Fix-It Chick: Cleaning tips to make outside deck look brand new

Outdoor living areas need spring cleaning, too. Now is the perfect time to give that old wooden deck an easy face-lift with some good old elbow grease and a little deck cleaning solution.

Step 1: Choose the deck cleaner that best suits the needs of the deck. Bleach-based deck cleaners contain sodium hypochlorite and are great for removing mold and algae, but these cleaners will damage the wood to some degree. Oxygenated deck cleaners contain sodium percarbonate and clean better than bleach-based products. They are more affordable and will not harm plants and other vegetation. Wolman Deckbrite and Rustoleum Restore Deck Cleaner are both great products that will get the job done.

Step 2: Sweep away all loose debris from the wooden deck and clear the area of any furniture or patio equipment.

Step 3: If the cleaner is bleach-based or labeled as not safe for vegetation, water down the vegetation near the deck area. Cover plants with sheets of plastic to protect them from overspray and runoff.

Step 4: Use the high pressure setting on the garden hose nozzle to spray down all of the areas to be cleaned.

Step 5: Following the manufacturer’s directions on the package, mix the cleaning solution in a bucket of warm water. Oxygenated deck cleaners remain active for 30 minutes, so mix only what can be applied in that time frame.

Step 6: Use a long handle scrub brush to apply cleaning solution in a 3-foot square area. Scrub thoroughly, adding additional solution as needed until the area looks clean. Continue applying solution and scrubbing in 3-foot square sections, moving backward toward the edge of the deck.

Step 7: Let the cleaning solution soak in for about 10 minutes on each section, then use the high pressure setting on the garden hose nozzle to rinse off the dirt and grime.

Step 8: Once the deck has been cleaned, rinse it one more time for good measure.

Step 9: Allow the wood to dry thoroughly before removing any protective plastic covering on the surrounding vegetation.

Step 10: Move patio furniture and equipment back into place and enjoy.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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