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How to Pressure Wash your Deck

Some people prefer to clean their deck quickly and efficiently through the use of a pressure washer. Though it’s an effective tool for cleaning, be aware that a pressure washer can cause damage if not used correctly.

Make sure you use the fan tip on your pressure washer as the wrong nozzle can damage wood and cause splintering and/or fraying.  Choose a setting less than 1500 lbs/psi and keep the nozzle constantly moving. Use overlapping, long sweeping strokes starting where the deck meets your home and working your way outward. Keep the nozzle 2 to 3 feet away from the deck surface and work in the direction of the wood grain. Reduce the pressure to below 1000 lbs/psi when cleaning the railing. Always engage the trigger away from the surface, and away from anything that it may harm, including windows and people.

The following steps will help you maintain your deck and safely and effectively clean it with a pressure washer.

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.


Pre-treat stains

  • Use a scrub brush to scour visible stains with your chosen cleaner (many available).
  • 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.

Prepare the pressure washer


  • Fill the soap dispenser with a cleanser formulated for pressure washers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Attach the low pressure soap-dispensing nozzle onto the tip of the pressure-washer wand. Some models have all-in-one adjustable nozzles that you change with a simple twist.


Be Safe


  • A pressure washer can cause injury so don long pants, sturdy footwear, and goggles.


  • Test the spray pattern, distance and pressure on a hidden area of the deck to make sure you do not damage the surface.

Distribute the cleaner


  • Power up the machine and distribute the cleaner all over the deck using long, overlapping strokes.


  • Use a stiff bristled brush to distribute the solution into tight corners and between deck balusters.
  • Allow cleaner to sit on the surface for the time suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Don’t allow the cleaner to dry.

Rinse the deck

    • Flush the cleaner from the pressure washer (see manufacturer’s instructions).


  • Switch to the widest spray nozzle.
  • Rinse the deck using long overlapping strokes.


    • Rinse the tarps you used to cover items and plants close to the deck


  • Turn the machine off and pull the trigger to release leftover pressure and drain the water line (see manufacturer’s instructions).


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. Your pressure washer will make the job quick and easy. 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