How to Clean a Deck

17 responses

  1. Theresa Grey
    October 10, 2013

    Thank you for your professional advice. This is my first deck and I want to do this right. Can you please let me know where I can find your product. (Stain Solver). Thanks again

    • Tim Carter
      January 10, 2014

      You find Stain Solver at its website -

  2. Derek
    June 14, 2014

    Can you advise how best to clean between the boards on a deck? Some of the boards are cupping as sand, dirt, and leaves have blocked the gaps between boards and water is not draining away.
    I would like to use a pressure washer to blast the build up away but my wife thinks that will damage the timber allowing more water to soak in and causing more cupping. Please help!

    • Tim Carter
      June 14, 2014

      Your wife is correct. The pressure washer will harm the wood. Use a hacksaw blade to floss the gaps.

  3. Michele Peltonen
    June 20, 2014

    In many places I have read that you should use a "brightener" after using a cleaner to correct the PH before applying a sealer/stain. But you don't mention using a brighten in your ebook, "Cleaning and Sealing Your Deck". Is a brightener needed after using oxygen bleach?

    • Tim Carter
      June 22, 2014

      In my opinion, it's all hype. It's been 43 years since I was in my college 5-hour physical chemistry class, but I can tell you this for a fact. The cleaners, like my Stain Solver are alkaline. Water is for the most part neutral. Brighteners are acidic. If you had acid in a beaker in the lab and you rinsed the glass beaker well and even rubbed it, the glass surface would be neutral as you washed away all the acid.

      The same is true for wood. Sure, if you leave on the cleaner and don't rinse it, it needs to be neutralized. But rinsing does that for you if you rinse and scrub well making sure all the alkaline cleaner is gone from the surface of the wood.

      Can a little remain in the pores of the wood? You bet! But what happens if you use a Brightener? After you rinse it off will some of it remain in the pores of the wood leaving the wood acidic?

  4. Eddie
    July 2, 2014

    Does a sanded deck need to be cleaned with cleaners such as oxygen bleach? I just sanded my deck and have found lots of mention about properly prepping a deck for staining but none seem to mention what to do if you have sanded it right down. I used 36 then 60 grit using a commercial floor sander. I still see some tannin bleeds around some of the nail holes.


    • Tim Carter
      July 5, 2014

      If you sanded to bare wood, you don't have to clean it. The stains are not going away and will come back because of inferior fasteners.

  5. Brian
    June 20, 2015

    I have an unfinished deck built last year that I need to wash then stain. this deck has a stainless steel cable system that I am afraid will be damaged by the caustic cleaners on the market. I spoke with Behr and they would not confirm that their all in one cleaner would not harm the cables but said that the wood must be prepped prior to painting. The cable manufacturer had no advice either. I purchased simple green hoping it would not hurt the railing system but it does not recommend you use it on unpainted wood, so I am at a loss as to what to do. Does anyone have any recommendations on what cleaner I should use that will not hurt the railing system but properly prep the wood?

    • Tim Carter
      June 21, 2015


      My Stain Solver will NOT hurt stainless steel. We have lots and lots of Before and After photos of it being used to clean SS sinks and commercial coffee makers. Plus, I've used it myself for nearly 20 years to clean all the stainless steel around my house.

      Go to: Stain Solver It's an amazing wood cleaner too!

  6. Pat CSeewald
    June 23, 2015

    Did I read this right? Once unfinished or sanded wood decks get can't remove them. Any suggestions?

  7. James Naughton
    March 30, 2016

    Interesting dialogue.
    My mom's Lumberock deck has been cleaned several times, but it never gets white enough. Are there commercial scrubbers out there to make the deck look brand new again?

  8. JessicaR
    May 25, 2016

    After using the stain solver on a deck, should the deck be sealed?

    • Tim Carter
      May 25, 2016

      Yes, the deck needs to have a pigmented sealer applied.

  9. Neil
    July 11, 2016

    Are there any cons to using product prior to painting? I.e. - Will the paint seal properly? Will it affect the bond of the paint to the deck? Will the paint peel? I haven't been able to find enough on the subject.
    I'm using Behr Dekover.


  10. Dale
    August 17, 2016

    Any recommendations on dosage? I.e. 8 Oz in 1 gallon H2O should cover how many square feet?

    • Tim Carter
      August 22, 2016

      2 pounds of Stain Solver dissolves in FIVE gallons of water. This normally is enough to clean 400-500 square feet of surface area.

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