Cleaning a Deck Before Staining

As the leaves start turning into their golden autumn tones, it's time to give your home's outdoor living space a protective and rejuvenative coat of deck stain. Deck stain and paint not only delivers a fresh new look for the changing seasons and the year to come, but also prevents moisture from damaging the lumber throughout the rough winter ahead.

How to Clean a Deck Before Staining?

Before slathering another lovely coat of deck stain, paint, or penetating oil, it's important clean off your deck and start anew! Here are some quick, simple steps on how to clean a deck before staining.

Cleaning a deck before staining will help your deck stain last longer, look more vibrant, and protect your lumber the most

Steps to Cleaning a Deck Before Staining

Clear the Deck

Take a second and safely remove everything from your deck surface and the surrounding area to prevent any issues during cleaning. Place all deck and patio furniture in the house or in the yard. Set aside any rugs, welcome mats, floor plants, or other outdoor decoations to keep a clear space to clean the deck before applying stain.

Sweep the Space

Grab your hard-bristled garage sweep or household broom and give your outdoor living space a good thorough brush down! From dusty old cobwebs and dried-up acorns to colorful pollen and debris from the seasons before; getting the top layer off your decking will help your cleaning really take hold.

Sand the Old Stain Away

If your deck or outdoor space has been previously painted or stained, you'll need to remove that outer layer. Use a belt sander or orbital sander and slowly work your way from one end of the wood deck to the other. Once the top layer of deck paint or stain is removed, give your space one more light sweeping.

Protect the Plants and Landscaping

If there are trees, flowers, and landscaping near your outdoor living space, go ahead and set down large protective tarps over the top of them. This will prevent any of the chemicals or cleaners used to scrub the deck from damaging or harming your hard-earned green thumb!

Scrub the Deck

Deck cleaners, such as the Wood Deck Cleaner and Brightener by DeckWise or the TimberTech Deck Cleaner, will lift and remove any stuck-on grime from your wood deck boards. These deck cleaning solutions will soak down into the dry wood. Then oxygen ions will deep clean the wood deck surface by breaking apart dirt, algae and mildew molecules.

Use a hard-bristled brush to scrub on the deck cleaner and work the solution into the fibers of the deck boards. Allow the deck cleaner to sit and concentrate for around 15-20 minutes, then rinse away with clean water from the tap or garden hose.

Air Dry the Deck

Once everything is washed off, allow the deck boards to dry in the sunshine. Wait at least 2-3 days for the wood decking to fully dry before applying any deck stain or paint.


You can also clean mold from decking, remove moss from your deck, and clean algae from wood with our deck cleaners and brighteners: Messner’s Cleaner and Brightener or the DeckWise Wood Deck Cleaner and Brightener. In stock and ready to use, these cleaners prevent mold, block algae growth, and bring new life back to your outdoor space.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! To learn more about how to build your family's dream outdoor space or keep your home's deck in tip-top shape for decades, give one of our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!