How do I Clean Vinyl Shutters Before Painting?


When it comes to painting, many amateur do-it-yourselfers undervalue preparation. Proper and thorough cleaning is the first fundamental step in this critical process. Paint will not bond to surfaces that are mired with dirt, cobwebs and sawdust. If you need to paint vinyl shutters, you should pay special attention to the cleaning process. Unlike wood, which is porous, vinyl is ill-suited for adhesion. You must meticulously clean and prepare vinyl prior to painting, or you will ultimately end up with shedding paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Bleach
  • Sponge
  • Plastic bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Coarse sponge
  • Pressure washer
  • Low-pressure tip
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • Acrylic latex paint
  • Put on rubber gloves.

  • Mix 1 tsp. bleach with 1 gallon of water in a plastic bucket. Wipe down the vinyl shutters with the solution, using a sponge. Skip this step if the shutters are free of mildew.

  • Wash the vinyl shutters with dish soap, using a coarse sponge. Scrub away every bit of dirt, or you may have problems with adhesion.

  • Rinse the shutters, using a pressure washer equipped with a low-pressure tip. Wait two to four hours for the shutters to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you've cleaned the vinyl shutters, you will need to condition them to accept paint. Scour the shutters with sandpaper to promote adhesion. Apply an acrylic latex base primer prior to painting.
  • Use an acrylic latex paint on vinyl shutters. Don't use a plain latex paint, as it lacks the ability to expand and contract in varying temperatures.
  • Soap will also inhibit primer and paint adhesion. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the shutters, or the finish may peel.

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  • Photo Credit rubber gloves image by AGphotographer from
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