Cleaning wooden decking

Wooden decking can quickly become covered by a green film, especially in shadowy areas. You may have wondered from time to time whether wood decking can be cleaned with a high-pressure cleaner – here, we show you how to clean wood decking properly and what you need to be aware of.

Cleaning wooden decking

Wood types and durability classes

First of all, the type of wood used for the decking is the primary factor in determining whether you can clean it with a high-pressure cleaner. Decking boards and bottom panels are usually made from oak, beech, teak, larch, spruce or bangkirai.
These wood types are split into different durability classes. Class 1 and 2 woods are considered extremely durable, robust and hard-wearing. These include tropical woods such as bangkirai and teak, but also native woods such as robinia, larch or European oak. By contrast, beech and spruce are less durable.
To help you keep your decking in good condition, find out which class of wood was used to make your decking before beginning the cleaning process.

How to clean

Class 1 and 2 woods can be cleaned either with a hard brush (manually) or with a high-pressure cleaner together with a wash brush or a surface wash brush.

STIHL wash brush

We also have a surface wash brush with integrated rubber lip especially for cleaning sensitive surfaces.
You can also clean particularly stubborn dirt using a spray lance or a rotary nozzle. However, before doing so, you should reduce the pressure on the cleaner or at the nozzle head. Higher pressure delivers better cleaning performance, but if the pressure is too high then you could damage the fibres on the surface of the wood. The damage may not be visible at first glance, but the wood’s surface becomes coarse. Because of this, you should use sandpaper to smooth any areas you have cleaned with a high pressure cleaner at the end of the cleaning process. If you do not, you will need more oil to treat the wood, and that will cost you money.
Decking made from less durable woods such as beech and spruce should be cleaned using a broom. Stubborn dirt can be removed using a brush or a scrubber. Then, simply wash away the dirt using your garden hose and, if necessary, soapy water.
As a rule of thumb for any decking: make sure you treat the wood to protect it after cleaning, e.g. by using oil.

Under the decking

Even though no one ever looks underneath your decking, you should still make sure it is clean. The area between the sub-structure and the decking should be freed from any leaves and other dirt on a regular basis, e.g. with a leaf vacuum or a blower. This prevents the decking from rotting and helps to keep out fungi and pests.

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