How to Clean a Wooden Deck Without a Pressure Washer

25 April 2023
Est. Reading: 2 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
Rubber gloves
A bucket of water
Pump hand sprayer
Wood-safe cleaning detergent
Hydrogen peroxide (or baking soda)
Wet-dry vacuum (Shopvac)
Long-handle deck brush with short, stiff bristles
Yard brush
(Optional) Waterproof shoes


Unfortunately, if the decking isn’t maintained, it could become slippery, and dangerous. Especially in a country where it rains often!

This is specifically for those who do not have access to a pressure washer. Regular cleaning products and some elbow grease can still get you great results. This method is especially useful for cleaning a deck in an apartment or high-rise building where you cannot use a lot of water. Or where you need to clean a deck without a hose.

In this tutorial, we show you how to clean a deck using a Shopvac wet/dry vacuum cleaner and deck brushes.

Step-By-Step Instructions

DIY steps on how you can clean your deck at home without a power washer.

Step One:
Start by clearing your deck of any furniture and plants.

Step Two:
Sweep its surface thoroughly to remove any remaining debris.

Step Three:
Prepare a mixture of cleaning detergent (as directed) in the spray bottle. Add a small amount of peroxide to the solution for extra cleaning power that helps dissolve and break down the mould and grime in the wood.

Step Four:
Liberally spray the solution onto the deck.

Step Five:
Scrub off any mould and mildew. Use the deck brush to scrub and break down the messy debris.

Step Six:
Using the yard broom, gently brush the cleaning agent into the wood. A slurry on the deck should be visible at this point.

Step Seven:
Allow the solution to dwell. Give the cleaner 10 to 15 minutes to work, depending on what you use. (Remember to carefully follow the directions on the bottle).

Step Eight:
Put some water from your bucket on the deck and re-brush with the yard broom.

Step Nine:
Vacuum out the slurry.

Step Ten:
Repeat steps 2 to 9 if necessary.

Step Eleven:
All to dry.

BONUS - How to Keep Your Wooden Deck Looking Good

You must properly maintain your wooden deck if you want to keep it in good shape. Constant exposure to the elements can damage your patio and shorten its lifespan. Although your decking will inevitably experience some normal wear and tear, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage.

  • Regularly cleaning your deck every six to twelve months will get rid of dirt and other debris that has accumulated over time.
  • Protect with a coat of sealant to help maintain its appearance for longer.
  • Day-to-day cleaning. Leaving the dirt, leaves, and debris to build up can lead to serious problems like wood rot.
  • Make repairs as necessary. Keep an eye out for any damage, such as splintered wood, loose nails, or fractured planks.
  • Use protective rubber feet on the base of any outdoor furniture to avoid scratching the deck.
  • Plant containers should be elevated to promote airflow and prevent the growth of mould.
  • Use caution when pressure washing. Power washers can damage and weaken the wood if the nozzle gets too close.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Your Deck

Although it is more convenient to use a pressure washer, by following this tutorial, you can still effectively clean your deck without one.

There are numerous ways to manage without a pressure washer if you have a wooden deck. Depending on how dirty your decking is, you should be able to achieve similar results with cleaning detergent and peroxide.

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