If you’re a homeowner with a deck, you know how important it is to keep it clean. Dirt, grime, and mildew can accumulate on the surface of your deck over time, making it unsightly and potentially dangerous if left untreated.
While there are many commercial deck cleaners available on the market, these products can be expensive and contain harsh chemicals that may harm plants or animals in your yard. That’s why many homeowners opt for homemade deck cleaner solutions that use natural ingredients.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective homemade solutions for cleaning your deck using ingredients you probably already have at home. From vinegar to baking soda and everything in between, you’ll learn how to make your own DIY deck cleaner without breaking the bank or harming the environment. So let’s get started!
Importance of cleaning your deck
Cleaning your deck is an essential maintenance task that should be done regularly. A clean deck not only looks better, but it also helps to extend its lifespan and ensures the safety of those who use it. Here are some reasons why cleaning your deck is important:
Prevents Mold and Mildew Growth
A deck that is constantly exposed to moisture can quickly become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. These organisms not only look unsightly, but they can also cause health problems such as allergies and respiratory issues. Regular cleaning with an appropriate cleaner helps remove dirt, debris, and other organic matter that can promote mold growth.
Decks are often subject to stains from food spills, grease, oil leaks from grills or cars parked nearby, bird droppings or even algae growth in shady areas. If left unattended over time these stains will become more difficult to remove making regular maintenance critical.
Dirt build-up on a wooden surface can make the decking slippery when wet leading to slip-and-fall accidents which could result in serious injuries.
Regularly cleaning your deck prevents degradation caused by environmental factors such as rainwater soaking into unprotected wood fibers causing warping or rotting. Cleaning removes these contaminants before they damage the wood’s surface extending their longevity.
Maintaining a clean outdoor living space takes effort but pays off with beautiful surroundings safe enough for children (and adults alike) along with increased home resale value.. Depending on how much traffic there is on the area one may need more frequent upkeep than others but generally speaking twice yearly would suffice – once during springtime preparation after winter’s harshness has been endured & again at end of summer season when it’s time put furniture away for the colder months.
Advantages of making your own deck cleaner
Using a homemade deck cleaner offers several advantages over store-bought cleaners. Here are some reasons why you should consider making your own:
Making your own deck cleaner is much cheaper than buying one from the store. You only need a few simple ingredients, most of which you may already have at home, such as vinegar and baking soda.
Homemade deck cleaners are made from natural ingredients that are safe for both humans and pets. Unlike many store-bought cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, homemade cleaners use gentle yet effective natural ingredients like lemon juice or essential oils.
Tailored to specific needs
You can easily adjust the recipe to suit your specific cleaning needs. For example, if you have tough stains on your deck or patio, you can add more vinegar or baking soda to make a stronger solution.
Homemade deck cleaners are eco-friendly because they do not contain any harmful chemicals that could harm the environment. The ingredients used in these cleaners are biodegradable and break down naturally without polluting waterways or harming wildlife.
Safer alternative for children and pets
If you have small children or pets around the house, using store-bought chemical-based products can be risky as they may come into contact with them accidentally. Homemade deck cleaners offer peace of mind since they use non-toxic natural ingredients that pose no harm even when ingested accidentally by children or pets.
Ingredients needed for making deck cleaner
If you’re looking to make your own deck cleaner, you’ll need a few key ingredients. The good news is that most of these items can be found in your pantry or at your local home improvement store.
- Vinegar: White vinegar is an effective cleaning agent and helps to remove dirt and grime from decks. It also has antibacterial properties that help to kill germs.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that can help to remove stains from decks without causing damage.
- Dish soap: Dish soap helps to break down grease and other stubborn stains on the surface of the decking material.
- Bleach: Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that can kill mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria lurking on your deck’s surface. Be sure to use caution when working with bleach, as it can be dangerous if not used properly.
In addition to these primary ingredients, there are several optional additives you may want to consider adding based on the condition of your deck:
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice contains natural acids that help break down tough stains and brighten up dull wood surfaces.
- *Note: If using lemon juice or any citrus-based product, avoid exposure to direct sunlight as this could cause discoloration of the wood*
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch creates a paste-like consistency which makes it easier for the solution mixtures adhere onto vertical surfaces similar with railings while still keeping its effectiveness in cleaning
The quantities of each ingredient will depend upon how much area you need cleaned and the severity of the stains. You can adjust the ratios to suit your needs, but a good rule of thumb is one cup of white vinegar, one cup of baking soda, and one tablespoon each of dish soap and bleach for every two gallons of water used.
While homemade deck cleaners are generally considered safe for most decks, it’s always best to spot test in an inconspicuous area before applying it more broadly. This will help ensure that you don’t accidentally damage or discolor your wood.
Step-by-step instructions for making deck cleaner
Making your own deck cleaner is not only cost-effective, but it is also a great way to ensure that your cleaning solution is safe for the environment and your family. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make an effective homemade deck cleaner:
- 1 gallon of warm water
- 1 cup of household bleach
- 1/4 cup of baking soda or washing soda (not baking powder)
- Sweep off any debris from the surface of your deck.
- In a large bucket, mix one gallon of warm water with one cup of household bleach.
- Add in one-quarter cup of either baking soda or washing soda (not baking powder).
- Mix all the ingredients together until they are completely dissolved.
Note: Be sure to wear gloves when handling this mixture as it can irritate skin and eyes. Also, avoid breathing in any fumes by working outside in a well-ventilated area.
- Dip a stiff-bristled brush into the mixture and scrub your deck thoroughly, paying extra attention to any areas with stains or spots.
- Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off with a hose or pressure washer.
Note: Be sure to rinse your deck thoroughly after cleaning to remove all of the cleaning solution and avoid any residue build-up.
Note: Baking soda will work well if you have mildew on your deck, while washing soda has stronger cleaning power and works best for tougher stains like grease or oil.
Congratulations! You have successfully made your own homemade deck cleaner. Remember, using natural ingredients not only helps keep you and your family safe from harsh chemicals but also saves you money in the long run.
Tips for applying deck cleaner
Applying deck cleaner to your wooden deck is an important step in maintaining it and keeping it looking great year after year. Here are some tips to help you get the best results:
- Choose the right weather conditions: Make sure you apply deck cleaner on a day when there is no rain forecasted for at least 24 hours. The temperature should be between 50°F and 90°F.
- Clean and prepare the surface: Before applying the cleaner, sweep off any debris like leaves or twigs. Then, use a pressure washer or hose with a high-pressure nozzle to remove dirt, grime, and other debris from the surface of your deck.
- Wear protective gear: Always wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, shoes with rubber soles, and safety glasses when applying cleaning solutions to avoid skin irritation or injury.
- Mix according to instructions: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much water should be mixed with the cleaning solution. Too little water could damage your wood while too much may dilute its effectiveness.
- Saturate evenly: Apply enough solution so that it thoroughly saturates your entire deck but make sure not to leave puddles in any one area as these will cause discoloration.
- Avoid direct sunlight:: Direct sunlight can dry out cleaning solutions prematurely before they have had enough time to work effectively. Therefore try working in shaded areas whenever possible—early morning or late afternoon would be good times if available..
If you follow these tips every time you clean your wooden decks using homemade deck cleaner, you will be able to maintain your deck’s beauty and integrity for years to come. Remember not to rush through the process; take your time and do it right.
Precautions to take while using deck cleaner
While homemade deck cleaners can be effective in cleaning your deck, it’s important to always take safety precautions when handling any type of chemical. Here are some precautions you should take:
1. Wear protective clothing and gear
Cleaning your deck can be messy work, so it’s essential that you wear appropriate protective clothing such as rubber gloves, safety goggles, long-sleeved shirts and pants. These items help protect your skin from harsh chemicals and prevent inhalation of fumes.
2. Use the right equipment
You’ll need a stiff-bristle brush or power washer for tough stains. A plastic sprayer or garden pump sprayer is best for applying homemade deck cleaner solutions evenly over large areas.
3. Test on a small area first
If using a new product or solution for the first time, test it on a small inconspicuous area before treating the entire surface to make sure there is no adverse reaction.
4. Follow instructions carefully
Homemade cleaners can have different formulas than store-bought ones; therefore ensure that you follow all instructions accordingly which includes mixing ratios and application methods.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water
Rinse off soap residue thoroughly with clean water after applying any cleaning solution onto the wood decking surface as leaving any behind can compromise its integrity by causing discoloration or softening the wood fiber.
Making use of homemade products will reduce costs associated with hiring professionals but ensuring proper precautions are taken before usage prevents accidents from occurring during cleaning jobs ensuring everyone stays safe.
In conclusion, homemade deck cleaner can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for maintaining your outdoor living space. By using ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen or pantry, you can avoid harsh chemicals and reduce the risk of damaging your deck’s surface.
When creating a DIY deck cleaner, always follow safe handling practices for each ingredient and mix them properly. Be sure to test the solution on a small area of your deck before applying it to the entire surface. This will help ensure that there is no discoloration or damage caused by the solution.
It is also important to note that not all decks are created equal. Different materials such as wood or composite may require different cleaning methods or solutions. Always refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines before attempting any cleaning method on your deck.
Regular maintenance with a homemade deck cleaner can help prolong the life of your outdoor living space while keeping it looking its best throughout the seasons. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy many years of relaxation and entertainment on a beautiful, clean deck!
Ben is one of the founders and editor of Structured Living HUB. His interests are automotive and architecture. For over 10 years he worked as a modular house contractor in the United States.