A beautifully painted deck is your personal oasis of relaxation and the perfect place to entertain friends and family. It’s the perfect setting for hosting summer barbecues, relaxing with a good book, or watching the sunset after a long day.
But as time goes by and life happens, weather, dirt, and grime can steal away your deck’s sparkle. Realizing that your deck is losing its vibrancy will leave you wondering how to restore your masterpiece’s original luster without undoing all your hard work. In other words, how do you clean a painted deck without stripping that lovely paint job?
Fortunately, with the right tools and know-how, you can revitalize your painted deck while preserving its artistic charm. Keep reading to learn how to have your painted deck look brand new again while leaving the paint fully intact.
Use the Right Cleaning Tools
The wrong cleaning tools can do more damage than good to your painted deck. Knowing what to use is essential for preserving your painted surfaces without causing any damage. Here are some of the tools you will need:
A Long-Handled Soft-Bristled Brush
A long-handled, soft-bristled brush helps you reach even those hard-to-reach spots without bending or straining your back too much. Its soft bristles are also gentle enough on the deck surface so that they won’t cause any scratches or gouges.
With a soft-bristled brush, you can ensure your painted deck retains its beautiful appearance while providing adequate protection against wear and tear. Its long handle gives you improved control and precision when scrubbing and wiping away dirt, debris, and grime.
You might wonder whether you can use a mop, sponge, or soft cloth instead of a soft-bristled brush. While that might work, it will take much longer and won’t get the job done. Furthermore, the slivers, edges, and gaps on the deck may tear up the sponge or cloth, making it less effective and far more time-consuming.
A Garden Hose With Sprayer Attachment
A garden hose with a sprayer attachment is an invaluable tool in the battle against dirt and grime. The sprayer will loosen any stubborn debris stuck to the deck surface. Its pressurized water can loosen and dislodge dirt, debris, and grime stuck on your deck’s surface.
The sprayer will help you direct water to the areas that need attention without using too much water. Besides removing debris, you’ll need a garden hose for rinsing away soap and other cleaning solutions.
The adjustable settings ensure that you can customize the pressure and flow of the water depending on how tough the job is or how delicate the surface is. The ease of control will make sure you don’t apply too much pressure, which can damage the painted deck.
Choose the Right Cleaning Solution
It’s essential to pick the right cleaner for your painted deck to avoid damaging the paint or wood underneath. Here are some cleaning solutions that you can use safely on painted decks:
Liquid Dish Soap
Liquid dish soap is an effective way to clean a painted deck without damaging the paint. It’s designed to be gentle on surfaces yet powerful enough to remove dirt and grime from difficult-to-clean nooks and crannies.
Unlike many other types of cleaners, it also won’t leave behind harsh chemicals or residues that might damage the paint job on your deck. Additionally, liquid dish soap typically does not contain abrasive ingredients like acids or bleach, making it safer for children and pets. To use liquid dish soap, mix a gallon of warm water with about two ounces of liquid soap.
Store-Bought Deck Cleaners
You can find a wide range of specialized deck cleaners in stores, such as Star Brite non-skid deck cleaner and Simple Green pressure washer cleaners. These are usually formulated to be safe for use on wood and painted surfaces, so they won’t damage your paint job.
Most store-bought deck cleaners come with instructions that you need to follow to get the right results. Read them thoroughly before applying the cleaner, and follow all safety instructions.
Oxygen bleach will kill mold and mildew on your painted deck without damaging the paint. It is a great alternative to chlorine bleach, which can damage painted surfaces. Oxygen bleaches are usually derived from hydrogen peroxide and other natural ingredients, making them far safer and less toxic than traditional chlorine-based bleaches.
To use oxygen bleach on your deck, mix one part oxygen bleach with four parts warm water. While oxygen bleach is gentler than chlorine bleach, it can be harsh on some types of wooden decks, such as redwood, cedar, and cherry.
So before using it, research to see if the oxygen bleach suits your deck. You can test the bleach solution on an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire deck.
Avoid Vinegar and Ammonia Cleaning Solutions
It’s best to avoid using vinegar and ammonia-based cleaning solutions when cleaning a painted deck. Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner, but it can be too harsh for use on a painted deck. The acidic nature of vinegar can strip away the paint and leave behind unsightly stains.
Similarly, ammonia is also too harsh for use on a painted deck. Ammonia-based cleaners are known to cause fading and discoloration of the paint over time.
Prepare Your Cleaning Area
Before cleaning your painted deck, prepare the area by removing everything on, near, and under the deck. Here are a few things you should do:
Clear the Deck and Its Surrounding
Remove any furniture, grills, toys, potted plants, and other portable items from the deck. If there is anything underneath your deck, such as furniture or other items, remove that too. Clearing will give you plenty of room to work and protect your belongings from getting wet or damaged.
Cover Up Nearby Plants
Protect the plants near your deck by covering them with plastic tarp or sheeting. This step will prevent any cleaning solution or debris from getting on the plants and damaging them.
Sweep the Deck
Sweep away any dirt, leaves, and other debris from the deck before you start cleaning. You can use a leaf blower or a broom for this task.
Once you’re done sweeping, use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dust or debris that remains on the deck, or rinse it off with a garden hose. Sweeping and vacuuming will help ensure that your cleaning solution can penetrate the nooks and crannies of your painted deck without getting obstructed by dirt particles.
Check the Deck for Damages
Before cleaning, look for deck problems such as loose nails, warping, cracking, peeling, blistering, or fading in the paint. If you find any of these issues, fix them before cleaning your deck to avoid worsening the problem. Hammer down the nails, sand any rough spots, and repaint if necessary.
Follow the Right Cleaning Procedure
Once your deck is clear, it’s time to start the cleaning process. Follow these steps for the best results:
Wet the deck: Start by lightly wetting the deck with a garden hose. The purpose of this step is to prevent the cleaning solution from drying too quickly before it has a chance to do its job.
Apply the cleaning solution: Pour the cleaning solution of your choice onto the deck and spread it around using a broom or a soft-bristled brush. Ensure that the solution covers every part of the deck.
Scrub the deck gently: Scrub the deck in small circular motions to remove dirt and grime. If an area has mildew or mold, you should spend more time scrubbing it using a brush with stiffer bristles.
Rinse the deck: Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse off the cleaning solution with a garden hose or a pressure washer set to low pressure. Rinse away all residue from the cleaning solution so it doesn’t discolor or damage your painted deck. Allow the deck to dry completely before applying a sealant or a protective coating.
Pressure Wash With Care
If you want to clean your deck quickly, you can use a pressure washer. While this is an option, you should proceed with caution since a pressure washer can damage your painted deck.
Always use a pressure washer with a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least eight to ten inches away from the deck’s surface. Also, move the pressure washer in a sweeping motion to avoid concentrating too much pressure on any area.
You should also avoid using a narrow nozzle since it might pump out too much pressure to strip the paint from your deck. The fan spray setting should also be wide to prevent the pressure from damaging your painted deck. If done correctly, pressure washing can help you achieve a deep clean on your painted deck while preserving its appearance.
Clean Your Painted Deck the Right Way
With all the action your painted deck sees daily, it can get pretty dirty. However, you don’t have to resort to stripping the paint off your deck to get it clean. Simply following the right cleaning steps and using the right products can help make your painted deck look new.
If you feel that your deck could use some professional scrubbing, reach out to Advantage Pro Services for expert deck cleaning services. Our team has 20 years of experience offering deck cleaning and other pressure washing services to Houston homes and businesses. Check out our full list of home maintenance services to learn how we can help you clean and maintain your surfaces.