How to clean a deck

Deck greasy and dirty? Growing moss or algae? We’ve got the strategy for getting it clean and safe once more

Clean decking with stylish patio bench
Clean decking is only a few steps away.
(Image credit: Cuprinol)

It’s really no wonder if your deck looks like it’s had a hard winter after this year’s weather. The problem’s not just one of appearance (although it is annoying to see your fabulous garden surface looking winter worn). The growth of moss, mould and algae can make a deck slippery and unsafe as well as unsightly. 

Fear not, though. A spring clean can make your deck smart again, as well as giving you back a safe surface for dining and relaxing. We have all you need to know to clean and spruce up your deck below, plus you can see our list of the top decking cleaners.

How to clean a deck

1. To start, remove any furniture left on the deck over the winter months, plus any pots or planters on the surface. You should also cover plants or grass near the deck. Then use a stiff brush to get rid of debris, plus any growths of moss, mould and algae you can from the deck. 

2. Next, clean the deck. You could use a washing-up liquid solution or a specialist product. Our favourites? Number one in our guide was Cuprinol Decking Cleaner. It’s made to remove dirt and grease and kill algae and mould, plus protect against regrowth, and prepare decks for oiling and staining.

3. If you use a specialist cleaner, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which will likely involve applying the cleaner to the deck, and using a stiff brush to scrub at the surface. The product should then be left to work according to the instructions, and rinsed with water afterwards.

4. It’s not always necessary to use elbow grease, though. Our top no-scrubbing-necessary cleaner is Pro-Kleen Patio Cleaner. It can be sprayed on to the deck, then left to remove mould and algae, starting to work within a few days of application.

5. Gone for a washing-up liquid solution? Apply it, use a stiff brush to clean, then rinse with water.

6. You can rinse a deck with a hose or a pressure washer if you have one. Using the latter? Keep the pressure to the lowest setting, stand back from the deck so the spray nozzle isn’t too close, and work section by section evenly and systematically. You can get a decking-cleaning attachment for a pressure washer that’s made for the job. 

7. If you need to re-treat or stain the deck, allow to dry for 24 hours or more before application.

Find more deck and patio ideas: