Pressure Washing Wood Deck [2023 Updated]

Are you tired of staring at the unsightly grime and stains on your once-beautiful wood deck? Do you want to restore its former glory without resorting to costly and time-consuming restoration methods? Look no further than pressure washing. With the right equipment and technique, pressure washing can effectively remove dirt, mold, and other contaminants from your deck, revealing a fresh and clean surface. 

Pressure Washing Wood Deck? Pressure washing your wood deck is an effective way to remove dirt, grime, and stains. However, it can also damage the wood if done incorrectly. Use a lower pressure setting, aim the nozzle at a downward angle, and avoid getting too close to the surface to protect your deck while cleaning.

In this blog, we will guide you through the process of pressure washing a wood deck, helping you achieve a like-new look in no time.



Before you start pressure washing your wood deck, it is crucial to prepare the surface properly. A well-prepared surface will not only ensure the best possible results but will also help to protect the wood from damage during the cleaning process.

Following are the essential steps you need to take to prepare your wood deck for pressure washing. From clearing the deck of any furniture or debris to protecting nearby plants and shrubs, we will cover everything you need to know to ensure a successful pressure washing experience. So, let’s dive in and learn how to prepare your wood deck for pressure washing.

Gathering necessary equipment and materials

Gathering necessary equipment and materials is an essential part of preparing for pressure washing a wood deck. You will need a pressure washer with adjustable pressure settings, a garden hose, a deck cleaner solution, a scrub brush, safety goggles, and protective clothing.

It’s also recommended to remove any furniture or obstacles from the deck and cover nearby plants and surfaces to protect them from damage. By having all the necessary equipment and materials ready beforehand, you can ensure a smooth and efficient pressure washing process for your wood deck.

Clearing the deck of any obstacles

Before pressure washing your wood deck, it’s essential to clear the deck of any obstacles such as furniture, toys, or plants. This will ensure that the entire surface of the deck is accessible and will prevent any potential damage or accidents from occurring.

You can also cover any nearby plants or shrubs with plastic sheeting to protect them from the pressure washing process. By properly preparing your deck, you’ll be able to achieve optimal results and prolong the lifespan of your deck.

Covering nearby plants and furniture

When pressure washing a wood deck, take precautions to protect nearby plants and furniture from damage. Covering them with plastic sheeting or tarps can prevent water and debris from getting on them during the cleaning process.

This can also help to prevent any cleaning solutions or chemicals from affecting the plants or staining the furniture. Taking the time to properly prepare the surrounding area can ensure that the deck cleaning process goes smoothly and does not cause any unintended damage.

Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning Solutions

Using only water for pressure washing may not be enough to remove stubborn stains and deep-seated dirt. That’s where cleaning solutions come in. Cleaning solutions can enhance the cleaning power of pressure washing, making it easier to remove dirt, stains, and other contaminants from the wood surface.

Following are the different types of cleaning solutions available for pressure washing a wood deck, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to choose the right one for your deck.

Choosing the right cleaning solution

When pressure washing a wood deck, choose the right cleaning solution. A good cleaning solution should be gentle enough to not damage the wood, but strong enough to remove dirt and grime.

Some effective cleaning solutions for wood decks include oxygen bleach, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and specialized deck cleaners. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any cleaning solution and to wear protective gear such as gloves and eye protection.

Also, rinse the deck thoroughly after cleaning to remove any remaining cleaning solution.

Mixing the cleaning solution

When pressure washing a wood deck, mixing the cleaning solution is an important step to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning. It is recommended to use a cleaner specifically designed for pressure washing, and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting the solution.

Wear protective gear and to test a small, inconspicuous area of the deck before applying the solution to the entire surface. By properly mixing the cleaning solution, you can remove dirt, stains, and grime from your wood deck and restore its natural beauty.

Applying the cleaning solution to the deck

When applying a cleaning solution to a wood deck, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions. Thoroughly mix the solution and apply it evenly to the entire surface of the deck.

A pump sprayer or a garden sprayer can be used to apply the solution, avoid oversaturating the wood or allowing the solution to dry on the surface. After applying the solution, allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time before rinsing it off with a pressure washer.

Pressure Washing

Pressure Washing

While pressure washing can be a powerful tool, it’s essential to understand the proper techniques to avoid causing damage to delicate surfaces such as wood decks.

Here is a closer look at pressure washing wood decks, discussing the benefits, techniques, and precautions you should take to ensure that your deck looks its best for years to come.

Setting up the pressure washer

When setting up a pressure washer for cleaning a wood deck, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, make sure to choose the right nozzle for the job, as using too much pressure can damage the wood. Next, adjust the pressure and flow settings on the machine to ensure a gentle, yet effective clean. It’s also important to prepare the deck beforehand by removing any furniture or debris and wetting down the surface.

Take safety precautions such as wearing eye and ear protection, and avoid directing the spray towards yourself or others.

Starting with low pressure

When pressure washing a wood deck, start with low pressure to avoid damaging the wood. Using high pressure can cause splintering, gouging, and other damage to the wood, which can lead to costly repairs. Starting with low pressure allows you to gently clean the surface of the wood while still removing dirt and grime.

Using a wide fan nozzle can help distribute the pressure evenly and prevent damage. Remember to always test the pressure washer on a small, inconspicuous area before starting the job to ensure that the pressure is appropriate for the wood type and condition.

Adjusting pressure according to need

Adjusting pressure according to need is an essential aspect of pressure washing a wood deck. The pressure setting on the pressure washer should be adjusted based on the condition of the wood and the type of stains or dirt that need to be removed. For example, a lower pressure setting is suitable for cleaning delicate or softer woods to avoid damaging the surface.

On the other hand, a higher pressure setting may be required to remove tough stains or dirt buildup. It’s crucial to experiment with different pressure settings and spray patterns to achieve the desired cleaning results without damaging the wood surface.

Methodically cleaning the deck

Methodically cleaning the deck involves using a step-by-step approach to ensure thorough and effective cleaning. This includes prepping the deck by removing furniture and debris, applying a deck cleaner, letting it soak in, and then using a pressure washer with the appropriate nozzle to rinse the deck thoroughly.

Work in sections and maintain a consistent distance from the deck to avoid damage. After cleaning, allow the deck to dry completely before reapplying any finishes or sealants.

Rinsing the deck

Rinsing the deck after pressure washing is a crucial step in maintaining the wood’s integrity. It removes any remaining dirt, debris, and cleaning solution that may have been left behind during pressure washing. Using a high-pressure setting during rinsing can damage the wood, so it’s recommended to use a lower setting or a fan nozzle to distribute the water evenly.

Rinsing should be done thoroughly to avoid any residual cleaner that can attract dirt and grime, and the deck should be left to dry completely before applying any sealant or stain.

Finishing Touches

After a thorough pressure washing session, your wood deck is left looking fresh, clean, and ready for some finishing touches.

Following are some finishing touches you can add to your newly cleaned deck to make it look like new again. From staining and sealing to adding new furniture and décor, these tips will help you take your deck to the next level. 

Inspecting the deck for remaining dirt or stains

When pressure washing a wood deck, inspect the deck thoroughly for any remaining dirt or stains before applying any finishing touches. This step ensures that the deck is completely clean and ready for any further treatment.

Inspecting the deck can also help identify any potential damage or areas that require repair before proceeding with the finishing touches. Using a combination of cleaning solutions and a pressure washer can effectively remove most dirt and stains, but spot treat any remaining areas to achieve a spotless finish.

By inspecting the deck for remaining dirt or stains, homeowners can ensure that their deck looks beautiful and lasts for years to come.

Applying wood sealant or stain

Applying wood sealant or stain is a crucial step in finishing a pressure-washed wood deck. Sealants and stains help protect the wood from moisture and UV damage, preventing rot and discoloration. It’s essential to choose a high-quality product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Usually, it’s recommended to apply the sealant or stain with a brush or roller, working in small sections and following the grain of the wood. Allow the product to dry completely before using the deck, and to reapply every few years for maximum protection and longevity.

Putting back furniture and plants

After pressure washing a wood deck, it’s essential to take care when putting back furniture and plants. The deck should be completely dry before returning any items to it. It’s recommended to lift rather than drag furniture to avoid damaging the newly cleaned surface. Using plant stands or trays can help protect the deck from water damage and staining from the plants. Consider rearranging furniture and plants to avoid creating a permanent impression on the wood.

Safety Tips

Safety Tips

When it comes to pressure washing your wood deck, safety should always be your top priority. While pressure washing can be an effective way to clean your deck, it can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.

In this section, we’ll go over some essential safety tips to keep in mind before and during the pressure washing process. By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the job done efficiently and safely.

Protective clothing and gear

When pressure washing a wood deck, it’s essential to prioritize safety, and one crucial aspect of this is wearing appropriate protective clothing and gear. This includes protective eyewear, gloves, and non-slip shoes to prevent injuries while operating the pressure washer. Also, it’s crucial to wear clothing that covers the skin and to avoid loose clothing that can get caught in the equipment. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure a safe and successful pressure washing experience for your wood deck.

Avoiding injuries

When pressure washing a wood deck, take certain precautions to avoid injuries. Some key safety tips to keep in mind include wearing protective gear such as goggles and gloves, avoiding direct contact with the pressure washer’s spray, using a lower pressure setting for wood surfaces, and keeping a safe distance from electrical outlets and power sources. Furthermore, be aware of potential hazards such as slippery surfaces and unstable footing, and to take necessary measures to ensure a safe working environment. By following these guidelines, you can help prevent injuries and ensure a successful and safe pressure washing experience.

Using caution with electrical equipment

When pressure washing a wood deck, use caution with electrical equipment to ensure safety. This includes ensuring that the electrical outlets and cords are protected from water, using ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and wearing protective gear such as rubber-soled shoes and gloves. Familiarize oneself with the specific pressure washer being used and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. By taking these precautions, the risk of injury or damage can be minimized, making the pressure washing process safer and more effective.


Maintaining the appearance and durability of your wood deck is crucial to its longevity and overall aesthetic appeal. A regular maintenance routine not only enhances the natural beauty of your deck but also protects it from environmental factors such as harsh weather, mold, and mildew. Pressure washing is an effective way to clean and maintain your wood deck, use the right tools and techniques to avoid damage. Following are the benefits of pressure washing your wood deck and provide you with the steps to do it effectively and safely.

Regular cleaning and maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance is crucial to keep your wood deck looking beautiful and safe. A combination of dirt, grime, and moisture can cause mold and mildew to grow, leading to potential safety hazards. It’s recommended to clean your deck at least once a year, and more frequently if you live in an area with high humidity or if your deck gets a lot of foot traffic. In addition to cleaning, regular maintenance such as sanding and staining can help protect the wood and extend its lifespan. By following a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule, you can enjoy your deck for years to come.

Avoiding damage to the wood

When pressure washing a wood deck, take precautions to avoid causing damage to the wood. To prevent damage, it’s recommended to use the appropriate pressure setting, maintain a safe distance from the deck surface, and avoid using hot water. Use the proper cleaning solution and to apply it evenly to the deck surface. Lastly, be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and seek professional help if needed. With these tips in mind, you can effectively pressure wash your wood deck without causing any harm to the wood.

Protecting the deck from the elements

To protect your wood deck from the elements, take preventative measures. This includes cleaning it regularly with a pressure washer to remove dirt, debris, and mildew that can cause damage over time. Applying a waterproof sealant can help to protect the wood from moisture and UV rays, which can cause the wood to warp and fade. Keep your deck clear of any standing water, which can lead to rot and decay. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your wood deck stays looking beautiful for years to come.


Pressure washing a wood deck is an essential maintenance task that can help keep your outdoor living space looking its best for years to come. By removing dirt, grime, and other build-up, pressure washing can extend the life of your deck and prevent costly repairs down the line.

In addition to its practical benefits, a clean wood deck also offers aesthetic advantages. It can enhance the beauty of your home’s exterior and create a welcoming atmosphere for family and guests.

As a final thought, remember that pressure washing should be done correctly and with care. Improper use of a pressure washer can cause damage to your deck and potentially harm yourself or others. It’s always recommended to hire a professional or do thorough research before attempting to pressure wash your deck on your own.

With that said, we highly recommend pressure washing your wood deck to maintain its appearance, prevent damage, and increase its lifespan. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, taking care of your deck is a wise investment in your home’s value and your own enjoyment of your outdoor living space.

Frequently Asked Questions (Pressure Washing Wood Deck)

Is it OK to power wash a wood deck?

Yes, it is generally acceptable to power wash a wood deck. Power washing can effectively remove dirt, grime, and mildew from the surface of the deck, restoring its appearance. However, it is important to use the appropriate pressure and technique to avoid damaging the wood.

How do you power wash a deck without damaging the wood?

To power wash a deck without causing damage to the wood, there are a few key steps to follow. First, choose a pressure washer with an adjustable nozzle or one specifically designed for wood surfaces. Use a low-pressure setting, typically around 1,200-1,500 psi, to avoid excessive force on the wood.

Keep the nozzle at a safe distance from the deck, usually around 12-18 inches, to prevent splintering or gouging. Additionally, it’s recommended to work in the direction of the wood grain and avoid lingering too long in one area.

Is it OK to pressure wash wood?

Yes, pressure washing wood is generally safe and effective when done correctly. Pressure washing can remove stubborn stains, algae, moss, and other contaminants from the surface of the wood. However, it is crucial to use the appropriate pressure setting and technique to avoid damaging the wood.

Higher pressure settings should be avoided, as they can cause splintering or gouging. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and exercise caution to prevent harm to the wood.

How do I protect my deck after pressure washing?

After pressure washing your deck, it is important to take steps to protect and maintain its condition. First, allow the deck to thoroughly dry for at least 48 hours before applying any sealants or stains. This ensures that moisture trapped in the wood evaporates completely. Next, inspect the deck for any loose boards, nails, or screws, and make any necessary repairs.

Finally, apply a protective sealant or stain to help prevent water damage, UV fading, and to enhance the wood’s natural beauty. Follow the product instructions for application and reapplication timelines based on your specific climate and deck usage. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and resealing, will help extend the life of your deck.

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Andrew Joseph
Andrew Joseph

Introducing Andrew Joseph, a pressure washing expert with 15 years of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial projects. Andrew shares his vast knowledge through insightful blog posts, offering valuable tips and best practices for optimal cleaning results. His passion for educating others, combined with his extensive expertise, makes Andrew an indispensable resource for those looking to master the art of pressure washing.