How to Clean a Deck with a Power Washer

How to Clean a Deck with a Power Washer

Pressure washing your deck doesn't have to be a tough chore.  It can be fun and satisfying watching your deck come clean before your eyes.  If done incorrectly you can damage your deck using too much pressure and using the right cleaner is crucial.  The power washer is a great tool that uses water to clean multiple items like your home, deck and fence along with concrete.  Always keep safety in mind when using a pressure washer. 

Prepare for the job and for your safety:


Make sure you take your safety first and be prepared by wearing safety goggles and gloves.  Inspect your pressure washer and make sure you have enough fuel, check the oil and filter if you have a gas powered machine.  If the pressure washer is electric check and make sure the connection is secure and no exposing wires.  Check all pressure washing hoses for any holes or splits in it so that it does not burst when operating.  As for the pressure washing gun check the connections to make sure the O rings are not torn and securely fit to create a good seal.  A torn O ring or loose O ring will make the water come out and you will lose pressure.

If you have large delicate plants close by make sure to cover them with a light tarp or plastic.  If your cleaning area is close to your home make sure all windows are closed and if you have an outside electric connection make sure its sealed to not get water inside.

Some simple steps go into pressure washing your deck.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Choose the correct power washer

Many pressure washers already come preset at a default pressure.  Pressure washers vary in many different types of gallons per minute and pressure variations.  The big box stores tend to sell homeowners a pressure washer ranging from 2 gallons per minute up to 4 gallons per minute of water flow.  For the pressure settings it can vary from 1000 PSI to 4000 PSI. 

Make sure your machine you're using isn't over 4 gallons per minute 4000 PSI because anything past this PSI and gallons per minute is too powerful.  Anything below this will be just fine because we will talk about cleaner and pressure washing nozzles ahead.

  1. Choosing the correct cleaning nozzle

All pressure washers come with many different types of cleaning nozzles.  The standard nozzles that come with your pressure washer range from 0 degree,15 degree, 25 degree and 40 degree.  Each cleaning nozzle has its own purpose and if you use the wrong one you can damage your deck's surface. The 0 degree nozzle shoots in a straight pattern and can cause some serious damage if you try to clean your deck.  The 0 degree nozzle is not recommended at all so just place it to the side and never use it on your deck.  The 15 degree nozzle can be aggressive and is mostly used on cleaning concrete with removing gum build up that is on the surface.  

The two nozzles best to use would be the 25 degree and 40 degree nozzles.

If your deck has a heavy build up of debris on the surface you can use the 25 degree to clear away the debris. The 25 degree is not as aggressive as the 0 and 15 but will do a great job of removing debris and heavy build up on the surface.  The 40 degree is the least aggressive and has a wide spray pattern.  You can use the 40 degree if the surface is not as dirty and has a slight build up and you want to take it easy.  


When pressure washing the surface make sure to stay at least 12 to 14 inches away from the surface.  Don't get too close because you will scar the surface using the pressure at such a close range.  Work with the grain of the wood and try to clean at even paths.  Start with squeezing the pressure gun trigger away from the surface and slowly bring it towards the surface and move in close as you start to see the cleaning results.  Don't start out to close because once you damage the surface it's tough to undo what you did.  So stay back and gradually go towards the surface and keep an even pace and distance once you start seeing the results.

  1. Using the correct cleaner for your deck

There are many cleaning products on the market and it's hard to choose which one is the best when we have so many options.  The many cleaning products on the market have bleach as one of the ingredients or the product claims that all you have to do is apply the cleaner and walk away with no work.  If only it was this easy but in truth it's not because like many great things you have to put in the work to see the results.

Using products that contain bleach or bleach in general is not the best product to use when cleaning your deck.  When we think of bleach we know that it can kill germs and sanitize the surface.  Bleach is good in its own right but not for cleaning your deck.  Bleach can harm your landscape and also damage your clothing.  Bleach can remove the natural wood color and break down the wood fibers. 

Many manufacturers of wood decks and composite decks do not want you to use bleach because of the damaging effects it can have.  Not to mention if you have a beautiful yard with expensive landscaping you do not want to harm it.  The products that are marketed as just apply and walk away can take several months to work and possibly will not work at all.  When you're cleaning you want to see results now especially if you are getting ready to stain your deck or have a family get together on the deck.   

Our product Kleeners Choice®  is a great alternative.  It works by releasing oxygen once it is exposed to water. This release of oxygen lifts stains and dirt off whatever you're cleaning.  Kleeners Choice® will not harm your landscape nor will it harm your clothing.  Kleeners Choice® comes in a powder form not a liquid.  When you purchase liquid products on the market it is already watered down and not in its full concentrated strength.  Kleeners Choice® when applied to your deck's surface will start to work by working into the fibers of the wood and pulling out the surface stains.  You will be able to see the cleaning power right before your eyes. 

  1. Using Kleeners Choice® on your deck

Once you have removed the debris from your deck make sure to wet down the surface.  Next follow the mixing instructions of Kleeners Choice® and apply to your deck.  Kleeners Choice® works best when it is mixed into hot water.  Using hot water to mix helps to dissolve the powder.   After Kleeners Choice® has dwelled onto the surface pressure wash your deck and apply a second coat of Kleeners Choice® if needed.  You won't have to worry about your landscaping or clothes when using our product since it is chlorine bleach free.    Make sure that you rinse the deck very well after pressure washing to remove all cleaning products from the surface.

Kleeners Choice® is great for cleaning wood decks, wood fences, composite decks, vinyl decks and vinyl fences.  


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