How To Power Wash a Deck The Right Way

Most people think that using a pressure washer is straightforward, however a pressure washer can ruin your deck if it’s not used properly. If you aim too close to the wood, you can cause permanent damage. If you don’t get close enough, you won’t remove the grime and will have to do it all over again. It is important to understand how to properly use a pressure washer before attempting to clean your deck. 

Knowing When to Pressure Wash 

Typically, power washing a deck only needs to happen once every few years. Unless serious grime is visible, you can make do by applying some cleaning solution and washing it away with a hose. However, if you live in an area that experiences heavy winters or other types of inclement weather, you may need to power wash more often. Keep an eye out for mold buildup and staining from dirt. 

You should also learn how to pressure wash a deck before staining it. Your deck may not have grime on it, but the color of the stain may wear away. While you can apply a new layer of the stain without power washing, a pressure wash can help prepare the wood to absorb the stain.

Preparing To Power Wash 

Before doing any housework you should always take some safety precautions. Power washing can be dangerous and you shouldn’t underestimate the pressure at which the water shoots out.

With this in mind, you should put on some heavy rain boots or other footwear that will protect your feet. You should also wear safety goggles and gloves to protect against any loose debris that may come at your face while spraying. You should also wear pants to protect your legs for the same reasons. Never point the pressure washer at someone else, and don’t operate it from a ladder. You should treat it as a serious power tool because it is one.

Next, you should prepare your deck by removing any and all objects from the area. Doing so will make it easier to maintain fluid motions and clean in an even layer. You should also cover any objects that can’t be moved, close the windows, and sand down any splinters

Below is a list of the tools and equipment you may need. 

Equipment / Tools

  • Pressure washer with a fan tip or rotating tip
  • Sheets of plastic (optional)
  • Random orbit sander (optional)


  • Deck stripper/brightener (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Washing the Deck and Aftercare 

First, you should scrub the wood before pressure washing, especially if you see grime. Most pressure washers come with a soap dispenser mode, so fill it up with a cleaner that will work for your wood. Switch to soap-only mode, and begin to cover any areas with grime. 

Then, you should use a synthetic scrubbing brush to massage the sprayed areas. This step will loosen the grime, making it easier to blast away stains during the washing phase. 

Now, you can begin the power wash. Switch to a wide nozzle and keep about a 2-foot distance from the wood while using the washer. This may seem far, but if you go too close to the wood, you may strip it.

While using the pressure washer, you should go from one side of the deck to the other for every plank. Use a sweeping motion as you go to ensure you’re cleaning off all the soap and gunk underneath. The sweeping motion will also help you cover each area with even pressure.

Turn To a Professional 

With this short guide on how to pressure wash a deck, you can tackle the process with the information you need to know. However, deck power washing isn’t easy and you may want to turn to a professional cleaning service to tackle the job. An experienced team will understand how to quickly clean your deck and leave it in pristine shape.