Best Pressure Washer Deck Cleaning Tips for Stellar Results

For the best pressure washer deck cleaning, you need to use pressure of between 1300-2300 pounds per square inch (PSI); any more than this can cause damage to the deck, paint, laquear, and staining.

Cleaning decking can be very satisfying and rewarding, especially when you have a particularly tired-looking deck.

Decking can attract moss and mold due to the materials used when constructing your deck; a pressure washer is an ideal tool to make your deck look like new quickly.

What size pressure washer do I need to clean a deck?

Pressure washer deck cleaning does come with the risks of damaging or splintering the wood.

This post will discuss these risks, how they can be reduced when following specific guidelines, and how you can clean a deck without a pressure washer.

Before you know it, you’ll be using your pressure washer to clean your house and everything around it.

Male demonstrated pressure washer deck cleaning on rear deck.

Related Reading: What Is The Best Size Pressure Washer For A Driveway?

If you’re looking to pick up a pressure washer to clean a deck, we wrote a post on some tremendous inexpensive pressure washers; here’s the short version of what we recommend:

Step-by-Step Guide on Pressure Washer Deck Cleaning

Here are some easy-to-follow tips to ensure you get more done with less work while pressure washer deck cleaning.

Some of these tips also apply to pressure washing concrete.

Prepare the Area

The first thing you need to do is prepare the area for cleaning.

Use a stiff-bristled brush to clean off the deck, ensuring you have removed any loose grit, wood, and dust.

Pressure washing can propel loose items at significant speeds, causing damage to property or injury.

Be sure to remove loose debris before any pressure washer deck cleaning.

Safety Equipment

Once the area is fully prepped, you should ensure you have the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to take on the task.

Also, be sure to alert people in the nearby area that you will be doing pressure washer deck cleaning.

Fan Spray

Using the fan setting on your pressure washer, spray the deck and cover the desired area.

This is important if you have decided to use a disinfectant or detergent within your mixture.

Doing this allows the mixture to soak into the dirt and grime, making it easier to clean a deck.

Use the Correct PSI Pounds per Square Inch

If your pressure washer has an adjustable pressure setting, set the pressure washer to a PSI of between 1300-2300 and the flow to stream.

It’s a good idea to ensure your pressure washer is performing at the correct PSI to avoid frequent low pressure.

Use an Effective Spray Pattern

Make sure that you spray away from windows, people, and pets. Start to uniformly spray the disinfectant/detergent mixture off of the deck.

Work in a forward, side-to-side pattern.

We advise overlapping your lanes to make sure you get all of the deck with the spray.

Be sure to check the deck, ensuring the PSI is correct and not causing damage to the wood.

Cleaning Tougher Stains

After washing, you should check for areas with stains left behind or stubborn dirt ingrained into them.

This may be overlooked when you doing pressure washer deck cleaning.

Using a hard-bristled brush, scrub into the problem area with some detergent/disinfectant mixtures.

You must do this by hand, then use the pressure washer to rinse the area.

Related Article Lowe’s: How to Pressure Wash a Deck or Fence

Hire a Professional

If you find that you cannot remove specific stains, you should consult a professional.

Professionals can use more powerful, specialized pressure washers and specific detergents for pressure washer deck cleaning.

Pressure Washing and Re-Sealing a Deck

What Pressure (PSI) Should I Use on a Plastic Deck?

Unlike the more traditional wooden deck, plastic decks offer more resilience and can look better for longer.

Plastic decks are still fragile when it comes to pressure washing.

Too much pressure from the hose can cause irreparable damage to plastics when you begin pressure washer deck cleaning.

Pressure washers are powerful and can even damage concrete.

Never use the hose too close to plastic. This can discolor, score, or even scorch areas of plastic.

We recommend using pressure of no more than 1500 PSI.

You should avoid using abrasive chemicals or brushes on your plastic decking.

If you do not feel confident in cleaning your plastic deck, you should contact a professional to complete the pressure washer deck cleaning.

How Often Should Pressure Washer Deck Cleaning Be Done?

The answer to this question is dependent on the location where you live.

If you live in an area with typical seasons each year, you should clean your deck one to two times a year.

This should be done particularly if you have a lot of wooded areas, trees, shrubbery, and greenery.

If you do live in one of the more wooded areas, you may want to also think about protecting your wooden decking with a stain or varnish.

This helps prevent rot and makes the decking less of a hazard.

Decking can become slippery when moss, dirt, and mold grow on the surface.

This makes it more important to clean a deck when seeing this happen.

If you live in a much warmer climate, you need only clean a deck once a year.

An annual pressure washer deck cleaning will maintain the decking and prevent areas from getting too worn down and ingrained with dirt.

If you live in a particularly wet climate, you should think about washing your decking several times a year.

Moist areas increase risks of rot and mold, so clean frequently to avoid this problem.

We would advise having plastic decking if you live in a wet and moist climate.

Cleaning a Deck Without a Pressure Washer

A pressure washer can be a great way to clean your decking, but that isn’t the only option.

Some people prefer to wash their decking using more traditional methods.

This can also help save on water use with pressure washers.

You can use a hard hand brush and a bucket of detergent with a water mixture. 

Use rubber gloves when taking on this task, as the mixture can irritate bare skin.

Using a deck brush is also a very good method of cleaning your deck.

Deck brushes have wired bristles that are excellent at easily removing stubborn dirt while getting in between grooves.

We recommend using deck brushes and a hosepipe to get your deck clean.

How To Clean A Wood Deck Without Pressure Washer – The Easy Way

Can I Use Bleach on a Deck?

If you have a particularly stubborn stain, you could use bleach to clean the area.

Using bleach might be enough to lift the dirt problem.

You should never use bleach directly onto your deck.

It is best to make a mixture of one part bleach to four parts water.

This bleach-to-water ratio will give you the right dilution of bleach while offering the cleaning power needed.

Be sure to test an area with the mixture to see if the bleach is too potent causing discoloring.

When using bleach or any other abrasive chemical, always wear the correct PPE Personal Protective Equipment.

You can find the relevant information for this on the manufacturer’s label.

Final Thoughts

Wooden and plastic decking is a fantastic outdoor addition to your home.

A deck requires regular maintenance, so set up a regular inspection and cleaning schedule.

Pressure washer deck cleaning is a viable way of keeping your deck clean and hazard-free.

You should stain, paint, or varnish a wooden deck annually.

This will keep the outside elements from damaging and rotting your decking, allowing you to enjoy it for years to come!

You will gain much satisfaction as you sit on your beautiful deck with family and friends after a good cleaning.

Enjoy living the outdoor life!