When it's time to clean your home's wooden deck, you don't have to purchase an expensive commercial cleaner or use a toxic cleaner to get the job done. Regular household products can remove dirt and debris from your deck just as quickly as products designed for wooden decks. Household products are also inexpensive and available from a variety of merchants and online outlets.
Regular laundry detergent, as well as dish washing detergent, can wash your deck just as effectively as a commercial deck cleaner. Mix the detergent with equal parts warm water and pour it on to your deck. Scrub the solution with a long-handled brush and then rinse the decking with water from a water hose. Detergents work on sealed and unsealed wood.
Oxygen Bleach Cleaners
Oxygen cleaners contain a bleach component that can break up caked-on dirt and debris on your decking. The cleaners also remove dirt from wooden spindles and accessories on your decking. Follow any recommendations on the oxygen bleach cleaner's container, and mix the cleaner with warm water to activate it. When using oxygen cleaners, work in sections to keep the cleaner solution from drying out. Oxygen bleach cleaners work on unsealed wood decking and accessories. Use caution when using the cleaner on sealed decking; test in a hidden spot for discoloration.
Trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP, is a household and general purpose product found at hardware and home improvement stores that's also a degreaser. TSP removes dirt and grime quickly without the hassle of excessive. Apply the cleaner in sections. Let it stand for 20 minutes, and then rinse your decking with a water hose to remove the cleaner and debris. Note, TSP is a strong cleaner and you need to wear rubber gloves, safety goggles and a nose mask. TSP works on sealed and unsealed wood.
Bleach is a household product that works on both sealed and unsealed decks but also removes any color or stain on the decking. Use caution when applying bleach to your decking and dilute the chemical with warm water to minimize its discoloration attribute. Bleach actually doesn't clean the wood but just lightens it. Use the chemical along with dish washing or laundry detergent to aid in breaking down debris and cleaning your decking.
Mold Removal Tips
If removing mold from a wood deck made out of sealed wood, also known as pressure treated wood, use a soap and water mixture to break up the mold. Let the wood dry completely before applying the solution if the decking was recently wet. For unsealed decking, use a oxygen bleach cleaner or a detergent/bleach solution to break up the mold. Rinse your decking thoroughly with water from a water hose after the cleaning process is complete. Also, when cleaning your wood decking, cover any grass and landscaping under and around the decking with plastic sheeting to keep the cleaning solutions off of the foliage.