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Cleaning a Wood Deck

Category Miscellaneous
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 page about cleaning a wood deck.


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June 24, 20103 found this helpful

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

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February 19, 2010

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

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
March 26, 2008

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?


March 26, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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March 26, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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March 28, 20081 found this helpful

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]

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By Superna (Guest Post)
May 24, 20082 found this helpful

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.

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July 10, 20180 found this helpful

I had the same problem. I used a putty knife.

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July 23, 20130 found this helpful

After cleaning my deck with a commercial cleaner, which worked well, some of the wood has grayed. Do I have to rewash or just rinse better?

By Brian B.

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July 9, 20120 found this helpful

We are cleaning mildew and paint stains off a deck that has aluminum under the deck ceiling system to keep the patio below dry from rain. What kind of recipe or product will do this without damaging the aluminum under deck?


By ken

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June 28, 20120 found this helpful

We are cleaning mildew and paint stains off a deck that has aluminum under the deck ceiling system to keep the patio below dry from rain. What kind of recipe or product will do this without damaging the aluminum under deck?

By ken

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

One of the most important steps to keeping a deck from rotting is to clean it with deck cleaner once a year. To save money on deck cleaner make your own. This page contains deck cleaner recipes.

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April 3, 20170 found this helpful

Ammonia is good general purpose cleaning agent that can be used on many surfaces. This is a page about clean teak wood with ammonia.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 24, 20100 found this helpful

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



Cleaning a Wood Deck

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)

By Louise B.

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April 22, 20100 found this helpful

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.



Cleaning a Wood Deck

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)


Cleaning a Wood Deck

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)

By Diana

Cleaning a Wood Deck

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

Cleaning a Wood Deck

First you need to wash it with wood soap and then stain it to protect the wood. (05/03/2005)

By Suzie

Cleaning a Wood Deck

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)


By Vball

Cleaning a Wood Deck

Rent a powerwasher, but don't over do it were the wood might be splintering. (08/23/2006)

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