Due to constantly being exposed to outdoor elements, a wooden deck can take a beating. The sun can cause the wood to fade, while rain and snow can contribute to water spots, mildew and mold. Add dirt, dust, leaves, and sticks to the mixture and you can have quite a mess on your hands. While commercial deck cleaning products are widely available, one of the most effective ways to clean your deck is by using a homemade wooden deck cleaner. Oxygen bleach is effective at removing dirt, dust, stain and mildew from decks. Unlike chlorine-based bleach, it won't harm any landscaping that it might come into contact with during the rinsing process.
Fill a plastic bucket with a gallon of hot water. Add 1 cup of oxygen bleach to the water. For hard to remove stains or if mold is apparent on the deck, 2 cups per gallon of water should be added. Allow the oxygen bleach powder to naturally dissolve into the water. Do not swirl, stir or mix it, as this can cause it to splash onto your face. As it's dissolving, you will see it fizz. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.
Spray the deck with a hose to remove dirt, dust and residue. In lieu of a hose, a pressure washer can be used on the lowest setting, however, if your wood is old or has peeling paint, this can cause more damage.
Dip a nylon-bristled or synthetic-bristled scrubbing brush into the homemade wooden deck cleaner. To prevent scratching the deck, do not use a wire-based scrubbing object. Scrub the solution into any spots, stains, mold and mildew. Allow it to work into any stains for ten to fifteen minutes. As the mixture is exposed to air, it will begin foaming. This is a chemical process, indicating the chlorine-based bleach is eating away at the stain. Once the stains have been pretreated, use a deck mop to distribute the solution over the remainder of the deck, or continue using the scrubbing brush along the entire surface of the deck.
Allow the cleaning solution to work into the surface of the deck for approximately 20 minutes. Use a hose to spray away all of the foamy residue left behind from the homemade wooden deck cleaner. Chlorine-based bleach will not kill or affect your plants, grass, landscaping rocks, landscaping chips or concrete, regardless of whether it is unfinished or sealed and/or painted, eliminating the worries of harmful residue dripping from your deck.
Use a towel to soak up any large puddles so the water does not soak into the wood. Allow the remainder of the deck to air dry. If needed, repeat the cleaning process on any remaining spots or stains. The homemade wooden deck cleaner will last for approximately six hours, before a new mixture will need to be made. If you are unsure whether the mixture is still good, scrub a small amount into the wood. If the mixture bubbles or foams, it still has the ability to clean. If there is no bubbling action, make a new mixture.