Cleaning Your Deck

Cleaning the deck once a year will make it look like a freshly new installation and make it last longer. If you are planning to refinish the deck it must be thoroughly cleaned first. If the deck is not cleaned properly the results can be unsightly if not destructive. Pulling out the pressure washer to clean the deck is not necessarily the best approach to deck cleaning. Although the pressure washers are popular to home owners for meeting many household needs they can be destructive if not used properly. When vinyl siding became the norm, the pressure washer became the household accessory to perform the annual cleaning chore. They come in many different sizes with the various attachments for hot or cold water washing, with or without detergents. As all tools they must be used with caution and for their intended purpose.

The pressure washers spray wand attachment has several different size tips that essentially determine the output pressure that gets the job done. Too little pressure simply won’t get the job done at all and too much pressure can cause damage to the wood, cement, or vinyl surfaces that you are cleaning. Although it may be a speedy approach to get the job done it is not the best tool to clean a wood deck unless it is done with care, insuring that the correct nozzle is used to avoid wood damage.

There are other alternatives to the pressure washer such as a scrub brush or broom, a detergent solution, and some old fashion arm work. Oxygen bleach, green-cleaner, and some household detergents that contain a high level of hydrogen peroxide are very good deck cleaning detergents. I would not recommend a laundry bleach as it contains chlorine that does not do justice to the environment and may damage surrounding plants and grass.

When applied generously and scrubbed with a stiff brush or broom, deck cleaning detergents will remove surface dirt, grime, mold, and mildew. Simply rinse the deck after the scrubbing task is complete. These products are environmentally friendly, causing no harm to shrubs or grass. True Values “Deck Wash” is an excellent deck cleaning detergent. There are many other deck wash detergents available, however, I would recommend buying a powder detergent and mix it to the strength necessary for your cleaning requirement. In liquid form, most cleaners are approximately 75% water. Always follow the manufacturer suggestions to include safety requirements. Proper eye protection is absolutely necessary. For best results the temperature should be 60 to 90 degrees.

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