How to Clean a Wood Deck Naturally

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how to clean a wood deck naturally

If you’re not interested in using harsh cleaners on your wood deck, you can clean it naturally.

As long as you’re consistent with your cleaning, natural methods work just as well as store-bought cleaners. After all, the most important thing any deck owner can do is promptly address messes like fallen leaves and bird poop – all of which require nothing but a broom and a hose.

What’s the Best Way to Clean a Wood Deck Naturally?

You can keep your deck clean by sweeping and hosing it off regularly. To deep clean your wood deck, you can power wash it or clean it with a mixture of vinegar and water. Just be sure to dilute the vinegar if your deck has a sealant on it.

Top 3 Ways to Clean a Wood Deck without Chemicals

top 3 ways to clean wood deck

Sweep and Hose Off for Regular Cleaning

For regular weekly cleanings, sweep your deck with a broom and hose it off as needed. Leaves and other debris piling on the deck can cause stains and even mildew growth. By keeping these piles of debris swept off, your wood deck will look nicer for much longer.

Kill Mold and Deep Clean with Vinegar

If your deck has mold on it, you can clean it off with vinegar. You can also use a vinegar and water mixture to deep clean your deck.

To kill mold, follow these steps:

  • Spray the moldy area with undiluted white distilled vinegar
  • Allow the vinegar to sit for one hour
  • Scrub the mold with a soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Thoroughly rinse the vinegar off the deck

To deep clean your deck with water and vinegar, follow these steps:

  • Fill a bucket with a mixture of half vinegar and half water
  • Dip your long-handled scrub brush into the mixture
  • Scrub your deck with the dampened brush, reapplying as needed
  • Use your hose to rinse the deck thoroughly
If your deck has a sealant on it, be sure to dilute the vinegar properly. Since vinegar is highly acidic, it can eat away at your sealant if not diluted. Also, be sure to thoroughly rinse the vinegar mixture off after you’ve cleaned it.

Clean Your Wood Deck with a Power Washer

A power washer is perfect if you have a dirty deck and want to clean it without chemicals. However, pressure washers are extremely powerful, and if you’re not careful, you can easily take the finish and even chunks of wood off your deck.

Luckily, you can follow a couple of easy guidelines to prevent damage from a power washer.

First, if your deck has mildew or grime buildup, start by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water and apply it to the deck with your scrub brush.

Now, it’s time to wash with your pressure washer.

You need to use the lowest setting that removes dirt from your deck. If your deck is softwood, this will be about 500 psi. If your deck is hardwood, you can use up to 1200 psi. (But again, the lower, the better.)

Your fan tip should have a 40 to 60-degree spread.

Hold the nozzle about two feet from the deck and go over it with a consistent sweeping motion. If an area is filthy, you may need to get slightly closer – however, you should never get closer than six inches.

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs how to clean composite deck naturally

Will vinegar hurt a wood deck?

Vinegar is highly acidic, so if your wood deck has a sealant on it, the vinegar may eat through. You can combat this by diluting your vinegar with water. Then, after you scrub your deck with the solution, make sure you thoroughly rinse it off.

If your deck has any mold or mildew, vinegar is an excellent option for removing it. Also, if you have a composite deck, vinegar is acceptable to use.

Is deck cleaner necessary?

If you’re trying to clean your deck, you don’t necessarily need to use a deck cleaner. Instead, you can use vinegar or simply power wash your deck.

However, if you’re preparing to refinish the deck, using a deck cleaner with your power washer is a good idea.

Can I use Oxiclean on my deck?

Yes, it is safe to use Oxiclean on a deck. All you need is one cup of Oxiclean to a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Then, you can dip your soft-bristled scrub brush in the mixture and use it to clean your deck. After you’re finished, rinse the mixture with your hose.


Wondering how to clean a wood deck naturally? Your best bet is preventative measures. If you clean your deck with a broom or hose every week or two, you won’t have to worry about staining and mildew.

If you need to deep clean your deck or remove mold spots, use vinegar. And finally, if you just want an even all-over clean, use a power washer on the lowest setting that still yields results.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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