How to Clean a Wood Deck

Make your deck look like new! Find great methods for how to clean a wood deck with both OxiClean and a more long-term product. Remove stubborn green stains to make it look new for months! 

how to clean a wood deck to make it look like new.

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One thing I didn't really expect when we moved in to our home was how quickly our deck would get…just…gross.

green stains on a wood deck.

After about a year, our poor wood deck looked like this. Each week I make an effort to clean outside areas in my cleaning schedule, but it just became kind of a lost cause with this deck. No matter how much I swept or tidied, the deck always just looked messy. Because of this, we never really used it for outside time – and that's a big problem to me!

After researching a little, I figured out that it's the humid climate and the trees around our home that are to blame – they create the perfect recipe for algae/fungus growing on a wood deck. Nasty, right? It wasn't pretty to look at, and it sure wasn't pleasant to walk on.

So, I tried a couple of different methods to clean it. They both had their pros and cons – I'll use both again, but for different reasons!

For an Quick Clean Deck

green stains under railing on a deck after scrubbing.
scrubbing green stains under railing on a deck.

After searching a little bit online, I noticed a few people using an OxiClean solution to scrub the algae/green stains off of their deck. I had OxiClean anyway (I swear by it for my laundry system), so I thought I'd give it a try. All I had to buy for this project was a big push broom.

(I didn't take a lot of pictures of this method – sorry!)

To clean the deck with this quick method, I just mixed 1 cup of OxiClean (powder) into 1 gallon of water. Pour a little bit onto your deck in sections and use a push broom to scrub the solution in really well. Once you notice stains starting to break up, spray down well until the soapy residue is gone.

spraying a wood deck with a hose.
green stains under railing on a deck.

You can really see the difference between the scrubbed area and un-scrubbed area in this picture. To get under the rails, I simply used a small scrub brush I had on hand with the same method – pour a little bit of solution, scrub well, and rinse.

deck after spraying with water.

The deck really did look so much better after using this method. But, just a few weeks later…

wood deck with green stains.

…green as green can be. Again.

So I pulled out the big guns this time.

For a Long-Term Clean Deck

This method is a little bit more expensive and takes longer to actually work – but it's much easier and lasts much, much longer.

large jug of wet and forget cleaner.
garden sprayer in front of a bottle of wet and forget.

The two main things you need are this bottle of Wet and Forget and a garden sprayer like this one. The Wet and Forget is a little bit on the pricey side, but I promise, it's worth every penny. I treated my whole deck and part of my driveway and didn't even use half of the bottle – and the results last for months and months!

dial on sprayer set to 8oz dilution.

Simply fill the tank of your garden sprayer with the cleaner and set your sprayer dilution to 8oz per gallon. The mix ratio on the Wet and Forget is actually a little bit less diluted, but this sprayer only went as high as 8oz. That ratio worked just fine for me…no need in wasting extra product!

holding a red sprayer nozzle.

Once the sprayer is filled, set, and attached to your hose, simply spray down the surface you're treating. You don't even have to rinse!

sprayer spraying water and cleaner on a wood deck.
wood deck sprayed with wet and forget.

As a matter of fact, once it's sprayed down, don't rinse it. The cleaner has to set in for at least 12 hours before any rain hits it, so plan to do this on a day when there's not a chance of any kind of precipitation.

And that's it! Now, the catch to this method: it won't be clean immediately. This cleaner works every time to rain hits it. So don't be disappointed if it dries and is still as dirty as it was when you started. It took 2-3 rain showers over the deck to really get it as clean as I wanted it. If you need it clean quickly, I'd recommend doing the OxiClean method a few days before this one – it took weeks for the OxiClean to quit working for me, and the Wet and Forget method should keep it clean for the long-term (the bottle says about 6 months, and I'm about a month in and it's going strong).

A few weeks after using the Wet & Forget method…

wood deck on back of house with two brown wicker chairs.

…I seriously couldn't be happier with the results. It looks like it did when our house was new!

This is what it looked like when it was new:

screen porch door looking out on a wood deck.

See? You can barely tell the difference.

Before Cleaning the Deck:

green stains on a wood deck.

After Cleaning the Deck:

close-up of wood decking without green stains.

Do yourself a favor and try these! It's great for patios and driveways too – I actually used the Wet and Forget to treat a few stubborn puddle spots in our driveway and it's working wonderfully.


Happy deck cleaning, guys! Want to see more of my cleaning posts? Click here!

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.

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  1. Does this work on decks that already have wood stain and clear coat or only on raw wood?

    1. Leslie Lambert says:

      The wet and forget will work on decks with stain, but I’m not sure if it does with ones with clear coat. I would think so, but I’d do a spot test before treating just to make sure.