Your deck is a great place for friends and family to gather in your home. However, the elements and general use means you will need to clean on occasion. This is a guide about cleaning a wood deck.
I have been a waterman for 60 years and didn't like to pay for expensive cleaning solutions for teak decks. The solution is to just wet down the deck with a hose and use household ammonia. Let stand a few minutes, don't let it dry out and wash off. Use a soft brush so as not to remove the soft grain. Good luck.
Source: a fellow waterman
By Bill from Hobe Sound, FL
Sounds great...but can amonia be used on teak furniture - dining table for example? Thanks!
I use about 1/4 cup of dishwasher soap in a bucket of water as deck wash. I scrub with a push broom, then rinse really well. The deck comes out very clean without the cost of deck wash.
By Kathleen from Reno, NV
We have a large, painted wooden deck and two very large dogs. To say the deck is frequently dirtied by their paws is an understatement. My husband had tried several things to clean the deck without damaging the wood or making it slippery.
One day I suggested he use liquid dishwasher detergent. First he wet the deck, then squirted a little of the detergent onto the deck. Using a sponge mop he cleaned the wood and then rinsed it off. The deck was clean without being slippery, as regular detergents had done. I just buy the cheapest dishwasher detergent available.
By Pam from Davie, FL
How do you clean the cracks in your wooden deck? The boards on my deck are a little too close together and SO MUCH gunk gets stuck between them. I tried using a screw drivers to scrap it all out and I also used the high power nozzle on the end of the hose to shoot it out with water, but neither technique works all that well. Any ideas?
You might need to buy or rent an actual power washer to get them clean. Also, there is a product called "OxiOut Algae and Mold Remover" that can be applied with a sprayer or a brush. I know that Improvements catalog carries it for $17.99 for a 64oz bottle of powdered concentrate that makes 10 gallons of cleaner, but you can probablly find something similar elsewhere. Also, you can use a bleach solution to clean it (DO NOT mix with the commercial cleaner) and wash it off with the hose or you can actually use a bleach water solution in the pressure washer.
How about pulling up the boards and installing them with wider gaps? That would be the proper fix. I did remove a bird feeder on my deck once because it loaded up the gaps too much. BTW, too much high pressure washing will roughen the wood and make it splinter more easily.
I would clean the cracks,as best as I could,with a garden hose and a stiff bristled brush-an old broom works well-You don't want cracks between the deck boards.[expansion/contraction pulls the nails loose]
I haven't tried this myself yet, but have heard it works pretty well: screw a cuphook onto the tip of a wooden broom handle, use the hook to scrape the junk out from between the boards, then just sweep it up.
Can you use Dawn to wash off your deck? My deck smells like cats. Is it safe to use outdoors? Will it harm plants?
By Anarene from Topeka, KS
Dawn is just dish soap with some ammonia in it. That is why is does a better job of cleaning than other dish soaps. It is safe to use outdoors and shouldn't harm plants if you are using it in water, which I assume you are doing. I am not sure if it will get rid of cat urine smell if it is soaked into wood.
I use Mr. Clean citrus to wash off any areas on my house which might have been sprayed by stay tom cats. I sometimes use it full strength as the smell of it discourages the cats. My house is stucco and brick, so absorption is not a problem. (04/23/2010)
This post really helped. I used Dawn, a swiffer sweeper with a new pad - one of those with the grooves, and it really cleaned it well. So much so, that I may not even resand it. Just stain it.
Was just wondering if anyone knew any thrifty way to clean a wood deck? Hopefully I can get rid of some of that grey color and brighten it up. Thanks in advance.
Use bleach to clean the deck and using a sprayer to put it on makes it easier. Let it sit for a bit and then wash off. It will be like new. (04/30/2005)
Now this is just a thought, an online friend said she did this and it worked, so I'm just taking her word for it. She bought a small can of stain (comes in various colors) at the hardware store, she let it soak in after she applied it with a sponge mop. Then she put two coats of varnish on it, again with a sponge mop and she said it's easier to maintain now. (05/02/2005)
My son-in-law used a power sprayer, a very forceful one and the deck looked new. I have no idea what they cost, but you could probably rent one for a day at an equipment rental place. (05/02/2005)
By Beverly in TN
First you need to wash it with wood soap and then stain it to protect the wood. (05/03/2005)
The Olympic brand deck cleaner does have bleach in it, but I am unsure of the ratio. Do not put straight bleach on your deck unless you want a white deck. (06/21/2005)
Rent a powerwasher, but don't over do it were the wood might be splintering. (08/23/2006)