How To Clean Decking And Keep Clean For Longer

From organizing an open-air movie night with friends to having everyday evening tea with family, we fancy our go-to place – the deck. Deck gives our house the needed modish look and becomes the polestar of our patio, ready to host all the events we desire.

Being the outside platform, your deck is continuously exposed to foot traffic, dirt, moist air, and water causing grease, mould, and slippery algae. Contrary to the care that your house’s indoor requires, the deck needs a little extra effort to keep it looking perfect for a long way.

Don’t worry, cleaning a deck is far easier than it sounds! Keep reading to find out how to clean decking without specialized cleaners and get that deck in a top shape.

How to clean decking

Steps to clean a wood deck

Clear the surface

Begin the process by clearing the deck of all furniture, mats, plant pots, or showpieces. Grab a soft broom and sweep off mud, dirt, and leaves and remove moss from the surface. For a thorough sweep, carefully use a screwdriver or knife to remove the tough build-up of dirt between the boards. Vacuum over loose boards to remove dirt and deep clean from under.

Rinse the deck

Wash away the debris and grime using either a pressure washer or garden hose. This is important to remove any remaining dirt from the surface, especially targeting tough, hard-to-reach spaces between the boards. Take special care while using a pressure wash as high pressure can damage the wood deck or cause it to crack.

Apply the cleaner and scrub

To get rid of all the stains, slippery algae, and mould, make use of a deck cleaner. Mix the deck cleaning solution with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions and saturate the surface using a broom, paint roller, or brush. Let the solution rest for around 10-15 minutes and gently scrub any mould or algae with a stiff broom. Power wash the cleaner from the deck using either pressure cleaner or pressure hose and let it dry.

Make sure to wear gloves and masks while dealing with deck cleaning products as they possess bleaching agents and oxidizers. Protect your plants before using the deck cleaner.

Currently, there are a variety of deck cleaning products available in the market, however, to avoid any damage, you may always use a homemade one to clean your deck.

Seal the deck

Once the deck is completely dried, apply a sealer to elongate the life of your deck. Sealer is a coating solution with waterproofing agents and mildew protectors, applied on the timber deck surfaces to protect from harmful sun rays, moist air, and water damage (you may also replace it with oil for short term solution). Apply two thin layers and let it dry for longevity!

How to make a homemade deck cleaner?

Are you sceptical about the type of deck cleaners best suiting your deck’s wood? Is a run to the supermarket for buying the deck cleaner making you procrastinate? Well, here is how you can save your energy and time by making use of household products to prepare deck cleaner that is not only convenient but also Eco-friendly.

Below is how you can make biodegradable cleaning solutions:

Using Powder Bleach and Warm Water

Oxygen bleach is a mixture of natural borax and hydrogen peroxide, which when dissolved with water, releases oxygen that is tough against stains and grease.

  • Use a plastic bucket large enough to hold two gallons of water and wide enough for the head of deck brush or roller
  • Fill the bucket with warm water and add two cups of powdered oxygen bleach. Add 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap. Carefully stir the solution until the powder is dissolved
  • Apply the cleaning solution on the deck using a brush, let it sit for 15 minutes. After scrubbing the build-ups, wash away using clean water.

Using Baking Soda

This is another effective yet inexpensive solution for clean decking. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and is effective to treat several surfaces including wood.

  • Use a plastic bucket of appropriate size and fill it with cold water.
  • Mix one part of baking soda in ten parts of water and mix well.
  • Apply the mixture on deck and let it rest for several minutes
  • Scrub and rinse off the residue using a hose for a fresh, cleansed deck.

Using White Vinegar

With its degreasing properties, vinegar is a great cleaner for several materials. It has the ability to kill mildew and treat mould.

  • Take a plastic bucket and fill it in with warm water halfway
  • Add an equal part of vinegar to the bucket such that it fills the bucket and mix well
  • Pour the cleaning solution on the deck surface and let it rest for some minutes. Scrub the deck residues and rinse with plain water spray.

A hose with a jet nozzle spray does the job best with home-made cleaners.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How can you clean a grooved decking?

A grooved or composite decking requires a little more effort than plain ones. Generally, a power washer does the job of getting to hard-to-reach areas but if it is unavailable, you can use a jet nozzle with a garden hose to do the same job. Clean composite decking or grooved wood deck using a stiff brush or scrubbing brush to work into the grooves well and scrap off the build-up with a thorough cleaning.

Why do I need a decking stain?

Stain acts as decking protector from harsh elements. Stainers are finishers applied to protect the wood from harsh weather conditions as well as for covering discoloured decking. You can choose from a variety of wood stainers or decking paint depending on how you want your deck look to be.

Clear finishes enhance the wood’s original colour. The semi-clear stain has a dull pigment that changes the tone of your wood whereas solid stainers completely cover the wood grain and are vibrantly coloured. The more opaque the stainer, the tougher it is against weather damages.

How do I maintain the deck for a longer period?

Sweep the surface regularly

Just like your indoor needs regular sweeps and mops, outdoors are no different. Try to sweep your deck promptly keep the area clean with a mop or vacuum cleaner so as not to let mud or stains sit for a longer period and produce grime. This helps remove the foliage and other debris between the substructure of the deck board. For a good sweep, use a bristled brush.

Select a suitable cleaning method with or without a pressure washer

For better results and maintenance of the deck, choose the cleaning depending on what a deck is made from to avoid damage. If the deck is made from soft timber, clean it by hand using a sponge dipped in a solution of soft soapy water. For hardwood, you may clean your decking using a power washer and wire brush attachments.

Apply sealer once a year

Timber or natural wood is a material easily affected by the weather. Even pressure-treated decks trap moisture and succumb to temperature changes, harsh climates, or harmful rays. To add years to the life give your decking a treat with decking oil after regular cleaning and a sealer every year. The best time to seal is right after cleaning.

And that’s it! Now that you know all about keeping your deck in peak condition, it’s time to relax on your comfy furniture and make the most of outdoor living with minimal maintenance.