How do I choose the best deck cleaner? (with photos)

A scrub brush and oxygen bleach can be used to clean a deck.

The best deck cleaner, like the best method of cleaning a deck or patio, is a matter of personal and professional opinion. For ease of use, effectiveness, ecological solidity and surface protection, however, oxygen bleach or oxygenated bleach seems to be the best solution. Proper use of oxygen and water bleach is a little more time consuming compared to, say, pressure washing or high pressure washing, but it works.

A high pressure washer can be used to clean the decks.

Pressure washing, if done incorrectly, will damage the deck surface by eroding the wood. Pressure washing can actually dislodge small pieces of wood, leaving the deck looking worse than when it was just plain dirty. Even with pressure washing, it is often necessary to use chemical cleaners to remove stubborn stains.

Oxygen bleach is mainly composed of hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate. It is a powder that is mixed with warm water to dissolve in a solution. As with any product, the quality of various brands of powdered bleach is subject to significant variation. Generally, the more expensive a particular brand of deck cleaner, no matter what type, the more active ingredients it contains. Read each brand’s label to find out the type and amount of the various ingredients before you buy.

Wood decks can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution.

When using pure oxygen bleach as a deck cleaner, completely dissolve the bleach powder in the water. This means stirring the mixture for about five minutes to ensure the solution dissolves completely. There should be a thin film of bubbles on top of the mixture when it is mixed.

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Pour the oxygen bleach solution onto a section of the deck. The solution will be much like soapy dish water. Wait about five minutes, again, to allow the oxygen bleach solution to penetrate, then use a brush to scrub the area thoroughly. This deck cleaner should be used one section of the deck at a time until the entire deck is cleaned. Be sure to scrub each section using at least moderate pressure on the scrubber. For persistent stains, consult a professional as more elaborate materials and methods may be required.

A composite deck can be cleaned with washing powder and water.

When all sections of the deck have been scrubbed, the water and bleach solution should look dirty. That means the deck is clean. Just rinse the deck off with a garden hose and the job is done. This exact method is also used to clean patios built with bricks, concrete and slabs. An effective deck cleaner for a composite deck, on the other hand, is a mild detergent or laundry detergent mixed with water. Typically, only a light scrubbing with this milder solution is required.

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