Many homeowners choose to apply stain to their decks. Stain gives a deck a uniform color and protects the wood. Unfortunately, some cleaners can cause discoloration and bleaching of your deck stain. The discoloration will make your deck look old and dingy. Fortunately, there are a variety of deck cleaners available that will not harm the stain.
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An all-natural cleaner and deodorizer, white vinegar has long been used to clean a variety of surfaces and decks are no exception. As well as removing dirt and grease, white vinegar will also kill fungus -- such as mold and mildew -- while removing tough odors. Since white vinegar does not contain any harsh chemicals, it is safe to use on decks and will not harm the stain. White vinegar can also be used around children, animals and plants without causing damage or harm. For deck cleaning, scrub the surface with equal parts water and white vinegar. Use a water hose to rinse the deck clean.
Oxygen bleach is made from sodium percarbonate and is a gentler substitute for chlorine bleach. Unlike chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach will not damage wood stain or cause harm to plants. However, oxygen bleach is tough enough to remove dirt, grime and fungus from your deck. Oxygen bleach is packaged in a powdered form, which must be mixed with water before cleaning the deck. Refer to the directions on your specific brand of oxygen bleach for mixing instructions.
Liquid Dish Soap
The same product you use to keep your dishes cleaned can also remove dirt, dust and grease from your deck. Furthermore, since dish soap is safe enough for your delicate dishes, it will not harm your deck's stain or the surrounding plant life, especially if you look for a soap that is biodegradable. Create a deck cleaning solution by mixing ¼ cup liquid dish soap with 1 gallon water. Use a stiff-bristled brush broom to scrub the deck with the cleaning solution. After you have thoroughly cleaned the stained deck, rinse it clean with a water hose.
Like white vinegar, baking soda is an all-natural cleaner and deodorizer that can be used on a variety of surfaces. Baking soda will remove dirt, grime and odor from your deck without harming the stain. Furthermore, since baking soda is natural it will not harm children, pets, wildlife or plants. Baking soda can be used as a deck cleaner by mixing 1 cup soda with 1 gallon warm water. Scrub the deck with the mixture and rinse it clean with a water hose.
Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.