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How To Clean Cedar Decking To Keep Your Deck Looking Stunning

Updated: Mar 21

Cleaning cedar decking is a pretty straightforward process, but doing it the right way is imperative to make sure you remove grime without causing damage to your wooden deck. If you’ve never tried cleaning cedar decking before–or are simply looking for an easier way to do it–then you came to the right place.

Today, we will talk about the benefits of cleaning cedar decking and teach you how to clean cedar decking. At the very end, you’ll discover where you can get top-quality cedar lumber to create a beautiful deck, too. Let’s begin.

Quality Cedar can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

Why Clean Cedar Decking?

Cleaning cedar decking–or any type of deck, for that matter–is a must if you want to keep your deck looking stunning and well kept. However, the benefits of cleaning your cedar decking go much further than just looks.

Apart from maintaining its appearance, cleaning your deck regularly will help keep it in optimum condition, thereby preventing rot and deterioration for as long as possible. Cedar decking lasts for 15 to 20 years, on average, without any type of maintenance. But with regular cleaning, it can easily last for 5 or 10 additional years.

Similarly, a well-maintained deck helps raise your property’s value. A deck in and of itself tends to add value to a home, but if potential buyers can clearly see that it has been well-taken care of, you may even be able to raise the price a bit.

How Often Should I Clean Cedar Decking?

A deep clean of your deck should be done at least once a year. General cleaning, like sweeping away dirt or removing stains, should be done a couple of times a month or as needed. It is best to clean cedar decking when the weather is dry and moderately warm so the wood can dry fast.

How To Clean Cedar Decking: Step By Step Guide

Cleaning cedar decking is easy if you know how to do it correctly. Sure, it takes a bit of time and elbow grease - but when you see the final product, you’ll be glad you took the time to clean. In this section, we will teach you how to clean cedar decking the right way:

Supplies Needed To Clean Cedar Decking:

  • Deck scrubbing brush on a stick or a stiff-bristled broom

  • Big container for water or a high-pressure garden hose

  • Oxygen bleach or powdered oxygen laundry cleaner

  • Tarps to cover items surrounding the deck

  • Smaller brushes to tackle corners (optional)

Step 1) Prepare the Cedar Decking

Remove any furniture, umbrellas, toys, and other items from your deck. Then, get rid of loose dirt, leaves, and other debris from your deck with a broom. Make sure to remove debris underneath the deck as well to prevent it from gathering moisture.

Use tarps to cover surrounding items like BBQ grills or playground equipment if you wish.

Step 2) Wash The Cedar Decking

Pre-rinse your deck before anything else. This will soften the cellulose fibers and allow the cleaning solution to absorb easily.

Afterward, create your cleaning mixture. We recommend using oxygenated bleach and water because it is simple to use and inexpensive. In your bucket, mix 1 cup of oxygenated bleach into 2 gallons of water. Make sure to use oxygenated bleach and not chlorine bleach as the latter will strip your cedar of its natural color.

If you wish to use soap, here is our recommended solution:

  • 1 gallon of water

  • 2 tablespoons of ammonia-free liquid dish soap

  • 1 quart of oxygen bleach

  • 1 pint of rubbing alcohol

Spread the mixture on the deck and allow it to sit for about five minutes (10-15 minutes if you’re using soap). If your solution contains bleach, the liquid may start to bubble as it lifts the stains off your wood. After soaking, use your brush to scrub the wood thoroughly. Pay attention to corners and heavy-traffic areas where dirt tends to accumulate the most.

Do NOT use a pressure washer to clean your cedar deck. While some types of lumber can handle high pressure, real cedar wood cannot. Pressure washing raises the outer grain of the wood, which can lead to damage and make your deck susceptible to rot and pests.

Pro tip: if your real cedar deck was pressure-washed by previous owners, sand a thin layer of the wood to bring back that desired new-cedar smell and reverse some of the damage that has been dealt.

Step 3) Rinse The Cedar Decking Thoroughly

The best time to wash your deck is during the day so the sun can dry the deck effectively before nighttime. The last thing you want is your deck to be wet for prolonged periods of time, causing mold or mildew. Using your garden hose, rinse your deck thoroughly to get rid of dirt, debris, and the cleaning mixture.

If you need more pressure, put a high-power nozzle on your garden hose. Or simply do it the old-fashioned way and cover part of the hole with your finger.

Step 4) Let The Cedar Decking Dry Completely

Wait for at least 24 to 48 hours before putting everything back on your deck. Remember that damp wood is fragile, so moving furniture across your deck can damage your wood. Covering damp wood with outdoor rugs can also lead to mold.

If you plan to seal or stain your wood, wait for at least 48 to 72 hours to allow your deck to dry completely. To test if it’s safe for sealing or staining, use a moisture meter (a rating of 19% or less is good to go). Alternatively, pour a little water on the wood. If it readily absorbs into the wood, your deck is ready for staining or sealing.

Final Thoughts On How To Clean Cedar Decking

There you have it–a simple and effective way to clean your cedar decking! Deep-clean your cedar deck at least once a year, and you can expect it to last for decades, especially if it’s made with premium cedar products.

A cedar deck makes for a beautiful and valuable addition to any home. And here at Quality Cedar Products, we have everything you need to build the perfect deck. Regardless of the size of your yard, we have every size of cedar dimensional lumber you could need for your cedar deck. Plus, we have all types and styles of cedar posts, board, and timbers, so you have plenty of options to choose from!

Quality Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. Quality Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

2,172 views1 comment

1 Comment

Tried the first cleaning solution, did not do anything, is it possible something is missing?

As the next cleaning solution has 8 times the concentration of the oxygen bleach plus other additives.

Also what does the rubbing alcohol do?

Thank You

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