We moved into an older home this winter. It has a redwood deck that obviously got a lot of use in the past. There are lots of stains and mildew. Can you tell me how to best clean our deck without a pressure washer?
Nicole Kripps, San Diego
A lot of folks are wondering the same thing. Not everyone wants to spend the money buying one, or deal with the hassle of renting one, although there are lots of great recipes for homemade pressure washer detergent. And that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re willing to use some muscle for scrubbing.
I have some suggestions for tools you’ll need to clean your redwood deck. They include a broom and scrub brush, and a bucket. But you’ll also want some ingredients to create a few homemade deck cleaners. For example, Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP, combined with household chlorine bleach makes an effective homemade mildew remover. And liquid dish soap is helpful for erasing grease marks.
Now, let’s get down to business. First, I’ll give an overview of how to clean your deck. Then all the rest of the details are on this page: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/homemade-deck-cleaner/
Recipe number one that gets rid of algae and mildew requires one cup of bleach plus one cup of TSP in two gallons of warm water. This is one of the few times you can mix another cleaner with bleach and not worry about gassing yourself. After you wet the deck, apply this cleaner to the wood and let it work for fifteen minutes while you scrub. Once you rinse it, the deck should look a lot better.
Recipe number two calls for two quarts of bleach and a quarter cup of ammonia-free dish soap in two gallons of warm water. If you aren’t absolutely sure your soap is free of ammonia, don’t use it. Ammonia and bleach are literally a fatal mixture. But the dish detergent (when free of ammonia) will remove greasy spots while the bleach fades away grime.
In conclusion, I hope your redwood deck looks spectacular after you clean it. And remember to seal it so it stays looking great.