How to Clean and Maintain a Wooden Deck - Econo Decks - Decks and Fence Services - Featured Image

How to Clean and Maintain a Wooden Deck

A deck can add beauty and value to your home, but only if it’s in good shape. Fortunately, you can extend the life of your wooden deck to 20 years or more by caring for it properly.

Wood is a porous material. It expands and contracts as temperatures vary allowing dirt and grime to work their way into its structure. Over time your deck will develop stains, cracks, splinters, mold and mildew. If ignored too long, your deck will become an eyesore and it may begin to rot, warp, and deteriorate. Cleaning your deck regularly will give it a fresh look and enable you to note and deal with maintenance problems before they become serious. So, sweep your deck weekly and give it a thorough clean once a year. Follow these steps.

Inspect and sweep

  • Remove everything from your deck; chairs, tables, umbrella, planters, barbecue, etc.
  • Check the flashing and ledger board where your deck is connected to your home. Tighten any loose screws. Note the condition of the planks, joists, beams and posts. If you notice rotting or warping, immediately repair the affected section. Note any areas with mildew, mold or algae.
  • Sweep the surface of the deck, the railings, and the underside. Use a long handled brush with stiff bristles or a push broom. Remove as much surface dirt, dust and debris as you can. Extract any dregs trapped between the deck boards using a slender tool. A screw driver works well.
  • Spread tarps to protect nearby plants and items below your deck.

Choose a deck cleaning solution.

  • Purchase a wood cleaner or a specialized deck cleaner from a hardware store. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label.
  • Or, try one of these home-made solutions:
    • Add 1 cup of oxygenated bleach to 2 gallons hot water. This solution is environmentally friendly and will remove tough stains and ground-in dirt.
    • If your laundry detergent contains sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate (see the ingredient list on the detergent bottle/box) then you can mix it with hot water and use it as your deck cleaner.
    • Mix equal parts hot water with white vinegar. Add baking soda. The vinegar will kill bacteria and fungus and the baking soda deodorizes and refreshes.

Pre-treat stains

  • Use a scrub brush to scour visible stains with the cleaner you’ve chosen.
  • Treat areas where you noticed mildew or mold with a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. Allow the solution to sit from 5 to 15 minutes. Scrub with a brush.


  • Spread your chosen cleaner over the entire deck.
  • Using your long handled brush or push broom, begin at one end of the deck and work your way across the surface. Scrub with the grain of the wood.
  • Pay special attention to corners or crevices. If the broom is too large for these areas, use a small sponge.
  • Pay particular attention to areas with stains.
  • Scrub the railing and stairs.


  • Use the garden hose and rinse thoroughly
  • Rinse the tarps you used to cover items and plants close to the deck

Let it dry 

  • Refrain from putting anything back on the deck until it is thoroughly dry.

Inspect again

  • Check again for loose screws and popped nails. Repair them.
  • If a stain is still visible, scrub the area again using your cleaning solution. Rinse. Let dry.

Seal the deck (optional)

  • Apply a wood sealer to your deck. Look for a waterproof coating that also resists mildew and UV damage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Return all articles to your deck and ENJOY!


Cleaning your deck will give it a fresh look and help maintain the integrity of the wood making your deck last longer. Take the time to look after your deck so you may enjoy it for many years.

For all your deck questions and needs choose the Calgary based deck experts, Econo Decks. From simple upgrades to complete renovation to new builds, Econo Decks is committed to providing the best quality work for their customers. Call Econo Decks at 403-768-0151 or email us at or