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Article by Michael A / January 25th, 2023

How to clean a deck with bleach

Out of the 990,000 single-family households built in 2020, about 19.3% had decks. Decks not only increase your home’s value but also expand your living space and enhance its aesthetic. There’s only one downside to owning a deck: cleaning it.

Since your deck sits outside, it’s mostly covered in dust, with mold and algae growing on the sides. Cleaning your deck is grueling and time-consuming, but it could be much faster if you do it correctly.

Today’s post is a comprehensive guide on how to clean your deck with bleach. So, let’s get started.

Step 1: The Preparation

The first thing you want to do is prepare for the task. The preparation phase involves gathering all the required materials and recruiting an extra workforce if necessary. For the equipment, you’ll need the following:

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • A garden hose
  • A bucket
  • A broom
  • Deck brush

As for supplies, you’ll need the following:

  • Bleach (chlorine or oxygen)
  • Water
  • Ammonia-free liquid soap
  • Paint stick

You can get the above from your local hardware store, but you probably have most, if not all, of them at home.

Step 2: Get Rid of Everything on the Deck

The deck is an excellent relaxing spot while enjoying the sunshine and outside breeze. There’s probably a lot of furniture and other stuff on your deck. You’ll want to remove all of it before you get down to business. If you have a lot of stuff on your deck, consider getting help from friends and family.

While you’re at it, you might want to inspect your deck quickly. With continued use, decks are prone to wear and tear. Take this opportunity to check your deck for any damage so you can take the appropriate steps to repair and get it back to tip-top shape.

Step 3: Loose Surface Dirt and Debris

If you’re like most people, your deck is probably littered with dust and debris from the surrounding trees. Using your broom, gently sweep the dust and leaves from your deck. Don’t worry about getting rid of all of it; you’ll do so a little later.

Next, take your garden hose and spray water onto your deck to loosen the dirt and dust clumps. Hoses with pressurized attachments work better but don’t blast your deck with too much pressure, or you could discolor it. Spraying your deck with medium pressure will give the best results.

Step 4: Remove the Dirt and Algae

Dirt and algae are the main culprits behind your filthy deck. To remove them, you’ll need a little help from the bleach. Start by mixing 5 gallons of water in a bucket with 2 cups (about 400 g) of oxygen bleach or 2 and ½ cups of liquid chlorine bleach. The thumb rule is ½ cup of chlorine bleach for every gallon of water and ⅖ cups of oxygen bleach for the same amount.

Stir the mixture with your deck brush until it’s homogeneous. Generously spread the solution over your entire deck and scrub for about five minutes to form lather. Next, let the lather rest for another five minutes, but don’t let it dry out. Doing so allows it to absorb the algae and dust from your deck. After that, rinse the deck with your garden hose to remove the dirt and algae.

Wear your safety goggles and gloves while mixing bleach with warm water. Bleach is an irritant that may cause itchiness and burning if it gets on your skin. Also, rinse all the lather away before leaving your deck to dry.

Step 5: Remove Mold and Mildew Stains

Even after scrubbing, your deck may not be as clean as desired due to mildew stains. Warm water and bleach alone may not be effective in removing these stains. To remove them, use a thick paste of bleach solution or regular detergent in the cleaning process.

Add a few drops of water to a tablespoon of oxygen bleach powder. Mix the two until it forms a thick paste. Apply the paste to areas with mold and mildew stains and leave it for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing it off.

Alternatively, you can use borax, a powdery white substance that effectively removes tough stains. Just pour a cup of borax into your water and bleach solution and scrub away.

Step 6: Air Dry Your Deck

With that out of the way, you can take a short nap and wait for your deck to dry. As mentioned, ensure that you rinse thoroughly, so you don’t leave even a bit of lather on the deck. This could leave ugly white spots, but you can remove them by simply wiping them with a wet cloth.

After your deck dries out, you can get all the furniture back on your deck and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can even host a barbecue dinner party to celebrate your hard work.

What to Know Before Cleaning Your Deck

Cleaning your deck is a cakewalk, but missteps during cleaning could jeopardize your efforts. Here are a few noteworthy things to remember before cleaning your deck.

Don’t Use Too Much or Avoid Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is good for cleaning your deck, but only in the right amounts. Mixing chlorine bleach into the solutions mentioned above could lead to the release of harmful gasses. Chlorine bleach also leaves white spots and could destroy the lignin in your wooden deck, leaving it fuzzy. However, using the right amount of chlorine bleach won’t destroy your deck but clean it and kill the mold.

Avoid the Pressure Washer

If you own a pressure washer, you might be tempted to use it to clean your deck. After all, it’s the go-to option for quick outdoor clean-ups and gets the job done. However, the pressure from a pressure washer might be too much for your deck.

The extreme pressure might discolor your paint and raise the wood fibers, giving your deck a fuzzy appearance. Unless that’s what you’re going for, you should let your pressure washer sit this one out.

Should I Hire a Professional to Clean My Deck?

Deck-cleaning ranks high among the most arduous household chores anyone could do. If you’re feeling a bit lazy or aren’t up to the task, you should consider hiring professional cleaners. Here are a couple of reasons why doing so is a good idea:

For Safety Reasons

Handling dangerous cleaning agents like bleach seriously risks your health and safety. To be safe, hire professionals to do the dirty work. In doing so, you can safeguard your health and safety and still have a squeaky-clean deck.

Saves You Time and Effort

Cleaning your deck could work up a sweat and waste a lot of time. Professionals can save you the time and trouble of doing so. That way, you can focus on more important stuff other than cleaning your deck.

Better Results

Let’s face it, cleaning your deck isn’t exactly something you look forward to. It’s a lot of work, and you’ll likely feel lazy and unmotivated. The result is a half-baked cleaning job with a slightly less dirty deck.

If you want your deck to remain spick and span, then professional cleaners are your best bet. They come with state-of-the-art equipment, years of experience, and they guarantee a superb job. So if you want thorough deck cleaning, then professional cleaners are your best bet.

To Sidestep Damage

It’s not uncommon to use the wrong equipment and supplies when cleaning your deck. This could do a lot of damage to your deck, damage that sometimes costs a bundle to repair.

A great way to avoid this damage is by hiring professionals. With years of experience and unmatched skill, they can clean your deck without scratch or scuff. If they happen to damage your deck, they’ll be more than happy to foot all the repair bills.

Saves You Money on Equipment and Supplies

Rather than purchasing and maintaining your own cleaning tools, the professionals bring their equipment and supplies, allowing you to focus on other things. By hiring the pros, you’ll enjoy a spotless deck without the added expense of buying your equipment. So, don’t waste your money on buying cleaning tools and supplies; hire the experts, and you will be sure to see the results worth every penny you pay.

To Protect the Environment

Lack of knowledge and improper cleaning techniques lead to a lot of water wastage and the usage of chemicals that harm the environment during deck cleaning. Most professionals use environmentally-conscious cleaning methods with non-toxic chemicals to safeguard the environment. Hiring professional cleaners is necessary if you have a soft spot for nature and the environment.

Cleaning a Deck With Bleach Simplified!

While cleaning your deck with bleach isn’t rocket science, it requires considerable time and effort. The information above should help you seamlessly clean your deck for a spotless and inviting deck. Remember, if you’re not up to the task, you could always hire a professional to do it for you.

At Advantage Pro Services, we pride ourselves on providing top-tier cleaning services for households across Houston and surrounding areas. Contact us today, and we’ll ensure your deck is spotless in no time.

FAQS

Can I wash my deck with bleach?

You can wash your deck with bleach, but only with the right kind. Chlorine is a major constituent of bleach (sodium hypochlorite), which makes bleach an excellent cleaning agent. However, it would be best to avoid calcium hypochlorite (also bleach), which is more potent and could damage your washing equipment and destroy nearby organic matter. Both sodium and hypochlorite leave a whitish residue after cleaning if used in excess.

Only 2% of your cleaning solution should consist of bleach to avoid white spots and damaging your deck and nearby plants. Of course, you can always opt for oxygen bleach, which is less harsh but requires more of it to clean sufficiently. But you should only worry about bleach destroying the wood on your deck if you use untreated wood. 

Can I bleach my deck before staining it?

You can, but bleaching alone won’t be sufficient to prepare your deck for staining. Bleaching is a cleaning agent, so slathering bleach on your deck and expecting it to clean itself up is ridiculous. You’ll still have to do some gentle cleaning and remove the dust, mold, and algae from your deck.

Can I clean wood with bleach?

Yes, you can clean wood with both chlorine and oxygen bleach. Bleach helps remove and kill mold in the wood. You see, wood contains tiny spaces, or pores, where mold and other fungi grow. Bleach penetrates these pores to kill the mold. While household detergents and soaps can clean wooden surfaces, they’re not enough to kill mold and fungi.

How do I clean a wood deck with bleach?

To clean your wooden deck with bleach, mix ½ a cup of bleach with every gallon of warm water in a bucket. Pour the solution on your deck and brush it using a deck brush until it’s clean before rinsing it. Later, use a water and detergent solution to remove any stubborn stains and rinse the deck with clean water.

Remember, it’s never a good idea to mix bleach with other detergents because it could react with enzymes and fluorescents in the detergent. This reaction could make the detergent less effective and compromise its cleaning ability. A better approach would be to clean first with bleach, then follow up with the detergent solution.

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