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How to Get Your Deck Sparkling Clean Without a Power Washer

How to Get Your Deck Sparkling Clean Without a Power Washer

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You want to be able to use your deck during the summer for many reasons. Some people like to have barbecues and parties on their decks.

Even just spending time on your deck enjoying the sunshine is a great thing. However, when your deck is really dirty, it’s not going to be as fun to be out there.

You might want to clean your deck, but if you don’t have a power washer you’re likely worried it’ll be a daunting task. How can you clean a deck without a power washer?

Keep reading to learn about the best ways to clean a deck without a power washer. This will ensure that you’re able to get your deck clean in time to enjoy it with friends while it’s nice outside.

Scrub the Deck with a Brush

Scrubbing the deck with a brush is going to be the most common way to clean it when you don’t have a power washer. A power washer would make the job a lot faster, but you can use some elbow grease to get things done.

The basic idea is to get a hard-bristled brush that you can use to scrub the deck. You’ll be using a deck brush to get the job done if you’re smart.

A smaller brush can be used and might be useful for certain spots, but you’ll be able to scrub the deck faster with a deck brush. Get the appropriate brush and then mix up a cleaning solution to start washing the deck.

You’ll likely want to use a standard hose to rinse the deck off once you’re done scrubbing it. It might take several hours of scrubbing to clean a large and truly dirty deck.

Having a power washer would cut down the time you spend doing the job. You’d be able to blast dirt and grime off of the deck instead of manually scrubbing it.

What Type of Cleaner Should You Use?

Most experts suggest mixing up your own cleaner. You can use a combination of detergent and bleach to get the job done nicely.

Get a large bucket and fill it until it’s half full with warm water. Next, pour washing detergent and bleach in the bucket.

Mix things up a bit before you start using the cleaner. When you’re ready, you want to saturate the deck with the cleaning mixture.

Let the mixture sit on the deck for approximately 10 minutes. You don’t want to let it stay on the deck for longer than 15 minutes.

Grab your deck brush and start scrubbing the stains on the deck. You should be able to remove the stains by putting some muscle into it.

When you’re done scrubbing the deck, grab your water hose. Use the hose to thoroughly rinse the deck to eliminate all traces of bleach.

You don’t want to leave bleach on the deck since it could discolor the wood. It could also cause some level of damage to the wood if you don’t do a thorough job rinsing the deck off.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Some types of decking might not tolerate the use of bleach very well. You’ll sometimes be better off using different types of cleaners.

If you have composite decking, it’s wise to use vinegar and baking soda to clean the deck. To do this, mix one-half of a cup of vinegar, one-fourth of a cup of baking soda, and one gallon of water in a bucket.

This creates a powerful cleaning agent that will help you to scrub the deck clean. It doesn’t matter if you use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar since you’ll get good results either way.

Pour the cleaning mixture on the deck when you’re ready. Some suggest that pre-rinsing the deck is a good idea since it’ll allow the cleaner to work better.

Either way, you’re going to pour the cleaner and then start scrubbing it into the deck. You should be able to remove mold and mildew stains with enough effort.

When you’re finished, you’ll rinse the deck using a standard garden hose. Rinse the deck as thoroughly as you can.

Using Commercial Cleaners

There are a number of different commercial cleaners that can help you to clean your deck. Many people choose to buy oxygen bleach products to get their decks clean.

Products such as this use a combination of things to cut through dirt and grime. They can be very useful when you’re trying to clean a deck that is very dirty.

This isn’t necessarily better than mixing up your own bleach cleaning solution, though. Some people might find having a commercial product more convenient, but it isn’t truly more effective.

It’s good to know that you can go out and buy what you need, though. Products such as this are great at cleaning wood siding as well.

Pressure Washers Aren’t Expensive

Does the above information sound like a lot of work to you? You aren’t alone in thinking that cleaning the deck sounds like a chore.

It can be a time-consuming process when you don’t have a pressure washer to utilize. Having a pressure washer would save you a lot of time and effort.

Consider buying a pressure washer if you want to maintain your deck easily. You might be avoiding buying one due to worrying about the cost.

Honestly, pressure washers aren’t that expensive when you get down to it. It’s easy to find a good pressure washer being sold at department stores for less than two hundred dollars.

Granted, some of the very best pressure washers are going to be more expensive than that. Even so, having a good and inexpensive pressure washer will serve you well.

You can use it to clean your deck each year so it’ll be ready to use. This keeps your deck looking as nice as possible for all of your summer parties.

You Can Rent Pressure Washers

What if you just don’t have the cash to buy a pressure washer right now? Is there anything you can do to get the job done without resorting to scrubbing the deck with a brush?

Yes, you can spend less money by renting a pressure washer instead. Many businesses rent out pieces of equipment that people can use when they need to handle home maintenance jobs.

A local hardware store or a big retail chain will be a good place to start. You can pay a nominal fee to rent a good pressure washer from a business.

This will allow you to get the job done in a short period of time. So long as you have a local business that will allow you to rent a pressure washer, it’s worth looking into.

Being able to get the job done so much faster is appealing. You’ll keep your deck looking nicer if you can just rent a pressure washer once or twice per year to clean it off.

What About Borrowing a Pressure Washer?

Do you have a friend who has a power washer? If you know someone who owns a pressure washer, they might be willing to let you borrow it.

Borrowing a pressure washer is a lot like renting one from a business. You’ll want to be careful while using it, but it’ll be very helpful to have while cleaning your deck.

A friend or family member might be willing to let you borrow what you need. Perhaps they will even come over to help you with the job if they’re so inclined.

Don’t feel as if your only option is to scrub the deck with a deck brush. There’s a good chance that you know someone who has a pressure washer that will help you out.

Of course, you don’t always want to be the friend that borrows tools all the time. It is a good idea to look into buying your own power washer when you have the spare cash.

How Often Should You Clean the Deck?

If you want to keep your deck looking nice, it’s going to be necessary to clean it regularly. You don’t have to clean it all the time, though.

In fact, you can get good results by simply cleaning the deck on an annual basis. Giving the deck a thorough cleaning once per year should be enough to keep it in great shape.

Many people clean their decks in the spring when the weather starts to get nice. It’s a good time for it since you’ll want the deck to be clean while you’re using it throughout the warm months of the year.

Set a loose schedule and try to stick to it each year. You can clean your deck every March or April depending on when the weather gets nice in your area.

Just ensure that it’s somewhat warm outside when you do the job. You want the temperatures to be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s also best to clean the deck when it’s dry outside. You don’t want the deck to be moist before you start nor do you want to have to deal with rain.

What About Concrete Decks?

Concrete decks are a lot different than standard wood or composite wood decks. They can have different problems than wood decks.

Stains will become a big issue under certain circumstances. Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of stains on concrete decks.

Below, you’ll learn about some common types of stains that you might have to deal with. This should allow you to get things taken care of the right way to keep your concrete deck looking fantastic.

How to Get Rid of Oil Stains

Having oil stains on your deck can be a real nuisance. Sometimes it’s difficult to get rid of such stains with standard methods.

Is there a reliable way to get rid of these stains that won’t be hard to do? So long as you have some kitty litter, you should be able to eliminate the stains.

Sprinkle kitty litter over the top of oil stains and then grind the litter into the stain using the soles of your boots. Allow the kitty litter to sit on the stain for a while.

Come back after an entire day has passed and check on things. Take the time to sweep away all of the kitty litter and the stain should be gone.

If the stain isn’t gone entirely, you can repeat the process. It should allow you to get rid of most stubborn oil stains on the deck.

What About Grease Stains?

Grease stains are actually fairly easy to remove. You will get a lot of grease stains if you use a barbecue grill on your deck.

Simply use laundry detergent to clean the stains up. Mix a bit of powdered laundry detergent with water to make a paste.

Apply the paste to the stain directly and then cover it up with plastic. You can use plastic wrapping that you would use for leftovers.

Tape the plastic down so that it doesn’t fly away. Now leave everything alone for an entire day.

After a day has passed, come back and scrub the stain with your deck brush. Now rinse the area with a hose and the grease stain should be gone.

Dealing with Crayon Stains

Kids love to play with crayons outside. Deck chalk or patio chalk is fine to use since it will easily wash away.

Sometimes kids might use crayons on the deck due to not knowing any better. Although this might be frustrating at first, it’s something that you can deal with.

Oil cleaners are your best bet when it comes to getting rid of these stains. Simply allow the oil cleaner to soak into the stained area of the concrete deck.

Eventually, you’ll need to scrub the area with a deck brush. This should allow you to remove the stain and everything will look fine once more.

Getting Rid of Algae Stains

Algae will sometimes be a problem depending on the conditions in your area. Having a concrete deck that has algae on it will not be pleasant.

Luckily, removing the algae is simple even if you don’t have a pressure washer. Vinegar will be able to kill and remove the algae.

Spray undiluted vinegar on the algae. It’ll kill it off and you can scrub everything clean in no time.

Another option is to use pool chlorine. Either way will work just fine.

Dealing with Pet Stains

Pets are great, but they will sometimes do things that will make you mad. For example, your dog might pee on your nice concrete deck and cause it to become stained over time.

Eliminating pet stains won’t be that hard. You’ll just want to use enzymatic cleaners that can break down protein.

To get the cleaners to work properly, it’s best to avoid diluting them. They should cut through the stains and make it easy to scrub things clean.

It could take several days for the stain to break down. Be patient and you’ll be able to get rid of pet stains on your concrete deck.

Mildew Issues

Mildew issues are every bit as annoying as algae. When you have mildew on your concrete deck, it’s going to make it look far less presentable.

To get rid of mildew, you can use the bleach and laundry detergent combination mentioned earlier. The same cleaning solution that you can use to clean a wooden deck will work wonders for eliminating mildew.

Simply apply the cleaning solution to the area of the deck that needs to be cleaned. You don’t want to leave it on so long that it dries out.

It just needs to set until it becomes white. At this point, you’re meant to rinse it off with a hose.

You can prevent mildew issues by ensuring that the deck gets enough natural sunlight. The sunlight prevents mildew from being able to grow.

Often, it’s necessary to move plants so that the sun can shine in certain spots better. It might require some adjustments, but it won’t be too bad overall.

Final Thoughts

It is indeed possible to clean a deck without having a power washer. Pressure washers are great and will make cleaning a deck very fast.

For many, it’ll be worth making the investment to be able to do the job quicker. Without a pressure washer, you’ll be applying a cleaning solution to the deck and scrubbing it with a deck brush.

This does require quite a bit more effort on your part. It’s less expensive to buy a deck brush than it is to buy a pressure washer, though.

Of course, you could decide to rent a pressure washer if you’re low on cash. It’s also possible to borrow pressure washers from friends.

Some people might not even want to do the cleaning job themselves. If you have enough cash to spend, you could hire a local business to clean your deck for you.

No matter what, you should clean your deck thoroughly once per year. This will keep it in good shape so that you can use it to the fullest while the weather is nice.


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