Wood Deck Cleaning and Staining Tips

A wood deck needs to be cleaned regularly and refinished with a deck stain or sealer every few years to protect the wood from the sun’s UV rays, mold and mildew, rain, and other weather conditions. Here’s how to go about it.

How to Clean and Finish a Wood Deck:

  • Wet down and/or cover any plants.
  • Put on protective clothing, goggles, and rubber gloves.
  • Apply a deck cleaning solution, or a mixture of diluted bleach and detergent (1 qt. bleach to 3 qt. water plus 1/4 cup laundry detergent that doesn’t contain ammonia), in a garden sprayer to the deck.
  • Allow the cleaning solution to remain on the wood for the recommended time for deck cleaner and 15 to 20 minutes for diluted bleach.
  • Use a pressure washer or stiff bristle deck brush to remove any mold, dirt, and grime.
  • Rinse the deck thoroughly with water from a garden hose.
  • Allow the wood to dry before applying deck stain or sealer.
  • Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: People are always asking me, how can I make my old deck look more like a new one?

Well, the first step is cleaning away all the grime. Apply a deck cleaning solution or a mild bleach detergent mix to the surface with a pump-up garden sprayer. Within minutes, this will loosen the mildew and dirt that cover the wood.

Next, use a pressure washer to blast the crud off of the surface and out of the pores of the wood. Now, it’s important to use care with a pressure washer because it’s concentrated power, and it can easily damage or gouge the wood if you get it too close or you keep it in one spot for very long. Maintain a safe consistent distance from the wood and work slowly to avoid any streaks.

When the wood is thoroughly clean and dry, you can apply a clear sealer or a deck stain. Color or no color is a matter of personal preference, but it’s important that you seal the pores of the wood to keep out moisture that amplifies the expansion and contraction of the wood. That creates cracks and reduces the life of your deck.


  1. I believe once you showed a product that you just spray on and leave…it was a deck cleaner…kills mold…what was it

  2. just completed getting my redwood deck ready for staining, will be using the soycote stain. i have several small cracks openings in the planks would like to fill them. my friend used bond and it did not work well for him. what would you suggest the best filler would be for this and would take the stain??
    thank you

    • Hi, Charles,
      Please provide more information so we can understand the issue.
      What is soycote stain? We’re not familiar with this product and an internet search resulted in zero findings. Is the product name spelled correctly?

  3. The product you used for killing the molds, Is it conventional sprayer? Would you please share the description as I’m in love with it. The technique you have used is very unconventional and never seen any person doing this way. I appreciate that 🙂

  4. Best way to remove latex type paint/stain on a 20 year old cedar wood walk way with railings/spindles which is in very good condition. We would like to revisit with stain or paint which ever you would advise.
    We live close to Green Bay, WI where we have a full four season climate.
    Thank you

    • Hi, Tom!
      We’re always looking for homeowners to call into our radio show and ask questions directly to Danny and Joe. We’ve reviewed your question and shared it with our radio producer.
      Take care. 🙂


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