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How do I Remove Deck Stains?

By Jodee Redmond
Updated May 17, 2024
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To remove deck stains, you will need to give the area a thorough cleaning first. This is a good spring project, since there will be dirt and debris left over after the snow melts away in your yard. The first thing you will need to do is clear off the deck area so that you can see the entire surface that you want to clean.

Take a broom and sweep the deck thoroughly. Sweeping will loosen the dirt from the surface of the deck. Some things that you may think are deck stains can be removed using this method.

Once the deck has been swept thoroughly, the next step in removing deck stains is to clean the surface. If you have a wooden deck, you can use a mild detergent-and-water solution for this purpose. Some people have decks made from other materials, and you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning them. If you aren't sure what type of cleaner to use, contact a home improvement store to ask what they would recommend.

Some people recommend using chlorine bleach or trisodium phosphate (TSP) to clean deck stains. Both of these products are very powerful cleansers, but they do present a problem when it comes to the environment. If a mild cleanser, such as a "green" laundry soap will take care of deck stains, then it is a better choice than a harsh cleaner. Take a long-handled broom and use some elbow grease to remove deck stains. It may take a little longer than if you used a harsh cleanser, but it is the more responsible choice.

You can use a hose with a nozzle attached to it to rinse off the deck once you are done scrubbing it thoroughly. The force of a power sprayer may be too strong if you are trying to clean off a wooden deck, since it may remove the top layer of the deck surface along with the dirt. Once you have rinsed off the deck surface thoroughly, you will need to let it dry.

Examine your deck in a day or two, once it has had a chance to dry, to see if there are any deck stains that need further attention. If there are, you can clean these areas again with a brush to try to loosen the stain. Remember to rinse thoroughly afterward and let the deck dry before re-inspecting the area. Applying a wood preservative to the deck will help to protect against deck stains and keep it looking good for years to come.

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Discussion Comments
By anon76087 — On Apr 08, 2010

Someone should have mentioned what kind of stain one is trying to remove. Oil based stains require some sort of soap, like TSP, but one must thoroughly remove the TSP if the deck is in partial shade or Mold and mildew will arrive because TSP is an excellent growth stimulator.

As for chlorine, I use it a lot on siding, decks and walkways for mold and mildew. I put bleach into a hand sprayer and put it on undiluted. Works great but if you are working overhead, wear a mask and goggles. I have also caused damage with power sprayers. Peace, Bob

By anon75772 — On Apr 07, 2010

Power washing wooden decks is possibly the worst way to tackle these problems.

By anon75682 — On Apr 07, 2010

To the commenter in comment #3, a power washer was mentioned. See the mention of the power sprayer in the next-to-last paragraph.

I know from personal experience that that is a risky option. Both my deck and my driveway have permanent gouges from a strong power washer. It can be used but you must exercise extreme caution.

By anon75406 — On Apr 06, 2010

This was not very helpful. I would have expected a power washer to be mentioned at least.

By anon75257 — On Apr 06, 2010

I use the Ron Hazelton's (HouseCalls) method of doing my deck.

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