Did you do a lot of entertaining on your deck this summer? It’s normal that this space exhibits some wear and tear over time and with lots of use… but with some cleanup and a little elbow grease, your wood deck can be back to its former glory in no time.
Here’s how you can get a cleaner, newer looking deck in seven easy steps:
1. Dress well. During the deck cleanup process, water and chemicals are going to be splashing around here and there—so you want to be sure you’re wearing the right gear for the job. Cover yourself with long sleeves, gloves and safety glasses to keep yourself protected (and try to stick with old, worn clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty).
2. Clear the deck. Before you get into the deep cleaning stage of the process, clear the deck of any loose debris: leaves, seeds, small branches and any dirt that can easily be swept away.
3. Wet the entire deck. Before you apply the cleaning solution, you should thoroughly wet the deck to prime it for the deep cleaning stage. This step can also help you clear away any small seeds or dirt you may have missed on the first time around.
You may be tempted to use your pressure washer for this job, but it’s not always necessary! Your basic garden hose is just fine for loosening up small particles and rinsing down the surface—and it’s much easier to handle, especially for beginners not used to the strength of a pressure washer!
4. Apply your solution. Some of the best cleaning solutions for your deck include outdoor bleach or TSP, trisodium phosphate. Whichever you choose, each needs to be mixed with water (according to package directions) so be sure to do so before starting your cleanup.
Once you’ve applied your cleaning solution, let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before scrubbing it down. You can use a scrub brush attached to a broom or extension pole to do this.
5. Rinse off the solution. Once you’ve scrubbed down the deck and paid special attention to particularly dirty spots, it’s time to rinse off the solution. While doing so, be sure to rinse thoroughly and avoid letting the solution run off into vulnerable spots like your pool or any other nearby bodies of water.
6. Let it air dry and enjoy! When you scrub your solution in thoroughly and rinse it all off just as well, there’s no need to repeat steps. Simply let your freshly rinsed deck air dry and it will be as good as new in no time!
7. Rinse/water plants surrounding the deck. If your solution ran off into the plants surrounding your deck space, be sure to water them post cleanup to rid them of any chemical traces. This will help keep your plants’ (and your backyard’s) health and stability where it should be.
Once your deck is back how you want it, it shouldn’t need a thorough cleaning again for about a year. If you notice increased signs of wear after heavy use or a summer storm, however, you may want to rinse the deck down and scrub (even without solution) to keep dirt from setting into the wood.