During this lovely time of year and after the harsh winter weather, people often ask themselves ‘how should I clean my garden decking?, it’s a mess‘. It seems that the first few days of British summer always bring people out in numbers to the garden and the condition of their decking after the winter months is quite poor.
There is also an important safety aspect for keeping your garden decking surface clean, as it will prevent the surface from becoming slippery.
Cleaning and maintaining hardwood decking isn’t hard and will ensure that the structure will remain in great condition for years to come despite the elements. In fact, provided care and maintenance is preserved, hardwood decking could easily exceed 30 years.
How To Clean Hardwood Decking:
Cleaning your deck isn’t very complicated and does not have to cost much as most of the tools you’ll need are probably scattered around the house. Our four cleaning steps below are meant to ensure that the decking comes out clean and that you do not damage the wood in the cleaning process. You should also ensure that the cleaning is done in the dry so that the wood has time to naturally dry.
1. Start by making sure that the decking surface is free of any clutter and garden furniture. Place these far away from the deck so that the spray from the cleaning solutions or chemicals used (optional) will not penetrate them. Pay close attention to ensuring that you not drag any piece of furniture on the deck as you might damage the wood or it’s oiled coating. Therefore you should consider getting a helping hand for this step, especially if you have to move tables and chairs.
2. Perform a basic cleaning of the deck by using a stiff broom and a pressure washer if you have one. Give the deck a thorough brush followed by jet wash using a pressure washer ‘wash brush’ which nowadays comes as an extension with most pressure washers. This step will help get rid of dirt and debris which has accumulated over the winter months. Do not use an industrial grade pressure washer (above 1500 psi/100 bar) as it might damage the wood. Pressure washers which are used as multi-purpose home and car cleaners will work just fine. If you don’t have one, use normal water jet from your garden hose.
3. Now that the deck is free from any clutter and dirt you can focus on cleaning the wood using a dedicated cleaning product or soda crystals. To use the cleaning product, follow its instruction and be sure to pick one which works with your species of wood (teak, ipe, iroko etc). If you are unsure, then purchase a chemical agent which is multipurpose for any decking wood species, these are widely available from B&Q and Home Base for around £5. To use soda crystals, simply spray warm water over the decked surface and sprinkle soda crystals. Leave the decking for a few hours and once dry brush using a stiff broom. Stage three is the reason why the cleaning should be done in the summer when the decking has time to dry.
4. To finish the cleaning process simply rinse the deck area completely to remove any trace of the cleaning solutions and chemical agents. Allow the deck 3 to 4 hours to dry completely before placing the furniture and other items back on.
On-going Care and Maintenance:
There is a lot of common sense when on-going maintenance is concerned. From time to time or when needed give the deck a thorough brush, quickly clean up spills to avoid stains and refrain from dragging heavy objects around. On top of regular cleaning, some wood species which do not boasts natural oils might require the occasional top up. Contact your supplier for further details on this issue.
Enjoy the summer and your garden.