Deck cleaning is a task that should be done at least once a year. Throughout the year dust and dirt accumulates on the surface of the wood. Snow and rain can also cause mildew and algae to accumulate on the surface of the deck, making it slimy and unsightly. There are several methods that can be used to effectively clean a wooden deck; however, a deck should never be cleaned with harsh chemicals that can damage the wood, such as chlorine bleach or abrasive cleaners.
The easiest way to clear large debris, dirt and dust from a deck is to sweep it away. With the right broom you can even remove debris that is stuck on, such as bird droppings. A stiff, outdoor push broom works best for the main area of the deck. Corners will probably have to be swept with a smaller broom that can reach in the angles. If you do need to use a smaller broom, it is best to purchase a broom just for outdoor use. The dirt from the deck will sometimes stick to the broom and you don't want to bring that dirt indoors.
If you have debris that is stuck onto the deck that cannot be removed by a regular broom, then you can use a hand-held brush. The best kind of brush to use for this task is a wire brush. However, be careful not to press down too hard on the brush as you use it, because the metal tines of the brush can dig into the wood causing it to scratch and look unsightly. Debris can also sink into the gouges in the wood, making it harder to keep clean.
Pressure washing is one way to clean the surface of a deck. Pressure washing uses a high pressure water spray to blast dirt from many surface types. Some deck staining experts believe that pressure washing is the best way to thoroughly clean the surface of a wooden deck, while others believe that pressure washing can damage the wood over time. If you do decide to pressure wash your deck, make sure to use the lowest pressure possible to obtain a clean surface on your deck. You can also hire a professional to pressure wash your deck for you. Many of these companies also offer deck sealing packages as well.
If you do not want to power wash your deck, oxygen bleach is the way to go. Oxygen bleach is sold at home supply stores in powdered form. The power is mixed into water and sprayed onto the deck, then needs to sit for about 30 minutes. Afterward the bleach solution is brushed off with a broom or sprayed off with water.
Grease spots from cooking and other food spills are best cleaned with dish soap. Make sure to clean any grease spots before applying a finish to the deck or the finish will not stick properly to the floor. A simple mixture of soap and water should be enough to remove most grease spots from the deck.