How to clean decking – the 4-step method that will leave your decking gleaming

Gardeners' World offer advice on the 'best way' to clean decking

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Spring is the perfect time to get out and enjoy your garden again, but unsightly decking can make your outdoor space a less pleasant place to be. Dirt, fallen leaves and dusty debris can all settle in the grooves of your garden decking, but what’s the best way to clean it up? reveals the simple four-step method that will leave your timber decking gleaming in no time.

Outdoor decking can take a beating in the winter, with frosty weather and fallen debris leaving the wood looking dirty and cluttered.

Whether you use your decking as a seating area or as a raised platform for potted plants, the timber slats should be cleaned at the start of each season to keep them in good condition.

Spring cleaning your decking is easily done in four quick steps, and you can even use a DIY cleanser to get the job done.

This is the best way to clean your decking.

Clear and rinse the deck

The first step to lifting unwanted dirt from your garden decking is to clear the area ready for a quick rinse.

Remove furniture, plant pots and sweep away visible debris using a firm broom.

Fallen leaves can be added to your compost heap if they look healthy and free from disease, so keep them in a tall container ready to enrich your soil later on.

Use a pressure washer or your garden hose to spray the area – this will help to soften mud and stubborn stains, making it easier to remove at the washing stage.

Prepare your cleansing solution

Commercial decking cleaners will certainly get the job done, but making your own will save you a trip to the shops while cutting costs.

For the best homemade wooden-deck cleaner, pour two gallons of warm water into a large plastic bucket.

Head to your laundry cupboard for some OxiClean or powdered oxygen bleach and add two cups to the bucket of water.

You should stir the powder gently until the bleach completely dissolves, before adding one quarter of a cup of mild dish soap to complete the solution.

While these ingredients are perfectly safe to use on your decking and garden greenery, it is best to wear gloves and goggles to protect sensitive eyes and skin.

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Scrub the decking

Apply your ready-made solution liberally to the decking by dipping a clean broom into the bucket and spraying it over the planks.

Start at one end of the decked area and slowly work your way to the other side, applying more of the cleaning liquid as you go.

Use the firm bristles of the brush to work the solution into a lather until it turns foamy and thick.

Leave the solution for at least 15 minutes to allow the oxygen bleach to get to work.

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Rinse the decking

Once the cleanser has been left to sit, it’s time to rinse the decking with your garden hose or pressure washer.

Wash down the entire area until the soap and foamy residue is completely gone.

Leave the deck to dry naturally in the sun before applying any stain or paint onto the clean timber.

For stubborn stains, mould or mildew, there are a few key ingredients which can strengthen your homemade cleanser.

These include:


This mineral compound will banish mould and mildew in an instant.

Just add one cup of it into your DIY cleansing solution at the same time as your powdered oxygen bleach.

Oxygen bleach paste

Stubborn stains can be treated with a small amount of oxygen powder bleach and water and scrubbed away with a stiff-bristle brush.

You should do this after the four-step cleaning process has been completed, just be sure to rinse the area after spot-treating your decking.

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