How to Clean a Deck?

A regular deep cleaning of your deck will protect it from mildew and rot. A broom and vacuum cleaner will remove loose debris, dirt, leaves, and salt.

A natural cleaner such as vinegar or baking soda works well. Oxygen bleach, which is less harsh than liquid chlorine bleach, can also be used to remove mildew stains. Read on to know more.


Before using a cleaning solution, sweep away all loose debris from the deck. This will remove dirt, leaves, and debris that can stain the surface of a wood or composite deck.

Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle or long-handled brush to rinse the deck. Be sure to keep the nozzle or brush at least 6-12 inches from the surface of the deck to avoid damaging it. A solid rinse before you begin cleaning will also help to disperse the cleaner more evenly.

Use a homemade cleaning solution that is formulated for the type of deck you have (wood or composite). In general, it is best to start with a milder solution, such as powdered oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean), and then move on to more aggressive solutions if needed. If you’re using a homemade deck cleaner, be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles to protect your eyes and skin from splashing chemicals. Also, be sure to test your cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire deck.

Pressure Wash

A good-quality pressure washer can get a deck squeaky clean, but it’s important to know how to operate the unit correctly. First, make sure the hose is cold — hot water can damage wood grain.

When you’re ready to wash, start on an inconspicuous spot and gradually increase the power as needed. HGTV suggests starting at 500 to 600 psi and working your way up as you get more experience. Aim to keep the nozzle tip about two feet away from the surface and move it closer only as necessary to avoid damaging the wood.

For stubborn mildew stains, consider adding a cup of powdered Borax to your cleaning solution. This natural mineral will help banish mildew while still being safe for your landscaping plants. A stiff bristle brush will also come in handy for getting into tight corners and between railings. When you’re done, let the deck dry for a day or two.


If your deck is only mildly soiled a regular mop and warm water will do the trick. However, if it is more heavily soiled you will need to use a cleaning solution. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the cleaner carefully. Many cleaning solutions contain chemicals that are harsh and can damage your wood and stain if not properly rinsed.

Consider using an all-in-one cleaner with a built-in brightener for a quick and effective clean. A popular choice is Penofin’s Pro-Tech Wood Cleaner. This product contains a bleaching agent and detergent that work together to remove dirt and stains from the surface of your deck.

Sodium hypochlorite is another bleaching agent commonly used to eliminate mildew from a wood deck. However, excessive use of chlorine bleach-containing cleaners will damage treated wood. This can raise the wood fibers and give it an unnatural whitewashed appearance as well as corrode metal fasteners, screws, and nails.


Stains are designed to protect deck wood from moisture, mildew, and UV rays. They come in a range of opacity from transparent to semi-transparent to solid. Water-based stains are easy to apply, dry quickly, and have low odors while oil-based stains penetrate the wood better but take longer to cure and need to be recoated more frequently.

When staining a deck it is important to follow the product label for application instructions. Most stains require the deck to be clean and dry before applying. It is best to work on a cool day and work in the shade where possible so that you don’t overheat.

A good brush and paint roller are essential to achieve a consistent coat of stain on your deck. Be sure to cover plants and furniture with drop cloths as the stain can drip. Be sure to sand splintered areas of the deck, and wear a dust mask for safety. Once the stain is applied it will need to dry for one to two days. Discover more interesting articles.