How to Clean a Wood Deck without a Pressure Washer

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how to clean a wood deck without pressure washer

If your wood deck has seen better days, you might think pressure washing is the only way to get it clean.

Fortunately, it’s not.

While pressure washing does a great job of removing grime and build-up, there are other less harsh ways to get the same results.

What’s the Easiest Way to Clean a Wooden Deck without using a Pressure Washer?

Start by sweeping your deck with a broom. Next, load a pump sprayer with deck cleaner and spray it all over your deck. (Check the cleaner’s directions to see if you should wet your deck first.) Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to scrub each board lightly. Rinse with a garden hose. 

Top Ways to Clean a Deck Without a Power Washer

top ways to clean deck without power washer

High-Quality Deck Cleaner + A Scrub Brush

As we’ve touched on above, you can still use deck cleaner even if you don’t have a power washer. The difference is that the application will need to be done via a pump sprayer rather than added to your power washer tank.

Some of the top deck cleaners for removing gunk and build-up are:

Mold Armor Deck Cleaner – You can find this with a nozzle for a hose attachment, making applying it to your deck a breeze. Mold Armor cleaner will kill mold, mildew, and algae, and it’s guaranteed to get your deck clean within ten minutes of application.

TSP – TSP stands for Trisodium Phosphate – it’s a tried and true deck and siding cleaner. This cleaner will remove stains, mold, mildew, and dirt from your deck.

After cleaning your deck with either of these, you can go back over any still-dirty spots with a soft-bristled scrub brush. Then, thoroughly rinse with a garden hose.

Make a Homemade Deck Detergent

If you don’t have time to go to the store, you may already have the ingredients to create your own deck detergent.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Gallons of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Oxiclean
  • ¼ cup Dish Soap

Mix the ingredients in a large bucket wide enough to dip your soft-bristled deck brush into.

Before you start, sweep all dirt and debris off the deck. Next, wet the deck with your garden hose. 

Now, dip your brush into the detergent and start scrubbing your deck. Work in small sections and rinse as you go. You don’t want the soap to dry to the wood.

Clean Your Wood Deck Naturally

Are you not into using chemicals for cleaning? Your best bet is vinegar and water.

However, to be upfront, this method will not be as effective as the others. The reason is, you need to majorly dilute vinegar when using it on wood since it’s so acidic. If you don’t dilute it, it can damage your decking.

If you want to clean your wood deck naturally, here’s what to do:

  1. First, sweep all dirt and debris off the deck.
  2. Next, wet the deck using a garden hose.
  3. Mix one gallon of water with one cup of white distilled vinegar.
  4. Dip your scrub brush into the mixture, and scrub your deck in small sections.
  5. For the last step, thoroughly rinse the deck with your garden hose.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to clean wooden deck without using pressure washer

How can I clean my deck if I don’t have a garden hose?

If you have no hose and no power washer, your best bet is to sweep your deck with a broom. Avoid using soaps if you’re unable to rinse them off. You don’t want them to dry on your deck.

How do I clean a slippery wood deck?

If your deck is slippery or slimy, there’s probably built-up algae. You can get rid of this build-up with a deck cleaner like Mold Armor or TSP. You can also make your own deck cleaner using Oxiclean, water, and dish soap.

Can I use vinegar to clean my wood deck?

While you can use vinegar to clean your wood deck, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly diluted. If not, vinegar can cause damage to your wood. For a deck, mix one gallon of water with one cup of white distilled vinegar.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering how to clean a wood deck without a pressure washer, try a deck cleaner. These cleaners can bring an old stained-up deck back to new without needing any pressure washing at all.

If you don’t like that idea, you can make your own cleaner and scrub it on your deck or try a natural vinegar and water solution.

Photo of author


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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