Last Updated Jun 4, 2010 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald
A deck is a beautiful and practical addition to any home but over time the protective coatings wear down, and dirt, mould and other detritus can start to affect the look of the deck. A good deck cleaner will bring your deck back up to as new condition and prepare it effectively for a new coating. Here is what you need to know.
Decking cleaner is a product that is designed to thoroughly clean timber decks. The cleaner will revive the colour of the timber, and remove dead fibres, mould, algae, mildew, and stains caused from tannins. As well, it will remove the general dirt and detritus that can build up on the deck over time. After using a deck cleaner, it is often a good idea to use a diluted bleach solution (5 percent) in order to kill mould and mildew spores that may remain inside the timber itself. Make sure that the bleach is well diluted as strong solutions can actually damage your wood.
There are different types of decking cleaner. Some are designed to be used straight while others will need to be diluted. Check the instructions before use, as some are applied to wet wood, while others are applied to dry wood.
Decking cleaner should be used to thoroughly clean a timber deck before the application of a new protective product such as decking oil, stains, or paints. This ensures that you get the best finish possible from the product that you select, and that the timber will look like new. A clean deck means that the protective product that you apply will not only protect the timber as effectively as possible but also greatly enhance the natural beauty (both features such as the grain, and the colour) of the timber. It is not only existing decks that you should clean but also new decks.
Before using a decking cleaner, make sure you’ve swept the deck clear of any debris. Make sure that you are adequately protected by wearing at least a pair of goggles, a long sleeved shirt, and pants. Gloves and closed in shoes are also beneficial. If you have plants near your deck, make sure they are covered by plastic before applying the decking cleaner as the cleaner can be toxic to plants.
Make sure you thoroughly rinse the deck after applying any decking cleaner.