply the soap mixture: Fill a bucket with a mixture of water and mild soap. Dip a sponge or a soft brush into the mixture and scrub the shutters gently.
  6. Use special cleaners for stubborn stains: For stubborn stains or mildew, you can use a vinyl siding cleaner or a solution of 1:10 bleach and water. Remember to rinse thoroughly if you use bleach.
  7. Rinse thoroughly: Use a garden hose to rinse off the soap mixture. Make sure to rinse from top to bottom to prevent dirty water from dripping down onto cleaned areas.
  8. Dry the shutters: Wipe down with a clean, dry towel or let them air dry.

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Restoring Vinyl Shutters

If you need to renew and restore your faded vinyl shutters, follow these steps:

  1. Repair minor damage: Use vinyl repair kits to patch up any small holes or cracks.
  2. Apply vinyl revitalizer: If you have faded vinyl shutters, a product such as Vinyl Brite can help restore the color and provide a protective layer against further damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for use.
  3. Consider painting: If you want to change the color or refresh old, faded shutters, vinyl-safe paint can be an option. Make sure to clean the shutters thoroughly before painting, and to use a primer if recommended.
  4. Lubricate moving parts: If your shutters have movable louvers or other moving parts, a little lubricant can keep them functioning smoothly.
  5. Reinstall safely: If you’ve removed your shutters for cleaning or painting, make sure they’re securely reinstalled. Incorrect installation can lead to damage in windy conditions.
  6. Regular maintenance: Keeping an eye on your shutters and cleaning them as needed will make them last longer and keep them looking good.

Tips From Our Readers for Renewing and Cleaning Vinyl Shutters

WD-40 As Vinyl Shutter Cleaner

A friend of mine was told to use WD-40 on vinyl shutters. She said it worked great. I would try it on a small spot first.

Product Cleans Vinyl Shutters

You are in luck. There is a product by the Flood Co. that is specifically made to renew shutters. It is a two-step process, but it looks very easy, and the results are supposed to last for years. Flood usually makes good products, so it would be worth it to take a look.

Lowe’s or Home Depot would probably have it, or look on the Flood Co. website.

Don’t Use Shutter Cleaner and Check the Warranty

Has your warranty expired? Some siding products have a lifetime warranty, and this would include fading problems. If you know the name of the manufacturer, contact them. I know that my husband, a siding installer, has replaced whole houses where the siding has faded, and the homeowner was not satisfied with the “new” color. The manufacturer refunded the homeowner for the labor and materials.

Apply the Proper Primer If You Choose To Paint Them

You could paint them. The problem is that paint does not want to stick to plastic. When I was restoring my son’s Camaro recently, the plastic-covered bumper needed painting. Regular primer doesn’t work, so the body shop manager suggested that I go to a NAPA parts store and buy polyurethane primer for the plastic surface of the bumper. After priming, regular paint should stick to the shutters.

Reviewed August 2023

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