Removing Stains from a Wood Deck

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 20, 2022)

Considered by most people a low maintenance alternative to a concrete patio, a wood deck can add value to your home, while being aesthetically pleasing with its warm color tones. However, since wood is porous, it is susceptible to staining. I inadvertently left a kitchen towel on my wood deck floor one entire winter, concealed under a mound of snow. Although I removed the towel when the snow melted, the stain left behind on the wood evidenced that it had been there all winter. Even the best wood stains and sealers fade and thin over time, resulting in stains to your wood deck. Follow these guidelines to remove stains from your wood deck:

  • Sweep the deck to remove loose debris and dirt.
  • Use your garden hose to wash away remaining dust and dirt.
  • Do not use a power sprayer to wash your deck, since the force may damage the wood's surface. If the deck is still dirty after you wash it with the garden hose, use a stiff brush to remove stubborn dirt, and then rinse it away.
  • Allow the deck to dry, and then inspect for stains. Stains will appear as dark discolorations.
  • Try first a non-bleach cleaner to remove the stain. Use a large bucket to mix one gallon of warm water with 1/2 scoop of OxiClean. Apply the mixture to the stain, agitating for a few minutes with a stiff brush, then allow it to stand for about thirty minutes and rinse thoroughly.
  • If the stain persists, use a wood cleaning product available at your local home improvement store. Most prepackaged wood deck cleaning products are formulated with detergent built in. Apply the product to the stain as the package directs, then rinse thoroughly.
  • If you have mildew and mold stains, use bleach-based products. As with the other cleaners, apply the mixture to the stain, agitate with a stiff brush, allow the preparation to stand, then rinse thoroughly. Follow the package directions.
  • If the stains on your wood deck are gray or very stubborn, use acid-based cleaning products formulated specially for wood, and follow the directions on the product.

Keep in mind that some cleaning products may darken some woods, such as cedar and redwood. It is a good idea to test your cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous place before using it on larger parts of the deck. Never mix any ammonia-containing product with bleach as the resulting fumes are toxic. Always wear goggles, old clothes, and rubber gloves when handling chemicals. Protect any nearby plants or shrubs from chemical spills. OxiClean is nontoxic and environmentally safe, but other products may contain chemicals lethal to plants and animals.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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