How to Clean your Deck – Without a Pressure Washer

How to Clean your Deck – Without a Pressure Washer

Yes, pressure washers are amazing, but they can also be amazingly expensive. For deck maintenance, you can manage without and with the help of a good quality deck wash and sturdy scrub brush you can get some impressive results! And unlike a pressure washer, you won’t have to worry about gouging your deck due to excessive water pressure. Living in Breckenridge, the sun and snow makes our deck take a severe beating year round. Unfortunately this means more maintenance than we might like to prolong the life of the wood and keep it looking good. Read on to find the best ways to maintain your deck without a pressure washer.

Materials needed:

  • A good quality deck wash (I recommend Super Deck Wash or TSP) – often found at a local paint or hardware store
  • Long handled scrub brush with stiff bristles (Though not necessary, you can even find these stiff synthetic bristle brushes with hose attachments so you can hose the deck and brush at the same time.)
  • 5 gallon bucket or mop bucket – to mix your deck wash according to instructions
  • Hose with garden sprayer attachment
  • OPTIONAL: Gloves for mixing deck wash solution, re-sealer/stain (see below for notes on type you should get for your deck) & oil brush to apply stain, mineral spirits to clean oil brush

Step 1

First things first, remove all furniture, potted plants, barbecues, etc. and ensure large debris is removed or swept away.

Step 2

Mix the powdered deck wash according to instructions on the box into a bucket of your choosing.

deck brushStep 3

With your hose and garden sprayer attachment, wet a 4 by 4 area.

Step 4

Using your mixed deck wash and stiff, long-handled brush, begin aggressively scrubbing the 4 by 4 area. To your delight, you will see dirt lift up and the water become dirty.

Step 5

Continue working in 4 by 4 areas until the deck is complete. Be sure to rinse and scrub as you go.

Step 6

Give your entire deck one final rinse and allow the deck to dry completely. If you are not planning on resealing, feel free to replace furniture, barbecues, etc.

The next steps are optional. If you live in Summit County or other high area elevations, I would definitely recommend resealing once a year or every two years – especially after a good scrubbing!

oil brushStep 7

Getting on your hand and knees and using your oil brush, apply one coat of the deck sealer of your choice. It is important that you do not allow the stain to pool. Also look out for drips on nearby concrete, painted trim, siding etc. Once you’re done applying deck re-sealer, clean your oil brush with mineral spirits.

Step 8

Always follow manufacturer instructions, but most deck re-sealers will allow you to safely resume light foot traffic on your deck after 1-3 days.

Special notes on deck re-sealers and stains:

For old decks where the wood is at the end of its life, you’re better off choosing a solid body stain. This will be one solid color that will offer more UV protection. It looks like paint, but it allows moisture in and out of wood and allows the wood to breath. Paint isn’t really designed to stick to wood and instead often peels.

Semi-transparent stain/sealers are good for newer woods where you want to emphasize the natural beauty and grain of the wood. Clear sealers are good for people who want to leave their natural wood as is. This route though is high-maintenance as it often requires you to re-seal annually and there is not a lot of UV and moisture protection.

We hope this article summed up how to wash your deck properly. Please let us know with pictures or comments how your experience went. For further questions, feel free to comment below!