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The Best Deck And Porch Cleaners

Your deck can be one of the most enjoyable parts of your house. But, just like the indoor areas, it does need a good cleaning once in a while. Sweeping helps, but when dirt and grime start to build up, you need something stronger. That’s where a good deck cleaner comes in.

Most deck cleaners come as a concentrate. Mix it with water and use a mop or push broom to scrub down your deck. Better yet, connect the concentrate to your pressure washer and let the water do the work!

How Often To Wash Your Deck

There’s no set amount of time when you should give your deck a good cleaning. The only right answer is “whenever you think it needs it.” That can depend on a lot of things. 

All climates have factors that can contribute to a dirty deck. In dry weather, a lot of dust may accumulate. But if it’s damp, you may notice mold or even algae starting to grow.

We do recommend a good cleaning in the spring and perhaps another in the fall as an absolute minimum, though. This will make it more enjoyable during the summer and make the job less difficult when the next season rolls around again.

Things to Consider

When choosing a deck cleaner, the most important step is to know what you’re buying. There are a lot of great products that will get your deck clean, but you need to use them correctly and be sure they’re suited to your needs.

Type of Surface

Most decks are wood, and most deck cleaners work great with them. However, if you have a deck made out of another material, be sure to choose a cleaner that’s designed for it. Some products work well on a variety of surfaces, but not all.

Value

Since most deck cleaners are concentrated, you have to add water. Your cleaner can last much longer than it first appears based on the size of the bottle. 

To take advantage of this, though, you need to be sure to follow the instructions on the product. If you don’t mix it in the ratios given, you’ll waste money and may not get the results you expect.

Convenience

Deck cleaners aren’t hard to use, but a pressure water makes things easier. We’d suggest investing in one; they can do a great job for so many tasks.

Many deck cleaners come in 1-gallon bottles that have nozzles attached. This lets you hook them up to your pressure washer. But you likely already have that kind of attachment, too. 

Without a pressure washer, you’ll need to hose down your deck, then apply the cleaner with a push broom or mop. You’ll probably also want to use a scrub brush on the railings and posts. Getting into corners and all along the posts is the most difficult part of the job.

Our Recommendations For The Best Deck Cleaners

Without further ado, here are some of the best deck-cleaning detergents we’ve found.

Behr Premium 1 gal. All-In-One Wood and Deck Cleaner

This one-gallon jug of deck cleaner from Behr handles all the major stains you’ll deal with on your deck. It covers mold, fungus, mildew, and algae. But it also removes rust stains, mill glaze, and tannin.

It can be cleaned up with water and it’s biodegradable, meaning it has minimal environmental impact.

Behr claims it can handle up to 400 square feet of deck space. That’d be a pretty large residential deck, so you’ll likely get a couple uses out of it.

This should be mixed 1:1 with water. That is, add an equal amount of water to the amount of deck cleaner. 

If you use a pressure washer, use it on low. You should still scrape it off with a hard-bristle push broom or brush, then rinse with straight water to remove the grime and cleaner.

30 Seconds 2.5 Gallon Outdoor Cleaner Concentrate

It’s going to take longer than 30 seconds, but you’ll still be pleased with the time you save when you use this cleaner! It removes algae, mildew, and mold. It kills lichen and moss as well. 

30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner is a concentrate. Mix it with an equal amount of water and spray it on your surface. Then brush it off and rinse with clean water.

For wood, the company recommends letting the cleaner stand about five minutes on the surface before rinsing. It also works well on plastic, metal, and cloth surfaces – you can rinse those in three minutes. If you’re dealing with asphalt, masonry, or concrete, let it stand 15 minutes.

This is not recommended for use with a power washer. Instead, you can use a manual sprayer. It doesn’t require high-pressure water to get the job done.

Mold Armor 1 gal. E-Z Deck and Fence Wash Mold and Mildew Remover

Mold Armor’s deck cleaner just needs to be sprayed on with a standard pump. Wait ten minutes and it’ll cut through dirt, mold, and mildew. It’ll also help restore some of the color of your wood. 

It’s applied with a garden sprayer – don’t use this with a pressure washer! It does contain bleach, which can be harmful to pressure washers. Rinse it off ten minutes after application to see the effects.

This works well on wood and composite, but also is suitable for PVC, so it’s great for siding or PVC fences, too.

Do not use this on docks or wash it into ground drains. The chemicals are harmful to fish and other aquatic life.

The one-gallon bottle will clean about 4000 square feet.

Spray and Forget 64 oz. House and Deck Outdoor Mold and Mildew Cleaner Concentrate

You’ll save even more time with this Spray and Forget cleaner for your deck – you never have to come back and rinse it off! Apply it to a dry surface and let it stand.

One gallon (64 oz) will clean as much as 5000 square feet. It is a concentrate, but it does have to be diluted a lot more than other concentrates we’ve looked at. It calls for 5 parts water to every one part concentrate. That’s the biggest drawback we’ve seen to this, though.

Be sure to apply this when the surface is dry and when there’s no rain in the forecast for at least the next day or two. This allows the cleaner to soak in and do the job. It’ll get rid of mold and mildew and help your deck look new again.

This does seem to work best on green mold. On brown/black types, the success rate is lower. It works on wood, vinyl, stone, concrete, and tile.

Zep 1 Gal. Deck and Fence Cleaner

This bottle of deck cleaner from Zep cuts through all the standard dirt and stain issues, including those caused by mold, mildew, and algae. It can handle up to 5000 square feet, too.

It’s highly concentrated. Normally, that’s a good thing. With one gallon, you can get 20 gallons of cleaner. However, you still end up cleaning the same amount of space. That means you have to use a lot of water to get the job done.

This formula is designed for use with pressure washers. You’ll be able to cut through the dirt and grime easily and rinse at the same time. Tougher stains might require more elbow grease, but most will come off without the extra effort.

It does leave a great-looking finish, though!

Like most cleaning products, this can hurt plants. Zep recommends thoroughly wetting the soil and plants around your work area before spraying on the cleaner. After cleaning, again rinse off the leaves and soil to remove any leftover cleaner.

Star brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner & Protectant

This Star brite deck cleaner comes in 32-ounce (half-gallon) and 64-ounce (gallon) sizes. It’s also available in a 22-ounce spray bottle. 

It works well on both rough and smooth surfaces without damaging the finish. This is best for non-wood surfaces like fiberglass, plastic, rubber, or metal. It also works on painted surfaces, so if your wood deck is painted, it’s a good choice.

To use, wet the surface then spray on the Star brite cleaner. Let it stand for a couple of minutes then scrub it with a bristle brush or push broom. 

It’s biodegradable so you won’t have to worry about it damaging the plants around you. It’s also great for boat docks or on boats in the water. 

In addition to cleaning, it also seals the surface, helping to keep future dirt away.

Oxy Solve Total Outdoor Pressure Washer Cleaner

This product from Oxy Solve is designed for use with your power washer. It does a fantastic job getting rid of algae, mildew, moss, mold, and plain old dirt.

This one-gallon bottle contains concentrate. When diluted properly, it can clean up to 6400 square feet. That gives it the most range of any of the products we’ve looked at here.

It works well on wood decks, but it also shines with vinyl, fabric, metal, concrete, brick, stone, and asphalt. It can even make your wicker pieces look great again!

It is safe and non-toxic. It’s biodegradable as well, so you don’t have to worry about the environmental impact.

It is a bit more costly than many other products that do the job as well or better, though.

Conclusion 

There’s no reason to let your deck stay faded and ugly. A good cleaning can work wonders! And using a quality deck cleaner can make the job easy. Many just require pressure washing or even a simple sprayer to apply them. Wait a few minutes to rinse, and then be impressed with how great things look! Of course, some stains might take some more work. However, for general use, these deck cleaners will make your time on the deck much more enjoyable.