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All About Wood Deck Cleaning

A wood deck blends in perfectly with your lawn and garden, but if you don't learn about wood deck cleaning, this won't be the case forever. While wood is sturdy and good-looking, it is also has more than a few enemies: sunlight, water, mildew, bad weather, mold, wear and tear, and dirt all threaten to lead your deck to a premature death or at the very least discolor it and render it ugly.

Wood can age beautifully, but it also can rot away if it's not taken care of. Fortunately, there are many options for maintaining your outdoor patio and if you keep on top of things, you can avoid a lot of hassle later.

The only way to keep your deck in good shape is to finish it and then to refinish it when needed. However, you can't do either of these things if it's not properly cleaned! So how can you go about cleaning your wood deck?

Picture of a nice clean deck with new stainFor the most part, regular household cleaners, warm water, and bleach will do the trick to get rid of those pesky stains. However, perhaps your wood has already been weathered and turned into a less-than-attractive gray color. In this is the case, you'll need a wood brightener on your side.

First of all, what causes that unlikable graying? The answer isn't quite so simple, as everything from dirt to algae to sunlight can discolor a wood patio.

Chlorine bleach specifically attacks mildew, moss, and algae – which all cause discoloration – and thus can brighten the wood a lot. However, chlorine bleach is not a friend to wood. It will weaken it and if used enough, will ultimately break it down and on top of that, it is also not good for the outdoor environment. Oxygen bleach, on the other hand, is a much better alternative. It's a safe and inexpensive buy.

There are also heavy-duty degreasers specifically designed to remove, you guessed, it grease! And you can also find products specially to clean wood decks and fences. Make sure you read the instructions before you use these products. They might recommend you wear goggles and gloves. If that is the case, make sure you wear the proper protection and don't wear your good clothes.

The rule of thumb is to simply be cautious of any cleaners containing powerful chemicals. When using them, wear goggles and gloves and try to protect your plants as much as possible. Also, thoroughly wash down your deck afterward so that any residue will be gone. Remember, too, that some types of woods can't handle some chemicals and will end up worse off after you've applied them. So shop around carefully for these serious cleaners.

Now you're probably asking – what's wrong with just using regular detergent? Nothing. Fortunately, you can often combine plain warm water with laundry detergent and scrub that into your deck until its spotlessly clean. Unless you've got tough-to-remove stains to deal with, this is a cheap, easy way to clean your deck that might save you a trip to the store.

Before and after you clean, make sure you sweep and rinse off your deck to remove any and all debris – especially if you're finishing (or refinishing) it.

For information on how to add more seating to your deck, please read this article building deck bench.


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