Deck Cleaning Tips For Homeowners
Keeping your wood deck clean can require some significant time and effort, particularly if you aren't diligent about the more elaborate cleaning methods. The more attentive you are to your deck, the quicker and easier it should come clean. Here are a few tips to help you clean your deck.
Wood Deck Cleaning Basics
Your home's deck is constantly exposed to the elements, so it's vulnerable to damage if you aren't attentive to keeping it clean and maintained. If your deck has loose debris and dirt, you can keep it clean with a large push broom. Along with this, you still need to do some more extensive cleaning a couple of times a year. Here are a few different methods you can choose from to clean your deck.
- Power Washer – Power washers apply water at high pressure, helping to get stuck-on dirt and debris off the surface of the wood. It's a good choice for decks that are in good condition, and it's effective as long as you do it properly. It's much faster than trying to scrub the deck by hand with a bucket and a brush, and it's often more effective, especially if there's a lot of caked-on dirt. If you're going to clean your deck with a power washer, it's often best to reach out to a professional to help. Otherwise, you risk concentrating the pressurized water for too long in each spot, damaging the wood. When done professionally, power washing is an effective and efficient way to clean the deck without any negative effects. If you're experienced with power washers, you can likely do the work on your own, but you may still get better results working with a contractor.
- Oxygen Bleach Cleaner – Oxygen bleach consists of soda ash and hydrogen peroxide. You can buy it as a powder, and it creates a cleaning solution when dissolved in water. The bubbles created by the oxygen will work to break up the dirt and debris on the surface of the deck. If your deck is already damaged from weathering, this is a better option than power washing. You'll still have to scrub the surface of the wood, but the oxygen bleach solution will be gentler on the wood than the high-pressure water of the power washer. Oxygen bleach products are good choices for cleaning a deck or any other outdoor area because they are more environmentally-friendly. These cleaners won't damage your deck, your plants or lawn. They're also safer for your lawn because there are no chemicals there to kill the grass. Follow the directions on the package to make sure that you mix it in the proper ratio with the water. The mixing instructions will vary based on the brand, so it's best to check carefully even if you've used another brand in the past. Once mixed, scrub the deck in the direction of the wood grain.
- Oxalic Acid Solution – If your deck has been stained by rust, bird droppings or routine wear, you might need more than what the oxygen bleach cleaner can do. To remove stubborn stains from your deck, use an oxalic acid solution. You can find it labeled as a wood bleach or wood brightening solution. Mix it with water according to the ratio on the package and then scrub stains using the solution and a stiff-bristle brush. Then, rinse the wood completely.
Routine Maintenance Standards
If you keep up routine maintenance on your deck, you'll have a much easier time of cleaning when it's needed. Consider sanding and sealing the whole deck once a year to protect it from weathering. In addition to the sealant, you can treat it with a weather barrier to keep the wood from suffering any water or UV ray damage. If you're not comfortable doing this work on your own, a deck construction and maintenance contractor can help you.