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How to Clean a Deck, with the Power of the Pressure Washer

Updated on August 1, 2017

How to Clean a Deck

If you are like me, and I bet you are, your deck is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of your frantic workday. Weather we enjoy curling up in our favorite chase lounge with a nice cup of tea and good book, or grabbing a cold beer and watch the big game or favorite youtube channel on our mobile device.

We really love our deck, and the comfort we get from relaxing in our very own little backyard oases. The thing is the little trail of ants that leads from the patio table across the deck and disappearing in the shrubbery, reminds us it is time, to discover how to clean a deck, restore the beauty of our backyard, landscape and our pride and joy.

Cleaning a deck made easy

Rare thinking people like us, realize the broom just does not get our deck clean. The electric leaf blower is not much help either when it comes to cleaning the stubborn dirt from our last backyard garden party we had on our deck. The time-tested method, bucket of soapy water and scrub brush is just too hard on our back and knees. Let us not dwell on such miseries. Instead, let us concern ourselves with what we really need, or dare I say want.

Home owner and Handyman power washer

For a homeowner and the handyman alike, there are really only two types of pressure washers from which to choose. One is an electric pressure washer; and the second, the gas powered pressure washer option. As you continue reading this article, I believe you will begin to see what your best options are, and how they will make your cleaning chores much easier and rewarding.

Electric pressure washers

Pressure washers powered by electricity are generally the easiest and the most reasonably priced power washers you can purchase. You simply plug the electrical cord provided with your power washer, into your twenty amp electrical outlet. Hook-up your garden hose to the water inlet fitting on the pressure washer and turn the water on, no fuel to mess with, no hard to pull starter ropes to pull, and no loud exhaust noises to hurt your ears or bother the neighbors.

Things you should know before you buy a pressure washer

In order to understand the pressure washer features, it is important we first understand the terms used to rate their cleaning power.

PSI, simply means (pounds per square inch), and is the units of measurement that the industry uses to rate cleaning force of a pressure washer. To help understand exactly what the PSI rating means, look at how it works for us.

1. 1,000 - 1,500 PSI: is a good choice for washing our cars, pick-up trucks, bicycles, lawn mowers, patio furniture and our barbeque grills

2. 1,400 - 1,850 PSI: appropriate to use when cleaning a brick patio, small deck and wood fence.

3. 2,000 - 3,000 PSI: more power for cleaning a large wood deck or washing aluminum or vinyl siding.

4. 2,800 - 4,000 PSI: is by far the best choice for cleaning stained concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios or stripping loose, blistered and flaking paint off the concrete wall, porch and garage floor.

GPM, (gallons per minute) in therating of a pressure washer, is the measurement used to tell us exactly, how much water the pump on the power washer uses every minute we use it when cleaning. The experts agree, the higher GPM rating, the better an electric pressure washer will clean.

CU, (cleaning units) is calculated by multiplying a pressure washers PSI by the GPM. The more CU (cleaning units), a pressure washer cleans much more efficiently. For instance, consider an electric powered pressure washer rated at 1500 PSI and .7 GPM.

To calculate the CU (cleaning units) of a pressure washer, use the 1500 PSI and multiply it by the .7GPM, which equals 1050 CU (cleaning units); now let us compare that to a similar power washer with the same 1500 PSI, but increase the GPM to 1.5.

After we do the math, WOW we discover the CU (cleaning units) increases to 2200 CU, which has more than doubled the cleaning units of the pressure washer with the higher GPM rating, subsequently doubling the pressure washers cleaning capability.

Garden Hose, consider this little fun fact, city water comes into our homes anywhere from five to seven GPM, and somewhere between forty and fifty PSI, rural county water is more often than not less than that. This relates to a whopping, 280-350 CU (cleaning units) available, maximum, if you live in a rural area your water may be less than half that. To check your GPM, use a five-gallon bucket and fill it with your garden hose, see how long it takes to fill the bucket. If the 5-gallon bucket has filled in 60 seconds, you have five GPM (gallons per minute).

Pressure Washers raided at 2,000 PSI and two GPM, deliver


Pressure Washers raided at 2,000 PSI and two GPM, deliver 4000 CU (cleaning units) and will easily clean 5 - 7 square feet of a deck per minute. While increasing to three GPM increases the cleaning power to 6000 CU (cleaning units) and 8 - 10 square feet a minute making cleaning a large deck easy and less time consuming.


How to Clean a Deck Using Pressure Washers

How to Clean a Deck Using Pressure Washers  


●        Selecting a Pressure Washer, for a homeowner on a limited budget, choosing an electric model makes since. There are trade offs however, the really cheep stuff, will not hold-up long or perform very well, you get what you pay for in other words.  If I may make a suggestion, Karcher K5.93 M 1,850 PSI, 1.5 GPM electric pressure washer, is as good as it gets in this price range.


        For those of us handyman or handywoman types that require more cleaning power, a gas pressure washer is the way to go. Just keep in mind; the cheap stuff for someone that only uses their power washer around twenty hours a year will last a couple seasons at best, then you throw it away and start over. They are not cost effective to repair. If I may make a suggestion, purchase a Simpson Power Shot Commercial-Duty Gas Powered Pressure Washer, the unit delivers a robust 3200 PSI at 3 GPM.  Honda GX270 overhead valve Engine is easy to start and fuel efficient, equipped with 50 feet' of MONSTER High-Pressure Hose the #PS3200 is available at Amazon, it will be money well spent and last for years, I promise.


●      Getting a Deck Ready for Cleaning requires, first thing remove all the patio furniture, barbeque grill and any container plants that you can. With everything removed, check the decking boards for any repairs you need to make. Loose deck boards, handrails and steps, safety first you know, you do not want your mother-in-law to do a header into the rose bushes, or would you.


●      Make it Easy on Yourself – Use Pressure Washers to clean away all the dirt, mold and mildew, bird poop, dog and cat food from your deck boards, it is as easy as 1, 2, 3,.


1.     Set-up your Pressure washer by running your garden hose from the water faucet on the house to the pressure washer pump’s inlet fitting, attach the cleaning wand and high-pressure hose to the output fitting and turn on the water faucet.

2.     Follow the manufactures operating and starting instructions so as not to damage the pressure washer and void the warranty. Use the properly rated extension cord when using an electric pressure washer, and take care do not let a gas powered pressure washer set with the engine running for an extended period, without water running through the pump. Keeping the thing from overheating and causing damage to the pump is a big deal, especially for the cheaply made stuff.

3.     Hold the nozzle a constant distance away from the deck, I have found 12 inches / 30.48cm is a good place to start. Any closer, you run the risk of damaging a wood deck board. Further away and your cleaning may result in uneven cleaning and streaking. Adjust the spray pattern to match the width of your deck boards, I personally like to use a fifteen-degree nozzle attached to the quick coupler on the end of the wand of the heavy-duty gas pressure washers, it makes cleaning a deck quick and easy work.


Use a Pressure Washer to Clean ...

● Use Pressure Washers around your home for all your cleaning jobs and make it easy on yourself. You do use a gas-powered lawn mower to cut your grass, right. You also use a weedeater to trim the grass around your house and landscape, right. You want to make it easy on yourself, to keep your home and garden clean and beautiful, right. Use a pressure washer for all of your cleaning projects, save your valuable time, money, increase your homes value, and curb appeal.

1. wash your deck

2. wash your driveway

3. wash your siding

4. wash your patio

5. wash your wood fence

The author of this publication, Mike Teddleton owns the copyright to, How to Clean a Deck, Make it Easy on Yourself  Use the PSI Power of Pressure Washers .The rights to publish this article in print or online can only be granted by contacting me the author in writing. You may use the intro and link back to the article directing the reader back to my post here at HubPages where they may find the story in its entirety

How to use a gas pressure washer to clean a wood deck


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    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Dolores Monet, thanks for the comment. Renting a pressure washer is a great way to get your deck, patio and driveways clean. I don't mind at all if you link this hub to yours on prassure washers, thanks for asking.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great information on pressure washers. They are great for sidewalks and if you are going to paint your house. We rented one last year and really cleaned the place up. Hope you don't mind me linking this to my own pressure wash hub. Yours has so much information.

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Katie, thanks for the comment I am glad you could use the tips on how to clean a deck. A power washer is a handy tool to have around, they make cleaning your driveway and house easy while helping to save water at the same time. I use mine all most as much as my leaf blower and hedge trimmers.

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      I just used your helpful hints on how to clean a deck and this did make it easy, just before this holiday. I powerwashed my deck, gazebo and swing it made for a very easy paint job. Everything looks great and we had a great time out back this holiday and thanks be to you for the helpful tips. Thanks Mike, Peace :)

    • Teddletonmr profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Teddleton 

      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      babee, thanks for the comment. Maybe you can get your deck clean using a pressure washer, then do another cooking class, this time on your beautifully cleaned deck. How about using it in your next hub pages cooking class...

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Perfect timing - we have this on our must-do-soon list!


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