How to clean decking without a pressure washer

There’s nothing quite like a long day lounging in the garden on your deck. It’s a simple addition that makes any home feel like the Love Island villa but wooden decking is notable for being a pain to wash after the colder months bring with it plenty of grime. Pressure washing usually does the job in minutes, but not everyone is lucky enough to own one.

With machines setting you back hundreds, or even thousands, it’s not always an option for people to just reach for the pressure washer.

As well as this, it’s actually not great for the wood’s maintenance if it’s constantly being pressure washed.

But cleaning your deck is crucial for maintaining the wood as permanent stains can start to develop, the wood becomes cracked, and in some cases even mould and mildew will show up.

All of this happens due to the fact that garden decking is exposed to all kinds of weather conditions.
The surface also gets affected by the sun, drowned by the spring rains, suffers from wet autumn leaves, and the freezing cold temperatures of winter won’t do it any favours too

Worst of all, if you don’t take care of this area of your garden, it will start to dry rot, which no one wants.

What will you need to clean the decking?

The supplies you’ll need to clean your wooden decking are:

  • A broom
  • A garden hose
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Vinegar
  • A general detergent
  • A wood deck cleaning product
  • Trisodium Phosphate

How to prepare your decking for cleaning

Firstly, make sure to move any outdoor furniture, pots, toys and so on, as you need to have a clear working space.

Protect any flowers planted near the deck with a plastic cover. This step is necessary because the chemicals you are going to use can potentially kill your plant-friends.

Grab the broom and sweep up all of the dirt on the deck, before rinsing clean with a garden hose, repeating until your decking is sparkling (or as much as it can be!)

How to clean your decking without a pressure washer

Prepare a mixture of oxygen bleach and detergent

Get yourself a bucket, fill it up with warm water and add a 1:1 ratio of both oxygen bleach and cleaning agent.

Pour the solution on top of the mouldy stains, wait 15 minutes, scrub the treated area with a broom and then rinse with cold water and you are done.

Use a general wood deck cleaner

If the area of your decking is only mildly dirty, a general cleaning solution will do the job.

To make it, get a bucket, pour 4 litres of water and stir up 250ml of laundry detergent in it. Apply the mixture on top of the deck and work it into its surface with your broom.

Let the solution sit there for about 10 minutes and rub it in with the broom once more before getting your garden hose out to rinse the deck of the solution.

An easy general maintenance vinegar spray

If you are looking for a cheap, quick and easy way to keep your deck looking good, this DIY vinegar spray is the way to go, but do note that this method is not suitable for heavy-duty cleaning, just for general upkeep.

Measure out 500ml of white vinegar and pour into a container filled with warm water.

Treat your deck with the solution and let it do its magic for around 10 minutes, grabbing a stiff brush to work the mixture into the wood.

After you are done, wash the area with cold water to get rid of any residue.

Trisodium Phosphate

If you are on the lookout for a cleaning method that will really transform your deck, TSP is your best bet.

Mix 125ml of TSP with 7L of warm water and stir well. Add a splash of oxygen bleach to address any mould or mildew spots.

Spread the solution on the deck and work it in with your broom.

Leave it to sit for 10 minutes and wash the area with cold water, repeating the rinsing process until all of the TSP residue is gone.

How to maintain the decking

After you’ve cleaned the deck to the point at which it looks perfectly clean, you have still a bit more work to do if you’d rather spare yourself the task of repeating the whole process.

Applying a protective product on top of the deck will not only help you avoid future heavy-duty cleaning, but you’ll expand the deck’s life as well.

Once you’ve let the protective agent completely dry out, you can start using your shiny new deck again!