How to Clean a Wooden Deck Before Staining

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A clean deck accepts stain better than a dirty one.

Cleaning your wooden deck is part of its annual maintenance. The process removes decaying organic material that might erode the deck surface and prepares the wood for staining. Cleaning the deck also gives you the opportunity to check the wood for loose nails or rough spots that could cause tripping or splinters. It is best to clean the deck on a warm day in the early morning, before the sun gets hot enough to evaporate your deck cleaner.


Step 1

Remove any deck furniture, potted plants or grill equipment from the deck surface. Sweep the surface of the deck completely with a broom.

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Step 2

Fill a garden sprayer with deck cleaner and water. Mix the water and the cleaner according to the instructions on the package. If you are using a cleaner with bleach, cover any nearby plants with a plastic tarp to protect them from run-off.


Step 3

Spray the deck surface with the deck cleaner using a garden sprayer. Spray the flooring of the deck, any seats and any backrests.

Step 4

Leave the cleaner to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5

Rinse the deck surface with a pressure washer set at 1,000 pounds per square inch, which is usually the lowest setting. This will prevent you from damaging the deck wood. Hold the washer nozzle at least 8 inches from the wood surface. Rinse the entire deck with the pressure washer.


Step 6

Let the deck dry for 24 hours.

Step 7

Check the deck surface for any rough spots that may cause splinters later. Run over the rough spots with a fine grit sandpaper to smooth them out. Check the deck for any loose nails, as well. Hammer the nails back in place as you move over the deck surface.



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