A sun-soaked afternoon is a perfect excuse to spend some time on the deck. But, as deck owners know, natural elements like wind and rain can leave a deck dirty, discolored and stained. Buying store-bought deck cleaners can be expensive, however, and may contain harsh chemicals that can harm your deck and garden. To prevent this, follow a homemade deck cleaner recipe to tackle mildew and grease without compromising your deck’s condition.
It’s tricky finding a homemade deck cleaner recipe (including ingredients and steps) perfect for you, so where do you start?
First, what is a homemade deck cleaner?
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Deck cleaners are an important aspect of deck protection and there are many available on the market. When you take a look at the bottle, you’ll find they contain sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite, otherwise known as bleach.
Professionals advise against using chlorine-based bleach as it breaks down the wood’s lignin, a natural component that holds the wood together. If you continue to use chlorine-based bleach, eventually you’ll be able to tear the wood even if you press down lightly with your finger.
Chlorine-based bleach also washes away your deck’s color and corrodes nails, screws, and structural hardware holding your deck together. Many deck owners prepare their own homemade deck cleaners to avoid using bleach. Here are four ingredients you will find in the homemade deck cleaner recipes:
Oxygen bleach combines natural soda ash and hydrogen peroxide to create a powdered substance. When the powder dissolves in water, the reaction releases oxygen to break down stains and dirt.
Unlike chlorine-based bleach, oxygen bleach is environmentally friendly and safe to use around plants, pets, and children.
This is an alternative to oxygen bleach if you don’t have any available. If your laundry detergent contains sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate, it will have the same cleaning effect as oxygen bleach.
For those after a natural homemade deck cleaner, vinegar and baking soda are both inexpensive alternatives. Vinegar kills off bacteria and baking soda deodorizes and refreshes the surface, perfect for light cleaning.
There are many advantages of creating your own homemade deck cleaner. Here are a few benefits:
Here are tips to consider during the preparation stage:
Check out the steps to clean your deck below:
Before you start, clear any furniture, BBQ equipment, and gardening items and store them away. Spray the deck with a hose to loosen any debris to make it easier to remove.
Although using a pressure washer for a wooden deck is an option, professionals say to refrain as the high-pressure steam can erode the wood.
Sweep away the debris and check none are hiding in the cracks between the boards. Rotting debris can spread and destroy your entire deck, so use a putty knife to dislodge them. Also, cover any nearby plants with a plastic sheet to protect them during the process.
Before you mix a solution to suit your needs, ensure you have the following materials.
All decks are different and so are the homemade deck cleaner recipes. You wouldn’t use a harsh solution on a deck that is cleaned often, so it’s wise to decide on the right solution for your deck.
This recipe helps restore your deck to its former self.
This recipe removes surface dirt and spruces up a deck with no stains.
This heavy-duty deck cleaner tackles any algae and mildew on your deck.
If your deck has mildew stains, add borax to help remove them. Borax is a natural mineral compound so any nearby plants are safe. You can buy TSP at any hardware store and when it’s mixed with oxygen bleach and water, its cleaning properties are activated.
This homemade deck cleaner recipe is for decks suffering from grime, dirt, and oily stains. Although TSP is stronger, dish soap is an effective cleaner, and the added oxygen bleach kills off mildew and algae.
This recipe is for decks in good condition with minimal stains. It’s a milder solution, perfect for sprucing up your deck.
This natural homemade deck cleaner is perfect for delicate wood decks (e.g. cedarwood) and for those after an inexpensive alternative. You can use vinegar as a light cleaning agent, which is great if you clean your deck regularly.
If you’re not a fan of using store-bought deck cleaners, baking soda can kill any grease build-up.
It is overwhelming figuring out how to tackle the green fuzz overtaking your deck. Instead of splurging on a store-bought detergent, use a homemade deck cleaner recipe for a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution.
The best aspect of preparing your own homemade deck cleaner is how you can tailor it to fit your deck’s needs.
Want to wash away grime? Use laundry detergent or oxygen bleach. And for an inexpensive alternative, dig out your baking soda and vinegar and watch your deck transform back into an inviting outdoor area.
Have you used any of these homemade deck cleaner recipes? If so, which one and how effective was it? We’d love to hear from you so please share your experience in the comments below.
My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.