Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to wash your deck? This oxygen bleach homemade deck cleaner works great well and is non-toxic…it won’t harm your plants, pets or kids.
It’s the beginning of summer…time to start inviting some friends over to hang out on the deck! The only problem? The deck is covered in dirt and algae (and this winter was particularly cool and damp around here…perfect algae growing conditions!)
It definitely needs to be cleaned!
Over the years, I have tried lots of different store-bought cleaning products. Some work better than others, but almost all of them are really hard on the plants around my deck (and as you can see, I have a lot of plants around my deck!)…not to mention toxic for my pets and the stream flowing behind my house.
I’m also not a big fan of using pressure washers on the deck…if you don’t get the spray strength adjusted to the right level, it will take the surface off the deck boards…which makes the deck rough (and seems to make the grime come back even faster).
I finally stumbled across a homemade deck cleaner that is safe for plants, animals, and kids, doesn’t cost very much, and actually works really well! Oxi-Clean (otherwise known as oxygen bleach)!
Oxygen bleach uses oxygen ions to break apart the dirt which means no harmful chemicals are involved at all…and it’s inexpensive. I have a fairly large deck, and it takes about 2 cups of Oxi-Clean to do the whole thing.
Read on to see how to make your own inexpensive and non-toxic homemade deck cleaner (and how to apply it).
Ingredients & Supplies
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How To Make Oxygen Bleach Homemade Deck Cleaner
Not only is this homemade deck wash effective, it is also really easy to make…the only two ingredients you need are Oxygen Bleach (eg. Oxi-Clean*) and water.
Mix about ½ cup of oxygen bleach with 2 gallons of warm water in the bucket until it dissolves.
Depending on the size of your deck, you may need more than one batch to finish the job.
How To Clean Decking
Washing the deck with your homemade deck cleaning solution works best on a not-too-hot, not-too-sunny day so that the water doesn’t dry up before you have a chance to finish.
If you have a large deck, you may want to clean sections of it at a time to make sure the oxygen bleach solution doesn’t dry on the boards (it’s not the end of the world if it does…it’ll just mean more work for you to get it off).
1. Before applying your DIY deck cleaner, soak the deck with the hose. This will open up the wood pores and make it easier to get rid of the dirt. I also use it to clean out any debris that may have gathered in the cracks between the boards.
2. Use the deck brush to spread the oxygen bleach cleaning solution over the deck. If your deck has a pretty thick layer of dirt and algae like mine did, you’ll need to scrub a little to get it into the grooves.
3. Leave the solution on the deck for about 10 minutes.
4. Then wash it off with the hose. You can see the green coming off with the water!
If you have some really dirty spots, you may need to give them a second treatment. I usually use the slip test…if the boards are still slippery when wet, there’s still algae left on the surface…
After it dries, your deck will look as good as new.
Enjoy Your Clean Deck
After the deck has been washed with your DIY deck cleaner, you can bring out the furniture and the umbrellas.
In my case, those usually need cleaning, too…that algae grows everywhere! Fortunately, this oxygen bleach deck cleaner also works really well on patio furniture, siding, wood or poly-vinyl fences and pretty much any other outdoor surface that needs to be washed.
Then sit down with a cold iced tea (or whatever your beverage of choice is) and relax on your clean deck!
It’s hard to believe this is the same wood that was so green before! And the plants are completely unharmed.
Other Deck And Patio Ideas You Might Like
- Small Patio Decorating Ideas
- Palm Beach Chic Deck Design Ideas
- How To Keep Spiders Out Of Deck Boxes (Without Pesticides)
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This post was originally published on June 8, 2016 but was updated with new content on September 15, 2022.