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How to Clean the Deck with our Dang Good Guide

Last Updated: March 23, 2024

Written by Karen Norman

Clean the Deck with our Ultimate Guide.  

Clean the Deck with some Cleaning Hacks for Wooden Decks. 

A good quality deck has never been cheap, and now with supply issues and everyone focused on their homes during the pandemic, the price of wood is through the roof! When you have a beautiful yard to take advantage of during the summer, take care of your deck so it will provide you with pleasure for many years to come. Summer never lasts long enough! More so in Alberta. Unfortunately, we can not do much about the length of the seasons, but we can do something that will help extend the life of a deck. In Alberta, the winters can be especially harsh and it can take a toll on your deck. 

Why Clean the Deck? 

Your deck is part of your outdoor living space; it deserves the same level of care and attention as your house. Rather than let it be an eyesore: a collection point for outdoor toys and storage, your deck should be a place to relax and hang out with friends. Additionally, keeping it free of

  • excess moisture (for example, don’t leave kiddie pool filled with water leaking on the deck)
  • debris (old lawn chairs, worn-out BBQ)
  • and grime (spilled food and drinks)

will extend the life of your deck.

When to Clean the Deck? 

Wooden decks need annual maintenance for exfoliating and sealing. Composite decks need less deck care and maintenance. However, you still need to ensure they are not sitting directly under a downspout and are adequately ventilated from the underside year-round. Cloudy days are ideal for cleaning any deck, because the sun will not dry up your cleaning solutions too quickly.

Tips to consider before you Clean the Deck.

  • Commercial cleaners can damage your lawn and plants and are not suitable for all types of decking. So be careful when choosing one, and consider a homemade cleaner instead.
  • Vinegar not only cleans but will also help eliminate any mould and mildew buildup, and it keeps ants away too. It is also a powerful degreaser! However, be careful if you have plants growing in any soil nearby as the vinegar may make the soil acidic, and only some plants thrive well in acidic soil.
  • Baking Soda is also a natural cleaning product for those areas affected by BBQ grease.

Homemade Deck Cleaners. 

Below are four cool Deck Cleaner Hacks:

  1. OxiClean and Dish Soap (must be ammonia-free).
    Mix a bucket of water with two cups of OxiClean powder until it has dissolved. Add several squirts of dish soap and stir to create a foamy lathered mixture.
  2. Baking Soda, Vinegar and Dish Soap.
    Mix 1 cup of vinegar with two tablespoons of dish soap in a bucket of water.  Sprinkle baking soda on the stubborn stains on the deck, then brush with the vinegar, dish soap and water mix.
  3. Borax.
    Mix one cup of Borax in a bucket of water. This solution is suitable for areas of mildew.
  4. Powdered Laundry Detergent for Grease.
    Sprinkle the laundry detergent onto the grease stain. Wait for a few minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse.

How to Clean the Deck?  

Now that the ‘when and why’ of how to clean the deck has been established, and the reasoning behind using homemade deck cleaners has been highlighted, it is time to go over how to clean the deck in more detail.

  • Clear the Deck – Start by clearing everything off the deck.
  • Assess the Deck Décor – Decide what will be placed back on the deck afterwards (i.e. chairs, table, etc.) and what will be discarded or donated (such as outgrown outdoor toys, bags of recyclable bottles, etc.).
  • Give the Deck a Sweep – Sweep off loose debris with a broom.
  • Hose down the Deck and Railing – Before you tackle the cleaning, give the deck a quick rinse using a hose and tap water.
  • Dip a Broom in Cleaner – Using a long-handled, stiff-bristled broom, immerse the broom in your homemade cleaner.
  • Test First – Clean-test a patch on a small area first. (You don’t want to discolour the paint or composite material).
  • Apply the Cleaner – Use the brush to apply the cleaner to the deck.
    • When you clean the deck, it is essential to clean in the direction of the wood grain. Do a little at a time for the best results.
    • Use a handheld brush for the railings.
    • For caked-on dirt, let the cleaner sit for a few minutes. Then lightly scrub.
  • Rinse the Deck – Use the jet setting on your hose to thoroughly rinse off the dirt and cleaner until no foamy lather is left.
  • Stain or Seal – Ensure the deck is completely dry before staining or sealing a wooden deck. Then see below. 

Staining versus Sealing.  

Are staining and sealing the same thing? No, they are not. Clear sealers have no stain. Use these when you want the rustic wood grain to show through. Lightly tinted sealers also show the wood grain but cover up tiny imperfections. Solid sealers are like paint. You won’t see the wood grain, but they last longer and make your deck more durable.

See this Deck Cleaning 101 for more information.

Should I Pressure Wash my Deck instead? 

Pressure washing is a great way to clean your deck fast, but it’s not as simple as it looks. You will need the right setting and the correct nozzle to ensure you don’t damage the deck. Once set up, aim the pressure washer first at a spot you might easily repair, in case things go wrong and your calculations are off! Be sure that all children and pets are away from the area. Pressure washing can be done, but it is not the only way to get a deck clean. However, f you live in Calgary or surrounding areas and wish to have some pressure washing done by the experts check out our Window Cleaning page for details and prices.

More Backyard Cleaning.  

Check out some of our other blogs to keep your backyard in tip-top condition. 

Share our Blog – How to Clean the Deck Naturally. 

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