What household products can I use to clean my wood deck?

deck image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com

When it's time to clean your home's wooden deck, you don't have to purchase an expensive commercial cleaner or use a toxic cleaner to get the job done. Regular household products can remove dirt and debris from your deck just as quickly as products designed for wooden decks. Household products are also inexpensive and available from a variety of merchants and online outlets.


Regular washing powder, as well as dish washing detergent, can wash your deck just as effectively as a commercial deck cleaner. Mix the detergent with equal parts warm water and pour it on to your deck. Scrub the solution with a long-handled brush and then rinse the decking with water from a water hose. Detergents work on sealed and unsealed wood.

Oxygen Bleach Cleaners

Oxygen cleaners contain a bleach component that can break up caked-on dirt and debris on your decking. The cleaners also remove dirt from wooden spindles and accessories on your decking. Follow any recommendations on the oxygen bleach cleaner's container, and mix the cleaner with warm water to activate it. When using oxygen cleaners, work in sections to keep the cleaner solution from drying out. Oxygen bleach cleaners work on unsealed wood decking and accessories. Use caution when using the cleaner on sealed decking; test in a hidden spot for discolouration.

Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP, is a household and general purpose product found at hardware and home improvement stores that's also a degreaser. TSP removes dirt and grime quickly without the hassle of excessive. Apply the cleaner in sections. Let it stand for 20 minutes, and then rinse your decking with a water hose to remove the cleaner and debris. Note, TSP is a strong cleaner and you need to wear rubber gloves, safety goggles and a nose mask. TSP works on sealed and unsealed wood.


Bleach is a household product that works on both sealed and unsealed decks but also removes any colour or stain on the decking. Use caution when applying bleach to your decking and dilute the chemical with warm water to minimise its discolouration attribute. Bleach actually doesn't clean the wood but just lightens it. Use the chemical along with dish washing or washing powder to aid in breaking down debris and cleaning your decking.

Mold Removal Tips

If removing mould from a wood deck made out of sealed wood, also known as pressure treated wood, use a soap and water mixture to break up the mould. Let the wood dry completely before applying the solution if the decking was recently wet. For unsealed decking, use a oxygen bleach cleaner or a detergent/bleach solution to break up the mould. Rinse your decking thoroughly with water from a water hose after the cleaning process is complete. Also, when cleaning your wood decking, cover any grass and landscaping under and around the decking with plastic sheeting to keep the cleaning solutions off of the foliage.

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