Need to do some pressure washer deck cleaning to get it in shape for the summer - or prep it for staining? Read my pro tips on how to get the job properly - with the fastest results.
And you can check out my #1 deck detergent which will help you clean faster & give you pro results: economical Simple Green power washing soap on Amazon. (hint: commercial pressure washer contractors always use soap!)
Yes, with the right equipment and a little practice, you can easily & effectively clean your outdoor deck! You'll save lots of money by not hiring a contractor and you'll feel proud of your work.
First, make sure you take all your furniture, planters, grill or accessories off of your deck. You'll save time & avoid mistakes, damages or marks if you completely clear your deck before you start washing. And now is the time to replace any damaged or cracked boards.
Don't forget to seal your electrical outlets or jacks! Trust me, the last thing you want to do is to is get a nasty shock, so seal them up with plastic & duct tape. And make sure you wear boots to protect your feet.
And, if you have any shrubs, planters or trees on or near your deck, you really should throw a drop cover on them to protect them from damage.
A lot of people ask me if using pressure washer deck detergents or chemicals is really worth it. Yes, it is! You'd be surprised how much easier & faster it is to pressure wash your deck once the detergent has loosened the dirt, mud, bird crap, or mold from your deck surface.
You'll want to get a deck or fence detergent that clearly states that it is specially formulated for pressure washers. I also like to choose one that's biodegradable or "green". There are lots of formulas on the market & you can pick a quality, gallon sized jug for under $20.
And please take my advice: never use homemade pressure washer cleaning recipes or bleach! I can guarantee that you'll either damage your unit or your deck.
And I want to give you another tip about pressure washer deck detergents: most people don't give their detergent enough time to do it's job. Read your label. If the directions tell you to leave the detergent on for 8 mins - don't start cleaning before the 8 mins are up. It really makes a difference.
And don't forget that you'll need to use your low-pressure (or black) spray nozzle for applying all detergents or chemicals.
When you're ready to start cleaning, it's critical that you remember that your deck can be easily damaged by using the wrong nozzle/wrong pressure - or putting your nozzle too close to the surface.
A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your nozzle & wand at a 45 degree angle from the deck surface. Always, always keep your nozzle moving in long strokes and make sure you begin by keeping your nozzle at least 12" away from the deck surface. Move it closer, slowly, only if you have to. You'll be able to see the deck surface change color as you wash. Never put the nozzle closer than 6" away from the surface.
I like to start in an out-of-the-way corner to get a feel for it. And here's a great pro tip: move your tip parallel to the grain of the wood. Or along the length of the board. It will help you avoid cross-grain streaks or zebra stripes.
And speaking of pressure washer nozzles: never use the red (0 degree pin point) nozzle. It will gouge your deck like an engraver. You'll want to start pressure washer deck cleaning with a 40 degree (white) nozzle and only switch to a 25 degree (green) nozzle if you have to.
The truth is, you can clean or prep your deck with a quality electric or gas pressure washer. Both types will get the job done, but there are trade-offs to consider:
An electric pressure washer is lighter, quieter & will be easier to move around. But you'll always need an available electrical outlet nearby. And electrical pressure washers generally provide less PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) cleaning power, so the job will take longer.
A gas pressure washer is heavier and will take more effort to move it, but you won't need to have an electrical outlet. A gas pressure washer is noisier than an electrical model, but it will give you great PSI so you'll get your pressure washer deck cleaning done faster!
Here's My Top Recommendation for the Best Electric Pressure Washer:
I highly recommend the AR Blue Clean AR383 as the best electric pressure washer for any homeowner! Here's why I think it's the best electric unit:
It provides 1900 PSI which gives you very good cleaning power & speed - and it has an Annovi Reverberi Triplex 3 axial piston pump! As a pro, I know very well that the quality of your pump is critical for good cleaning results, consistent performance & long life. This Annovi Triplex pump is a much higher quality & longer lasting pump than you'll see on other electric washers. And you can read other customer reviews on Amazon.com.
And I know you'll really appreciate that this AR Blue Clean has a hose reel! Finally - you can get a hose reel on an electric unit! Trust me, the fact that you can neatly & quickly store your 20ft hose on the unit will help you work faster & more safely. And it's also easier to store. You can check this item at Amazons price.
And if you're interested in seeing a handy chart of all the pressure washer nozzle colors, and what cleaning jobs they're best suited for, see this Pressure Washer Nozzle Color Chart.
My Top 3 Pressure Washer Pump Picks on Amazon: