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The Home Depot

Best Deck Cleaning & Washing Practices

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Deck & Porch > Best Deck Cleaning & Washing Practices
Best Deck Cleaning & Washing Practices

How important is deck cleaning? The short answer is: Very. Though it might not seem like a big deal, cleaning a wood deck has many important benefits that will not only add valuable years to the life of your installation, but will make it look and perform better, too. Here is how to properly clean your deck and the many benefits you'll gain by performing this job regularly.

  1. Depending on the conditions normal to your geographic area (even those specific to your backyard), a deck may require more frequent cleaning.

    1.Benefits of Annual Deck Cleaning

    Dirt, grit, and debris naturally builds up on the surface of decks as well as in the cracks between planks. Not only does build-up look less than inviting, it can actually trap moisture (which can lead to rot) and invite insect activity. Cleaning your deck at least once a year removes this build-up. Additionally, a thorough deck wash allows you to better examine the exposed surfaces for any signs of bugs, decay, fungal growth, and premature aging.


    Many wood decks should also be painted or sealed periodically to protect the wood and keep it in good condition. Washing a deck is an important first step in the painting or staining process, as it removes any surface matter that could prevent good adhesion.

  2. 2.Proper Techniques for Deck Washing

    Deck cleaning is easy once you know the proper steps:


    • Clear the deck of any furniture, outdoor cooking equipment, and anything else that might get in the way


    • Sweep the surface of the deck thoroughly, making sure to remove all loose debris


    • Using a narrow tool, remove any leaves and debris from in between all planks


    • Rinse off the surface of the deck; some prefer to use a powerwasher for this step, as it can perform the job faster (and sometimes more effectively) than a hose


    • Using a cleaning product designed specifically for deck washing, scrub down all surfaces with a stiff, bristled brush; pay special attention to areas where fungal or moss growth has occurred


    • Rinse the deck thoroughly

  3. 3.Do All Decks Need to Be Cleaned?

    Though some materials like tropical hardwoods and composite or synthetic lumber may be very low-maintenance, all decks should be washed at least once a year. It is true that these materials may never need to be painted and they are resistant to moisture and rot, but because mold and mildew can still form on these materials, washing is definitely recommended.

  5. 4.How Often Does My Deck Need to Be Washed?

    Most resources suggest that a deck should be washed at least once a year. However, depending on the conditions normal to your geographic area (or even those specific to your backyard), a deck may require more frequent cleaning to keep insect activity at bay, keep appearances up, and retard the growth of mold and mildew. Deck owners in areas with warm, humid summers will likely benefit the most from more frequent deck washing.

  6. 5.Hiring a Professional for Deck Cleaning

    Like any home improvement task you can imagine, there's a service out there willing to do this job for you. Deck cleaning is hardly the most involved operation in the industry, but anything worth paying hard-earned cash for should produce good results. While there are bound to be individuals out there who go door-to-door, the folks who take the time to make deck cleaning their legitimate business are serious about this job. Unlike those offering services just to make a few quick bucks, established companies that offer deck cleaning are trying to build and/or maintain a good reputation and create good word-of-mouth; because of this, they have a very real interest in making sure your deck is cleaned properly, quickly, and very thoroughly.

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