How to Clean your Wooden Deck

Regularly maintaining your deck will add years to its life and keep it looking beautiful all year long. Here are a few tips on how to keep your deck looking good.

The best way to ensure your deck is free of algae, dirt and mold is to use a deck cleaner. Deck cleaners will reduce oxidation (graying), but they will increase the pH of the wood. That’s why you should always follow up with a deck brightener which will neutralize the pH.

Selecting a Cleaner

Many homeowners turn to bleach or cleaners containing bleach to keep their decks clean and algae free. While they can be effective, bleach can damage the wood fibers by breaking down the lignin in the wood and damaging wood cells. Bleach can also corrode your fasteners or metal railings.

Alternatives to bleach that you can consider include hydrogen peroxide and sodium percarbonate (apply a deck brightener after cleaning with these products too.)

Setting the Scene

Remove furniture from your deck and give it a good sweep to remove any leaves and dirt. Spray water on the surrounding gardens so any overspray is diluted. Better yet, protect the surrounding garden with drop cloths or tarps.

If you are using a deck cleaner, mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use protective wear. Only apply deck cleaner to a small section at a time and leave it for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer before cleaning with a hard-bristled broom or a steel brush.

Power Washing

This is a great way to clean your deck that’s fast and doesn’t require a deck cleaner. Choose the lowest power setting that still gets the job done. A fan-tip with an angle of spread between 40 and 60 degrees used about 18 inches from the deck works best. Clean with the wood grain to prevent damaging the deck.

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