Being on an outdoor deck is great when you want to entertain or relax, but as with any outdoor item that is exposed to the elements, it gets dirty. When it comes to decks, they can be damaged if they’re left that way over an extended period of time. Here are the top 5 best wood deck cleaner types you need to know.
With the price of wood going up, you do not want to have to be replacing pieces to keep the deck in a safe condition. To keep a deck surface looking good, it should be cleaned each year as the weather warms in the spring.
Once it is cleaned, it needs to be sealed from the elements, and then the outdoor enjoyment can begin.
An important key to cleaning your deck is to choose a deck cleaner that suits the deck’s material. Choosing the right one will keep a deck clean, protected, and in good shape. The same should be done with a good sealant.
Doing both these things is important so that next season’s deck clean up will be simple and will not require a lot of back-breaking scrubbing. Good maintenance habits mean a lot less money and energy go into deck repair over time, and it will be easy to get it ready for the outdoor season.
Different Decks Need Different Cleaners
While cleaning a deck is important for appearances, if it has mildew stains, mold, or other tough stains, finding a proper cleaner is important. Taking care of these issues means they won’t spread or do long-term damage to the deck. Proper seasonal care will prolong a deck’s life and cost you less money in the long run. Choosing the right deck cleaner and the proper tools are all part of maintaining your deck for seasons of outdoor enjoyment for years to come.
Best for Wood Decks
- Non Caustic
- Non Acidic
- No Bleach
- Coverage: 550 - 1700 sq feet depending on porosity and amount of staining
These wooden deck cleaners have detergents to get rid of surface dirt. They are often premixed so they can be used straight from the container or diluted in water. They are great for woods like cedar, teak, and redwood as well as some pressure-treated wood. You can apply them with a spray applicator or brush and then spread it with a mop. Once this is done, just rinse off with a low water pressure hose.
All-Purpose Deck Cleaner
- Cleans away ground-in dirt and stains
- Safe to use, contains no harsh chemicals
- Leaves a protective coating to help repel dirt and stains
- No hard scrubbing or rubbing
If your deck wood is painted then it will need gentle cleaners since tougher wood deck cleaning product can lead to dulling the color, cracking, and peeling. Ammonia-free is best and there should be product certification saying it is safe for painted wood deck. It can be done with spray and then a clean and rinse.
Dull Wooden Decks – Restorative Products
- DEFY Wood Brightener cleans and restores weathered wood surfaces to make them look new again.
- This product excels at removing rust or tannin stains from wood surfaces and is recommended for all species of wood including redwood.
- This product brings wood surfaces back to neutral ph, after using alkaline wood cleaners and stain strippers.
These products are called deck brighteners. They include products such as bleach or oxalic acid to lighten deck boards and fade stubborn stains. These can be used with a washer and brush but should be applied with eye protection at a bare minimum. The products are stronger than just soapy water and will target the touches stains, so protection is important.
Deck Cleaner & Sealer
- Spend less time scrubbing and more time enjoying your deck with Simple to use Resist Mist. Clean. Dry. Apply. With just 3 steps every 3 years you’ll have more time to enjoy your deck with family and friends.
- Resist Mist treatment uses BLEACH FREE Micro Encapsulation technology to keep stains from coming back.
- Cleaner and sealer both use plant-based surfactants, no bleach and contain zero Volatile Organic Compounds.
This duo can not only clean various deck materials, but it can also put a temporary film on it that will slow dirt and dust from remaining on it for a limited time. It removes grease and dirt while also being water-repellant. It should be noted though that this type of cleaner product will not act as a full replacement for deck sealer. It is a short-term solution.
- Cleans a wide variety of surfaces such as wood, composite, vinyl, metal, fabric, plastic, wicker, concrete, stone, brick and asphalt
- Lifts dirt, grime and stains from mold, mildew, moss and algae
- Uses the power of peroxide to lift grime without harsh chemicals
- Safe for direct-release into oceans, lakes and streams
This type of cleaner is great if you want to clean your deck without chemicals. Store-bought and DIY both work well and will not hurt plants and grass. There are various types, but many have ingredients like white vinegar or baking soda to help with cleaning and brightening while not hurting the wood. Products like Oxiclean are good because they won’t hurt plants and grass but can take out a stain just like regular bleach. The trick to many of these mild cleaners is to use a pressure washer for some extra cleaning strength. They will remove stains without toxicity.
Different Cleaners for Different Decks and Different Applications
Once you have the cleaner you are going to use, then having the tools on hand to do it is important. A power washer, also known as a pressure washer, is one of the most used. You can also use spray nozzles on a hose or spray bottle configuration as well. The simple method of using warm water in a bucket with the cleaner, plus a deck scrub brush, can be done as well. Make sure you have everything on hand to get started.
Whether you are looking to clean your composite decking surfaces, wood decking, or painted wood, they all need proper cleaners. You can naturally clean them with eco-products, use more chemical-based store-bought products, or homemade cleaners from something like Dawn or Oxiclean.
Whatever is your final choice try to rinse the deck, first with a pressure washer then begin to wash. Once you have finished, rinse the dirty water and cleaner off with a hose.
The key to good maintenance is to clean your deck every year at the start of the warmer season. Doing this means there is reduced elemental buildup and staining so it won’t take as much work to remove it all.
A power wash at the beginning of the season with a good wash and scrub to remove dirt and stains, followed by a brightener or stain, can act as a protectant and preventative. It can offer extra protection against mold, mildew, and algae growth while also making sure the wood stays bright rather than gray.
Doing this will make sure that the deck not only looks good but will last for many seasons of socializing and enjoyment.
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