Removing Stains from Your Wood Deck


Maintaining your wood deck is an ongoing process. A well protected and cared for deck can last a long time. While periodically pressure washing and restoring the wood is recommended every 7 to 15 years, ongoing spot cleaning can address the spills and natural mishaps that can stain your deck. Some of the things that can stain a wood deck include:

-Food and beverages
-Tree sap
-Bird droppings
Wax from candles
Mold and mildew

Ways to Remove Specific Stains

Spills from food and drinks are best dealt with immediately by wiping the deck with a damp cloth. If you missed the opportunity and the food hardens overnight, scrub the spot with a detergent or degreaser then rinse the area before the detergent dries.

Sap from trees can be difficult to remove before a stain sets in. Use a scraper or steel wool to remove as much as possible without compromising the deck sealer. Wipe gently with turpentine to get the rest off.

Bird droppings are simply annoying and unsanitary. Fortunately, these can usually be removed simply by hosing off the deck surface.

Candle wax is similar to sap. First, scrape the excess wax off. Then, place a rag with some mineral spirits on top of the wax spot. This should absorb most of the wax.

Mold and mildew, and even moss, can grow on a deck that isn’t exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Mop the surface with a liquid cleaner that specifically kills the organisms, such as a bathroom tile cleaner. Or, you can use regular distilled white vinegar, which is very effective at neutralizing mold and mildew in a non-toxic manner. After several minutes, rinse the deck off with water and dry it with old towels.

Rust stains from metal furniture can be removed using a mixture of water and 5 percent oxalic acid. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing off.

Deck Cleaning

If your deck is heavily stained, consider giving it a good pressure washing. This can remove a lot of dirt, stains, and mildew. You should definitely do this prior to having the deck sealed or stained. If you don’t own or want to rent a power washer, consider hiring a deck sealing and staining professional to give the wood a good cleaning. This can bring new life to the surface of your deck.