Why use a Decking Cleaner?
Maintaining the appearance of garden decking is important for several good reasons. Using a decking cleaner removes and keeps decked areas free from moss, mould and algae, therefore preventing decking boards from becoming slippery and dangerous. Decking cleaners also help to maintain the look and protective properties of decking finishes such as a decking oils, stains and decking paints.
Many decking cleaners can be used as a pre-treatment to remove surface dirt, debris, mould, algae, fungi and other surface contaminates prior to applying a decking treatment or finish.
Why should decking be cleaned on a regular basis?
- To keep wooden decking looking its best for longer
- To prevent the onset of mould algae and fungi
- Reduce the chances of decking becoming slippery and dangerous
- Helps to maintain the look and performance of decking finishes
- Helps to prevent wood rot and decay
Which is the Best Decking Cleaner
This depends on the project to hand. If it’s simply a case of cleaning dirt, grease, mould and algae from an existing decking finish then the following decking cleaners are perfect for the job. If the decking has been neglected for some time, has worn back to bare wood, turned grey or silver and is in need of a major overhaul, then a decking restorer may be required.
Top 4 Cleaners for Decking and Other Garden Wood
- Pro-Kleen Spray and Walk Away Green Mould and Algae Killer: Pro-Kleen is a super powerful outdoor green mould and algae removing solution – the intense cleaning fluid revives patio, decking, fencing, outdoor furniture, and more and is safe for children and pets once dry!
- Roxil 100 Cleaner (2 x 5L & Sprayer) Mould, Algae & Lichen Killer: The complete cleaning kit for wooden decking, sheds and fences. Contains 2 x 5Ltrs of powerful Mould, Algae, Lichens and other biological growth killer plus a Spear and Jackson garden pump sprayer for quick and easy application to garden fences.
- ULTIMA-PLUS XP XP Cleaner 5 litres Super Concentrate for Patios, Fencing, Decking and More: A powerful and concentrated wood and other hard surface cleaner. One 5L bottle makes a minimum of 50L of solution covering a huge 400m² area. It can also be diluted to make up to 95L of solution
- Dirtbusters Spray Today Gone Tomorrow: Patio, Decking, garden Fence, Drive Cleaner extra strength formula which removes Mould Mildew Moss Algae Lichen Killer Green Growth Remover
Decking restorers are used to reverse the chemical processes that turn decking timbers grey and silver. Best used on bare wood decking or decking that hasn’t been treated for a number of years, these products help to reverse the damage caused by weathering, water, and UV rays to restore the natural colour of decking boards.
Ones decking has been cleaned of any surface dirt and debris, the decking restorer is scrubbed in to the decking boards with a stiff brush, broom or abrasive pad, left for a short period of time, and then rinsed off with lots of clean water. The natural colour of decking timbers is usually restored within 24 hours of treatment. This process does require some elbow grease.
Wooden decking that has been left untreated for a number of years may require a second treatment of decking restorer. Once the process has been completed, decking can be fully restored by treating with a wood preservative and then finished with a clear or coloured decking oil, stain, or paint.
3 of the Best Decking Restorers
- Osmo Wood Reviver Gel (6609): An effective exterior wood cleaner and restorer for grey, weathered wooden decking
- Ronseal Decking Cleaner and Reviver: An effective decking cleaner for use on all types of wooden decking. Suitable for ridged or smooth, hardwood and softwood to revive old, weathered decking boards
- Ronseal Decking Restorer: A specifically designed decking restorer for weathered or grey decking. Revives and cleans wooden decking back to restore its natural appearance
How to Clean Decking
For the best results, knowing how to clean decking properly is essential. The following steps can be used for both softwood and hardwood decking that has been treated with a decking oil, stain or other decking finish.
- Remove garden furniture, pots, plants and other items prior to cleaning
- Sweep decking with a stiff brush or broom to remove surface dirt & debris
- Apply the decking cleaner as directed on the container
- Allow to dry fully
- For heavily soiled decking, Sweep again and re-apply a second application of decking cleaner
Using a decking cleaner as a pre-treatment
This process is ideal for old or untreated soft and hardwood decking that has turned grey / silver over time as a result of weathering and UV damage.
- Remove garden furniture, pots, plants and other items prior to cleaning
- Remove surface mould, algae or fungi with a paint scraper, stiff broom or brush
- Sweep decking with a stiff brush or broom to remove all surface debris
- Clean the deck with the decking cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions on the container at all times
- Allow the decking to dry fully
- To restore the colour of decking that has turned gey or silver over time, use a dedicated decking restorer (see below)
- Treat the deck with a suitable decking preserver to help prevent reinfestation of mould, algae and fungi
- Allow the wood preserver to dry fully, as specified on the tin
- Apply a decking treatment such as a decking oil, decking stain or decking paint
Always wear gloves, old clothing and eye protection when applying decking cleaners or restorers. Always follow the manufacturers instructions on the tin or container at all times.
Sweep decking with a stiff broom or brush on a regular basis, even through the winter months and especially if it is near or surrounded by bushes, trees and other plant life. This removes leaves and other debris from the deck that will otherwise decompose and mulch down in the groves of decking boards. Decomposing plant matter can promote mould, algae and fungi that can make decking slippery and dangerous. It can also degrade the decking finish or treatment at an accelerated rate which can ultimately lead to the onset of wood rot and decay.
So, the decking has been cleaned, restored, and is now looking a whole lot better, but what next? To keep decking protected and looking great it needs to be preserved and finished with a suitable decking preserver and decking finish.
- Protect wood from mould, algae. insect attack and wood rot with a decking preserver. If the decking is going to be finished with a water-based decking oil, stain or paint, it is important that the wood preserver does not contain any wax as many do
- Nourish and feed decking boards with a coloured or clear decking oil. Decking oils are very easy to apply and maintain and provide excellent protection against wear and weathering. They are also available in a range of options including clear, coloured, anti-slip and more
- decking stains. Available in a wide range of colours, decking stains come in both oil-based formulations that soak into the wood and coating type systems that cover the wood like a coloured varnish
- A great alternative to traditional decking treatments, decking paints are perfect for new and old decking and produce an opaque colour that covers the wood grain. Decking paints are available in a range of trendy, modern, attractive colours including numerous shades of grey, blue, black, white and more
Need to know more about other decking treatments and finishes? Read more about decking care and maintenance here.
Garden Decking FAQ’s
Can’t find the answer to your garden decking care or maintenance project above? See our frequently asked wood decking questions and answers page, where we try to answer some of the more commonly asked questions relating to garden decking care, maintenance, and decking treatments.