Decks should be given a thorough cleaning at least twice a year, especially in the spring and fall, according to the recommendations of certain industry professionals. The method that is both the safest and the most environmentally friendly for cleaning a deck is to not clean it at all. This removes the possibility of hazardous chemicals being released into the air and water.
You could demolish the deck entirely, getting rid of all of that moldy and mildewed wood, recycling it, and making it someone else’s issue. Then you could begin the process of constructing a new deck from scratch. However, this is not always an option, and it is not always the choice that is the best or most realistic.
The following is a list of deck cleaners that you might want to consider using.
Table of Contents
Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Dish Soap
Everyone’s favorite natural cleaners can be used on the outdoor deck to tackle mildew and algae. Here’s the recipe:
- Box of baking soda
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of mild dishwashing liquid/soap (not the stuff for your dishwasher)
- 1 gallon of water
The afflicted portions of the deck should be dusted with baking soda. In a bucket, combine vinegar, dish soap, and water. Apply the solution to a portion of mildew-infested decking. Scrub the area with a brush until you notice the results. Repeat as necessary. If you want a thorough job, you might have to repeat this technique multiple times.
In the same vein as baking soda and vinegar, borate is a natural cleaner that may be used for a wide variety of tasks around the house and yard. To get rid of algae and mildew, take a small section of your deck at a time and scrub it with a brush while using a solution that contains one cup of borax for every gallon of water.
The use of chlorine bleach is not the option that is best for the environment; nonetheless, it is effective in removing mould and mildew as well as standing water (if you have a swimming pool, you get it). Always use bleach in an area with enough ventilation, after reading the directions and labels, and while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and goggles.
In the event that you accidentally overspray the bleach onto the landscape, it is a good idea to first spray the surrounding flora with water. This will help lessen the likelihood that the plant leaves will be burned. It is also recommended that, immediately after applying bleach to the deck, a second round of watering the plants that are adjacent to the deck should be performed in order to remove any run-off or overspray that may have happened.
Pressure or Power Washer
If you haven’t already noticed, certain individuals are completely obsessed with their pressure washers. When you turn it up too high and give it a good blast with the pressure washer, you’ll see what a rush it is to watch the paint peel off the face of your house or the dirt melt off the fence that separates your property from the one next door. It’s like having your very own backyard version of those firefighter and action hero movies.
You can hire a pressure washer from a local hardware store, and the rental period is often one day. This is an option if you do not own a pressure washer and are unable to borrow one from a friend or neighbor. Put on your personal protective equipment (PPE), which should include gloves, safety glasses, and closed-toe shoes to begin.
After reading the user handbook, begin in the middle of your outdoor deck and aim the spray to both ends, being sure to cover all surfaces. Before applying a cleaning or brightener, this step needs to be completed first.
Top brands include:
- Sun Joe
- AR Blue Clean
Karcher Deck and Driveway Cleaner
The Karcher Deck and Driveway Cleaner is not a machine that will perform the work for you like a robotic pool cleaner would so try not to get too enthusiastic about it just yet. This device, which can be attached to a Karcher pressure washer, will save you time because it cleans a route that is 11 inches wide with each pass. Other characteristics include:
- It accomplishes this by maintaining a consistent distance between its two spray nozzles and the surface being cleaned, which results in a clean that is streak-free.
- The high-speed rotation of two spray nozzles gives the attachment a hovering quality and also makes it simple to control in different positions.
- Additionally, it can be installed on vertical surfaces, such as walls, fences, siding, garage doors, and other similar items.
Oxygen Bleach Cleaner
Supposedly, oxygen-bleach products are safer for the environment. They may not eliminate mold and algae that have established themselves on wood decks, but if applied more frequently, mold and algae should develop less frequently. Before using this cleaner, be sure to put on protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, to prevent damage.0
The purpose of these products, despite their varying names and components, is essentially the same: to make cleaning your deck effortless. Some of the solutions claim to remove tough stains such as moss, mildew, and mould (the dreaded three Ms). They may withstand precipitation for up to a year. Some claim to be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and may contain biodegradable, allegedly non-harmful substances.
A few of these products include:
- Wet & Forget
- Spray & Forget
- Moldex by EnviroCare
- Bayer 2-in-1 Moss & Algae Killer
Be sure to put on safety glasses or goggles when using this product as well to avoid any splashing in the eyes.
Trisodium Phosphate or TSP
TSP, or trisodium phosphate, is one of the most effective cleaners for killing mold and mildew. However, TSP is not regarded as a very eco-friendly option and its packaging has a variety of warnings. However, if the deck has not been cleaned in a long time and algae is evident, it may be necessary to use it occasionally with caution.
It is preferable to maintain the deck more frequently, including sweeping, as opposed to leaving it in such a state that it must be treated with a powerful substance like trisodium phosphate.