Cleaning Decking with Bleach: How to Do It? Is It OK for Your Deck?

One high-traffic area in your home is undoubtedly the wood deck. As a central outdoor gathering spot, it’s prone to accumulating dirt and grime. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain its appearance and longevity.

To mention some spilled food during that barbeque party, your canine fellow’s footsteps, or maybe your own muddy shoes after a rainy day – those may get the chance to make it dirty.

Let alone those uninvited elements like dust, leaves, pollen, etc. Well, cleaning your deck does not require costly, harsh detergent; even cleaning decking with bleach will do.

How to Cleaning Decking with Bleach

Some of you may have known OxiClean deck cleaner. OxiClean is a product that has sodium percarbonate as its main active ingredient. This one is pretty harsh but effective in removing tough stains. The claim is, it is a versatile cleaning product, and many love it.

cleaning decking with bleach

Although OxiClean has many advantages as an oxygen-based bleach, the greatest disadvantage is its price, which is pretty expensive for some people.

So, people will also consider the usefulness of chlorine-based bleach is another option to clean the deck. Of course, that comes with disadvantages as well. One of them is it may ruin the color of your deck if used extensively.

For cleaning a wood deck with bleach and water, especially when dealing with mold and mildew, follow these steps:

  1. “Mix one cup of oxygen bleach with a gallon of warm water in a bucket. For chlorine bleach, adjust the measurement as it is stronger.”
  2. “Use a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting to rinse the deck and loosen the dirt.”
  3. “Apply the bleach solution with a stiff bristle brush, scrubbing the deck boards gently to remove the dirt and grime. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes.”
  4. “Rinse the deck thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer to remove all bleach residue.”

Precautions for Pressure-Treated Decks

When cleaning pressure-treated decks, it’s important to use a gentle approach. Avoid high-pressure settings on pressure washers as they can damage the wood fibers. Instead, opt for a lower-pressure setting and use a soft bristle brush to apply the cleaning solution.

Cleaning Composite Decking with Bleach

Dirt on your composite decking may be troublesome. It is similar to those on a wooden deck. It also tempts you to clean it with bleach. However, is it a good decision to make?

Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to clean your composite decking with bleach. Whether oxygen-based or chlorine-based, Bleach should not be used in cleaning decking with bleach.

This is due to its harsh chemicals that can lead to permanent discoloration. Besides, your composite decking will be more prone to damage, and the chemicals eat away the structure.

Read also: Safety Equipment for Roofers

So, what should you do with dirty composite decking when cleaning it with mere water won’t dismiss the dirt?

Lucky you, composite decking is easy to clean with only soap and water. Hence, aside from using bleach, you are advised to prepare enough soap, water, and a brush to remove that lingering dirt. Soap will not damage this decking as the chemical ingredients are lighter than bleach.

How to Clean a Stained Deck?

Cleaning a stained deck should be done through this procedure:

  1. First, know what your deck is made of. It is important to know what kind of cleaner will suit your deck. A suitable cleaner will not damage and discolor your deck. To know that, you may find useful information online.
  1. After knowing what your stained deck is made of, the next on your to-do list is to prepare the cleaning tool and the solution itself. Let’s say you use only soap and water for your composite decks or OxiClean cleaner for your wooden deck.
  1. You should learn how much is considered safe for your deck using OxiClean or other kinds of cleaner with harsh material. Use personal protective equipment, at least gloves.
  1. Now get yourself (or your family members) ready! Cleaning the deck should be a fun thing to do, especially If it’s done together.

Read also: How to Build a Metal Roof Over a Deck

Oil-Based Stains and Bleach

For decks with oil-based stains, extra care is needed when using bleach. Bleach can strip away the oil, leaving the wood vulnerable. It’s advisable to test the bleach solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the stain or the wood itself.

So, that is some information about how to clean decking with bleach. To sum it up, using bleach to clean your dirty deck is allowed, but remember that not all deck materials can deal with the harsh chemicals that your daily bleach offers.

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RoofLast is an experienced author and roofing expert. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects of roofing, including installation, maintenance, and repair