Cleaning Your Wooden Deck: Removing Paint, Oils, Mold, and Mildew off Your Deck

Are you ready to give your wooden deck some much-needed TLC? After all, it bears the brunt of all the sunshine and storms, so it’s no wonder yours could use extra care.

Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining your wooden deck doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Sure, if you hire a professional to do all the work for you, that’s great. But if not, this comprehensive guide will help you get the job done quickly and easily.

Removing Paint Stains From a Wooden Deck

No matter the age of your deck, you may have to deal with paint stains at some point. But don’t worry: cleaning paint off your wooden deck is not insurmountable; follow these steps!

Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need a few supplies for this job, so ensure you have them all before you start. You’ll need the following:

  • Hydraulic oil-based paint remover
  • Protective gear like gloves and goggles
  • A stiff brush for scrubbing

Applying the Paint Remover

Once you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, it’s time to apply the oil-based paint remover. Using a product specifically made for removing paint from wood is essential—you don’t want to damage your decking with a product not meant for wood surfaces. Carefully follow the product’s instructions when applying, and wear protective gear throughout the process.

Scrubbing Away Residue

Once you’ve applied the paint remover and left it on long enough (per the instructions), it’s time to start scrubbing. Use long strokes across any areas with remaining residue, making sure not to rub too hard or use metal implements that could damage your decking. Finish by rinsing any remaining residue with a garden hose and let dry completely before using your deck again.

Cleaning Mold and Mildew From a Deck

Mold and mildew can sneak up on a wooden deck, especially in humid climates. You need to clean it off, and the best way to do so is with a special cleaning solution specifically made for wooden decks.

What You’ll Need

To get rid of mold and mildew, you’ll need a few supplies:

  • A garden hose with a powerful sprayer or pressure washer
  • A scrub brush (preferably soft-bristled)
  • Protective eyewear
  • Specialized wood cleaner

Steps to Cleaning the Deck

To clean your deck properly, follow these steps:

  • Start using the garden hose or pressure washer to rinse off the deck’s surface. This step removes loose dirt particles that could get trapped in the grain of the wood during scrubbing.
  • Next, apply a generous amount of specialized wood cleaner to help break down stubborn mold and mildew (let it sit for 10 minutes).
  • Scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly—you may have to repeat this step several times depending on how much mold has accumulated on the surface of your deck.
  • Allow your deck to dry completely before applying any protective sealant or stain that helps preserve its luster and prevent future mold buildup.

Cleaning Oil Stains From a Deck

Cleaning oil stains from a deck can be tricky since they’re different than dirt and other grime. To get rid of them, start by sprinkling some absorbent material like sawdust, flour, or kitty litter on the stain and letting that sit for an hour or two. After that, lightly brush the material away and examine the area—if there’s still an oily residue, you’ll need to use a cleaner specifically made for decks.

Choose one that suits your specific type of wood. For example, if you have pressure-treated wood, look for a cleaner that contains oxalic acid. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label when applying it—you might need to use a stiff brush or other tools to scrub away the stain. Afterward, rinse off the cleaner with a garden hose and make sure all traces of it are gone before you’re done.

Finally, if you don’t want to buy a commercial cleaner or your oil stain is particularly stubborn, you can also try sodium percarbonate (just be aware that it can lighten some types of wood).