How to Clean Dirty Wood Steps

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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How to Clean Dirty Wood Steps
Dirt and moisture may also attract mildew to wood steps. (ornate entry steps image by robert mobley from

All wood steps take a lot of abuse from the elements and dirty shoes, whether the steps are front porch steps or backyard deck steps. Eventually the dirt will make the steps look very grungy if you don't do something about it. In some cases, moss or mildew may even grow in the steps, making them hazardously slippery. Clean wood steps are more attractive, safer and less prone to rot.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Broom
  • Rubber gloves
  • Wood deck cleaner
  • Dish detergent
  • Bucket
  • Sponge mop
  • Scrub brush
  • Garden hose

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  1. 1

    Sweep the steps thoroughly with a broom to remove loose particles of debris. It doesn't matter what kind of broom you use as long as the bristles are sturdy enough to make a difference.

  2. 2

    Put on rubber gloves in preparation for mixing your cleaning fluid.

  3. 3

    Mix either a wood deck cleaner or simple dish detergent with warm water in a bucket. Use 1 tbsp of dish detergent per gallon of water; follow label directions for deck cleaner. If your steps are stained, you'll probably have more luck using the deck cleaner. For mildly dirty steps, however, dish detergent will do just fine.

  4. 4

    Apply the cleaner using a sponge mop. Wet the entire surface area of the steps.

  5. 5

    Scrub the steps with a scrub brush to remove stuck-on dirt and stains. Now use the mop again, dipped in the cleaning solution, on the steps.

  6. 6

    Rinse the steps by spraying them with water from your garden hose. Allow the steps to dry naturally.

Tips and warnings

  • If any staining remains after cleaning the steps this way, use a power washer. You can either buy one or rent one--check out hardware stores and home improvement stores for these rentals. Just make sure you follow all the directions on the washer--use a low-pressure setting and move the wand back and forth, rather than holding it so the water is concentrated on one area (high pressure can harm the wood if you don't keep the wand moving).

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