how-to-clean-a-deckNow that your summer months are filling up with plans for hosting picnics and barbecues, start the season right by giving your deck a thorough cleaning. A little effort now will let you enjoy your outdoor space all season long—and extend its life for years to come.

Come summertime, the deck practically becomes an extension of your house. During the warmer months, the deck is where you drink your morning coffee, host barbecues, and may even set up camp to sleep under the stars. But before you launch into full outdoor-entertainment mode, take the time to clean your deck so that it will be at its best when the serious celebrating begins. Cleaning your deck every spring will not only make it look nicer, but will also help it to last longer. It’s worth the effort. Your reward will be a fresh and welcoming place to kick back and relax with family and friends.

Supplies: Broom or leaf blower, Deck cleaning solution, Garden sprayer, Long-handled scrub brush, Garden hose with spray nozzle or pressure washer.

STEP 1

Remove all furniture, planters, and other accessories from the deck. Cover nearby plants with plastic sheeting to protect them from exposure to the deck cleaner. Thoroughly sweep the deck with a broom, or use a leaf blower to blow off any loose dirt and debris that have settled over the winter.

STEP 2

Pull out the deck cleaner and put it in a garden sprayer. Apply the cleaner to the deck, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Make sure you coat all surfaces of the deck, including the railings and stairs. Depending on how dirty your deck is, you may need to scrub your deck. This is best to do on an overcast day or a time of day when your deck is shaded.

STEP 3

Attach a spray nozzle to your hose and rinse off all the solution from deck with a strong stream of water. Start hosing the area bordering the house and work your way out so the cleaning solution fully rinses away. You can also use a pressure washer on a low setting, but be warned that pressure washers could easily damage your deck if used on too high of a setting. Make sure you use an appropriate pressure and tip angle to prevent gouging or fraying your deck boards.

STEP 4

Let the deck completely air-dry before moving all of your furniture and accessories back onto the deck. Now you’re ready to host parties.