Deck Cleaning and Maintenance

How to Maintain and Clean Your Deck so it Keeps Looking like New

By Mark J. Donovan

A deck looks beautiful when it is brand new, but after just a year so it can begin to look weathered and shabby if not properly maintained. Consequently it is important to subject your deck to a regular deck cleaning and maintenance schedule if you want to keep it looking like new.

A light deck cleaning can be done with a broom and some soapy water a few times a year. However at least once a year you should plan on a more serious deck cleaning. To properly clean a deck, first remove everything off of its surface and inspect the deck boards for any damage. Replace any damaged boards and use Turpentine and a plastic scrub pad to remove any dried sap stains.

Next use a broom or a leaf blower to remove all of the dust and debris off the surface of the deck. Follow with a garden hose and hand sprayer to remove dirt that is wedged in between the deck boards.

After giving the deck a once over with the garden hose, grab a pale, broom and brush, along with a commercial deck cleaning solution, and scrub the surface of the deck. When cleaning a deck it is best to start in one corner of the deck, preferably near the house, and work your way to the other side of the deck. Working in an organized fashion insures you don’t miss any spots.

Periodically turn the garden hose on your work to wash away the dirt you have scraped off the deck surface.

 Proper deck cleaning and maintenance will ensure your deck last for years to come.

Finally, after scrubbing the entire deck use your garden hose again to completely rinse down and clean the deck surface.

Cleaning Decks with Pressure Washers Caution

Note, if you decide to use a pressure washer to clean your deck make sure to use the lowest pressure nozzle and keep the nozzle at least 2 to 3 feet away from the deck surface when using it. A pressure washer can easily damage the grain of your deck wood if not used properly.

Selecting a Deck Cleaning Solution

When selecting a commercial deck cleaning solution select one that will not bleach out the deck boards nor cause the deck hardware (screws and/or nails) to corrode.

Also look for deck cleaner solutions that will remove algae and mold if you observe dark black or green areas on your deck.

Deck Maintenance after Cleaning a Deck

After a thorough deck cleaning, inspect the deck for any other deck maintenance issues. Again, look for damaged or loose deck boards, deck paint or sealer peeling, sap bleeding knots, and popped nails.

Deck Installation Bid Sheet

Replace any damaged deck boards that you may have additionally discovered during the deck cleaning process. Use a hammer to nail down popped nails. Alternatively, you may want to remove the popped nails altogether and replace them with slightly larger ones.

If your deck is painted and you see sap bleed through, then you may want to seal the knots with a Bin sealer and then repaint the deck.

If your deck is peeling then you have a bigger deck maintenance issue to deal with. You will need to consider sanding the entire deck surface and then either repainting it or resealing it.

With these simple deck cleaning and maintenance tips you should be able to keep your deck looking like new and extend the life of it for many additional years.

For help on building a deck, see’s Deck Installation Bid Sheet. The Deck Installation Bid Sheet will teach your how to hire the right deck contractor, and help to ensure that your deck project is completed on time and budget.

Related Information

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