The Dos and Don’ts of Pressure Washing Your Deck

Pressure washing can be an effective way to clean and maintain your deck, but it’s essential to follow proper techniques to avoid damage and achieve the best results. Here are the dos and don’ts of pressure washing your deck:


  1. Inspect the Deck: Before pressure washing, carefully inspect the deck for loose boards, protruding nails, or other damage. Make any necessary repairs before proceeding with pressure washing house washing.
  2. Use the Right Equipment: Choose a pressure washer with a wide-angle nozzle (typically 25 to 40 degrees) and a maximum pressure of 1,500 to 2,500 PSI for deck cleaning. Adjust the pressure as needed to avoid damaging the wood.
  3. Test on a Small Area: Before pressure washing the entire deck, test the equipment on a small, inconspicuous area to determine the appropriate pressure and distance for cleaning without causing damage.
  4. Keep a Safe Distance: Hold the pressure washer wand at least 12 to 18 inches away from the surface of the deck to avoid causing damage or gouging the wood. Maintain a consistent distance and angle to ensure even cleaning.
  5. Work in Sections: Divide the deck into manageable sections and clean one area at a time, working with the grain of the wood. Overlapping each pass slightly to ensure thorough cleaning.
  6. Use a Mild Detergent: For tough stains or mildew, use a mild detergent or deck cleaner designed for pressure washing. Apply the cleaner to the surface, allow it to penetrate for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  7. Rinse Thoroughly: After pressure washing, rinse the deck thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining detergent or debris. Pay attention to areas where water may pool, such as between deck boards, to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  8. Allow to Dry Completely: Allow the deck to dry completely before applying any sealant, stain, or protective coating. Depending on weather conditions, this may take a day or two.


  1. Use Excessive Pressure: Avoid using excessive pressure or narrow-angle nozzles, as this can damage the wood, strip away the finish, or cause splintering. Start with low pressure and gradually increase if needed.
  2. Pressure Wash Too Close: Do not hold the pressure washer wand too close to the deck surface, as this can gouge or etch the wood. Maintain a safe distance to prevent damage.
  3. Pressure Wash in Direct Sunlight: Avoid pressure washing the deck in direct sunlight or during the hottest part of the day, as this can cause the cleaning solution to dry too quickly and leave streaks or residue.
  4. Ignore Safety Precautions: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including eye protection, gloves, and non-slip footwear, when pressure washing. Exercise caution when using ladders or elevated surfaces.
  5. Use Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach for deck cleaning, as these can damage the wood and nearby vegetation. Stick to mild detergents or deck cleaners designed for pressure washing.

By following these dos and don’ts of pressure washing your deck, you can effectively clean and maintain its appearance while avoiding damage and ensuring long-lasting results. If you’re unsure about pressure washing your deck or encounter significant issues during the process, consider consulting with a professional pressure washing service for expert advice and assistance.

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