Effectively Pressure Washing The Old Wooden Deck

The most effective way to remove all sorts of dirt and grime that are starting to build up on decks is by pressure washing. Any deck will look as good as new in just a matter of hours. Pressure washer must be used with caution though, and it is vital to learn the proper way of using it for cleaning your old wooden deck. You don’t want to end up damaging it instead of bringing it to life.

In this article, you will find all the information you need that will help you through the process of cleaning your deck without worrying about causing cracks, splits, and damaging it.

Pressure washing process

Pressure Washer Cleaning Benefits

When prepping your old wood deck for refinishing, cleaning it with a deck brightener will not be enough. A pressure washer is the best tool you can use if want to deep-clean your outdoor space. Here some other benefits of pressure washing:

  • You can get rid of dirt, old stain, mildew, and mold safely.
  • It can remove various kinds of discoloration and stain with the use of plain water.
  • It can safely strip old finishes such as peeling paint and stains.
  • Can open wood pores which enable deep penetration of the deck finish or stain.


Before you start the job, make sure to get your workspace ready by doing the following:

  • Read the instruction manual of your equipment to determine the right spray tip and spray pattern for the task at hand. Also, the settings for high-pressure cleaning is different from the application of cleaning chemicals, so make sure to check this out as well.
  • Avoid tangling hoses and tripping yourself by removing any obstacles that may come in the way of your cleaning.
  • Protect nearby light fixtures and electrical components.
  • Close all nearby windows and doors to prevent water seeping inside your home.
  • Cover house plants with plastic. Although the majority of strippers are not designed to harm plants, protecting them is still a good idea and will only take a few minutes of your time.
  • Use a broom to sweep away any loose debris in the area. Applying a deck cleaner will loosen embedded dirt.
  • Make sure your pressure washer is kept in a safe area during the whole pressure washing process.
  • Pay close attention to the pattern of the wind.


Safety should also be your main priority when pressure washing. Thousands of people get injured which include lacerations when using a pressure washer. This may lead to severe infections once the concentrated spray penetrates your muscle tissue deeply. To prevent this, consider wearing the following:

  • Sturdy footwear
  • Long pants
  • Goggles and gloves
  • Avoid wearing pieces of jewelry and clothing that are loose

Another safety precaution you should keep in mind is to never use a gas power pressure indoors or in areas without proper ventilation. Ensure that to keep its engine exhaust away from areas that are occupied.

Techniques In Pressure Washing

It is crucial to read the owner’s manual of your machine and to follow the manufacturer’s manual to know what kind of wood cleaner you need to use and what the spray tip distance should be from the surface you’re pressure washing.

Before you start cleaning your wood deck, test the distance and spray pattern first on your fence or a small portion of the deck. Moreover, test the setting of the pressure spray on a hidden area of your deck to ensure that it will not ruin the surface.

Pressure Washing Techniques

You can avoid damaging your deck by knowing How to Properly Pressure Wash a Wooden Deck and by applying the proper techniques of pressure washing when preparing it for refinishing:

  • Adopt a sweeping motion when working along the grain of the wood, and ensure that the nozzle is moving all the time.
  • At the start of the first pass, pull the trigger and direct the water on the surface at a low angle.
  • Keep a distance of at least eight to twelve inches from the surface when working on a swath of wood that’s two boards wide. Avoid damaging your deck’s surface by spraying with the grain of the wood.
  • Your next pass should overlap the first, and then walk back the full length of your wood deck.
  • You can prevent lap marks by being consistent.
  • If there’s a need for you to stop before the whole area is clean, sweep the pressure washer nozzle up and away from the surface, and then release its trigger.
  • Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the entire surface of your deck, allow for it to dry a minimum of 24 to 48 hours before sealing and finishing it.
  1. Cleaner Application
    • Use a wood cleaner specially formulated for power washers and use a low-pressure soap nozzle.
    • Apply it from a bottom to top direction.
    • Scrub the detergent solution between deck balusters and tight corners using a utility brush.
    • For stained and dirty places, use the pressure washer rotating scrub brush attachment.
    • Avoid working on surfaces under direct sunlight or hot.
    • Let the solution settle on the deck surface as per the time specified by the manufacturer. The solution should not dry on the surface.
    • Once you’re done with the application of the cleaner solution, follow the instructions of the manufacturer on how to flush it from the system.
  2. Spraying Off The Wood Cleaner
    • When spraying off the detergent from your deck, work with its grain.
    • Start at the top and work your way to the bottom when rinsing to prevent streaks. For an even cleaning, spray in overlapping passes.
    • When you’re done spraying the solution, wait for at least 48 hours for the deck to dry before applying a sealer or stain.
    • Again make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer for reducing water pressure, getting rid of liquid from its pump, and proper storage of the machine.
    • Never operate the power pressure pump if the water supply is not connected and turned on.

    If you want to extend the appearance and life of your deck in a dramatic way, it is crucial to understand how to prepare it properly and applying a deck-coating system of the highest quality.