Instructions on How to Clean a Deck

Instructions on How to Clean a Deck
  • Opening Intro -

    It has been a few years since you installed your western red cedar deck, an attractive and highly functional addition to your home.

    That deck can last for many years, provided that you keep it maintained.


One important maintenance requirement is to keep your deck cleaned as debris, dirt, pollution and gunk from trees and feces from birds can damage the wood. With a broom, bleach and pressure washer assembled, the following steps can help you clean your deck within two hours.

1. Clear the deck. Remove all furniture, toys, planters and everything else on your deck. The deck’s surface and adjoining railings need to be completely cleared in preparation for your work. Place these items far enough away from the deck so that splash back isn’t a problem.

2. Get sweeping. Put on a pair of work gloves, bring out your kitchen or work broom and sweep off the deck. Use a power blower after you sweep to ensure that all residual matter has been removed. Pay attention to the spaces between the slats too as a toy or a household item might get wedged between the slats.

3. Rinse the deck. You can use a garden hose to rinse off the deck, but attach a nozzle that can create a penetrating stream. Take your hose and move it back and forth as you move up and down and across the deck’s surface.

4. Mix your ingredients. Take a household bucket and fill it with three parts water to one part chlorine bleach. You can add two teaspoons of dish soap to the bucket too provided that it doesn’t contain ammonia.

5. Apply your solution. The best way to apply a cleaning agent to a deck is to use a garden sprayer. This step is quick and thorough, but you can also pour the solution from the bucket onto the deck directly. Keep your gloves on and be mindful of back splash. Eye protection is advisable too.

6. Scrub and sit. Take your broom and work on stained deck surfaces while the cleaner penetrates the rest of the deck. The solution should soak in for 10 to no more than 15 minutes before you move on to the next step. Don’t forget to apply solution to railings and deck sides too.

7. Rinse it off. You are now ready to rinse off your deck. Again, use a garden hose, using the strongest stream on stained areas. Move your hose back and forth across the deck surface as you clean this area. Rinse off railings and other wood surfaces too.

8. Allow to dry. If the day is warm and sunny, your deck should be dried off within hours. Take a rag or a cloth to sop up pools of remaining water.

9. Fill the deck. Once dry, your deck is ready to be used again. Bring back the deck furniture, use and enjoy.

Cleaning Considerations


If you plan to move onto staining your deck, you need to allow it to dry sufficiently before applying your stain. There is one exception here: if you buy a wood protector that can be applied to damp lumber, then you can apply that on the same day. Allow the stain to dry, placing your furniture on the deck the next day.

See Also4 Deck Choices for Your Home

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".