How to Clean a Deck Before Staining

Would you like to know how to clean a deck before staining? It’s simpler than you think. This is also a necessary part of safeguarding your deck and ensuring it lasts for a long time. How to Clean a Deck Before Staining The reason is – wood is a porous material.

It enlarges and contracts at different temperatures. Due to this expansion, dust and soot can penetrate the wood with time. If you turn a blind eye to your deck, it’ll never be clean and can start to decompose and bend faster. 

To clean the deck surface completely. Follow these simple steps: clear anything on the deck, including furniture, remove any litter, remove any annoying mold/algae and Sand uneven spots, and power wash the deck. 

Requirements? A sweeping broom, Tarps to protect things beneath the deck, A pail, Rigid scrubbing brush, Oxygenated Bleach, and Pressure washer (not compulsory). See Also: weathered wood deck stain

How to Clean a Deck Before Staining (Step By Step)

Step 1: Examine carefully and Sweep.

1. Get rid of all things from the deck

This is the first thing you do on cleaning a deck before staining. Items on the deck consist of chairs, plant boxes, racks, toys, and many more. In case you cannot get rid of it all, you’ll need to move your items to one side when working on the other side of the deck

2. Examine the Structure

Take your broom and clean the outer walls of the house to which the deck is attached. Check the molding flash and ledger where the deck is attached to your house. If the screws are loose or show signs of decay, get in touch with a certified contractor instantly to repaired.

3. Sweep the Deck 

Sweep your deck railing, where there are cobwebs, and then sweep the deck top. If you can get under it, clean it to get rid of refuse that can collect dampness.  Check these automotive paint guns

Step 2: Handle the Stains 

It would help if you tackled stains to stop them from becoming permanent.

1. Stretch out the Tarps

You should use the tarp to safeguard items beneath your deck and any plants adjacent to it, do this if your deck isn’t on top of concrete pavement. 

See Also: Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

2. Create your Solution for DIY Deck-Cleaning

Take 2 gallons of hot water and then add 1 cup of bleach with oxygen. Spread the cleaner in sections on your deck and let it stay for 5 minutes. You can see it producing bubbles a little bit when fighting the discolored spots.

Use a brush to scrub stains thoroughly, rinse the area, and continue with the next one. Ensure you repeat this procedure on the rails, stairways, and others.

3. Rinse completely and allow it to dry

All oxygen bleach must be removed from your deck. Therefore, rinse it out repetitively. Also, rinse the tarpaulin. Let the deck dry completely before you can stain it.

Moist wood can break easily. Therefore, moving hefty furniture or racks may engrave the wood, and placing objects on damp wood can cause mold. 

See Also: Does Alcohol Remove Paint?

Step 3: Sand Uneven Patches and Pressure Wash

To sand any uneven spots that you may perceive, use sandpaper. Once you’re through, utilize the shot-vac again to extract wood shavings.

If you want to pressure wash your deck, it’s good you do it on a warm, sunshiny day with less water vapor in the air to accelerate drying time.

1. Use Low Pressure

A pressure washer may make a weathered deck appear like new because it blows away dirt and discoloration. However, excessive pressure may destroy your deck. Therefore, ensure the setting is below 1500 pounds/square inch.

2. Ensure the Nozzle is Constantly Moving

Even a setting of 1500 lbs/psi may destroy softwood if you don’t take care. Therefore, don’t keep the pressure washer at one spot for a long time. Use lengthy sweeping strokes that overlap, starting from where the deck attaches to your house, and work your way out.

3. Don’t get too near

Hold the nozzle of the pressure washer at least 1 meter from the deck’s surface and work towards the wood grain. The pressure should be turned down to 1000 lbs/psi to clean railings and work from more than a meter away when spraying them in fast vertical strokes that overlap. 

Finally, there are various questions you should ask yourself on how to clean a deck before staining. Some of them are: See Also: pressure-treated wood deck sealer

How Do You Select The Right Cleaner?

There are numerous deck cleaners in the shops. Many contain one of the four chemicals below as the major ingredient. Each of them is effective for diverse stain types.

  • Hypochlorite Soda – It’s ideal in getting rid of mold but not efficient on grime or other stains. Rinse the deck completely after using this chemical as it may eat the wood, causing it to fuzz and gray prematurely.
  • Percarbonate Soda – It’s good in getting rid of grime, mold, and wood that has undergone weathering.
  • Oxalic Acid – Efficient at eradicating iron stains and brown-black tannins that commonly occur on cedar and redwood decks. However, it’s not effective on mold.
  • Sodium Hydroxide – It’s the primary ingredient in many finish lifters. Please don’t leave it on the deck for long as it may eat the wood away. 

How Long Should You Wait For A Deck To Dry Before Staining?

Usually, 48 hours is enough for a freshly washed deck. However, this also requires ideal drying conditions, like a sun-facing deck. If your deck is on the shadow side where there’s little or no light, you have to wait for 3 days before you can apply any stain.


Cleaning the deck is as crucial as washing your clothes, car, or your dog. Follow the steps above on how to clean a deck before staining. It’s essential to remove impurities that can damage wood and cause decay.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.