How to Clean and Stain a Deck

Undoubtedly, snow, rain, and sunshine take a toll on the deck. Hence, it is important to know how to clean and stain a deck to bring it back to its glory.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you didn’t take good care of it.

Even if you do that, natural wear and tear do its work. Timber desks naturally tend to lose their oils and shine. Hence, the old rough look.

After all, it is the first thing one notices before even coming inside your house. So, maintaining it is imperative.

Generally, there are many issues like over-application of the stain, grease spots immediately after staining, stain chipping off, etc.


How to Clean and Stain a Deck – 12 Steps to Do It Right, Every Time:

Certainly, we will tell you the right way to clean and stain a deck in 12 simple steps. All you need to do is collect all your tools and get down to work.

So, what are you waiting for?

Step 1 – Gather All the Materials:

Stain a Deck with Paint Roller

The first step is to get all the materials ready. Make sure you have all the following things on the list:

Step 2 – Test It First:

An often overlooked step that is very important is to check whether your deck needs cleaning and staining.

Confused you, haven’t I?

Well, at times we think the deck needs working on but at times that is not the case.

Let me tell you a little secret:

A water test is the best way to find out that the deck can absorb a finish or sealer. For instance, just sprinkle a little amount of water on the deck and check if it soaks or not. Furthermore, check if it soaks down immediately or not!

If it does, your deck requires attention. On the other hand, if not, it may not need sealing as yet.

Step 3 – Sweep It Away:

Now, give the deck a good, thorough sweep. This will let you analyze and assess how much work needs to be done.

Step 4 – Hammer the Nails in:

Nailing in Deck

Most importantly, check if there are any loose nails. Be sure to hammer them in well.

Be safe!

Not doing this properly will not only lead to an uneven deck. Moreover, it can be dangerous to you also.

Step 5 – Remove Mold:

Is there any mold present? If yes, remove the entire mold which you can. The reason is, the mold can ruin the cleaning and staining process.

How to clean the mold?

Well, all you need to do is follow the instructions on the manual of the mold-remover. However, be sure to use a good quality one.

Step 6 – Sand It Down:

Do you see splinters present?

Ah, we have thought of it even before you! Sometimes, you have little splinters coming out of the deck. Therefore, it is important to sand the deck before you start.

Do it easily with the help of a knife.

Caution: Always wear goggles and a safety mask when you start to sand as the debris can go in your eyes.

Step 7 – Timber Prep:

Use a timber prep product to clean it once and for all. With the help of it, you can clean all the grease, dust, dirt, wax, oil, and other contaminants.

Again, reading the instructions on the particular timber prep you are using is wise.

Step 8 – Apply the Cleaner:

Next, apply the cleaner. The best thing here is to involve someone else.

This is how it goes:

One person should apply the cleaner. Whereas, another person should roll out the deck with a roller.

Why is that important?

It ensures that there are no puddles of cleaner on the deck and it is even.

Now, before it dries, scrub the tough areas.

Step 9 – Rinse It and Let It Dry:

Clean the Deck before staining

Now, wash the cleaner off. Lastly, to finish the cleaning process, let the deck dry completely. This is very important before you go ahead to stain the deck.

Let your deck dry!

Meanwhile, we will go ahead and see the through which we can stain the deck quickly and efficiently.

Step 10 – Check the Weather:

Undoubtedly, staining requires at least 2 days of dry weather. Thus, it is important to check the weather before you start staining.

Repeat steps 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Step 11 – Stir the Sealer/Stain:

Once you have decided what color to use, you are good to go.

But wait! Didn’t find the color of your choice?

Don’t fret!

You can easily mix different colors of stain to make the one you want.

Tip: Check the color consistency before going ahead!

Next, stir the sealer well.

Tip: NEVER shake the sealer. If you do so, little bubbles will form and ruin the entire liquid.

Step 12 – Apply the Stain/Sealer:

Applying the Stain

Always start by applying a very thin coat. For this, use your roller with an extension for a perfect application.

Tip: Sure, a thick coat will save you time. But, 2 thin coats are better than a thick one. The reason is, a thick one will not adhere to the deck properly. So, why risk ruining the stain?

Similar to how you washed the deck, get one person to come along.

You can’t let things puddle up, can you?

So, get someone to help you out. One person should apply the stain, the other one should roll it out.

Step 13 – Cover-Up Well:

Use a paintbrush to cover the difficult-to-reach places.

Do you still see discoloration and wood grain?

A second coat will do the trick for you.

Step 14 – Let It Dry Naturally:

Last but not least:

Let the stain dry naturally.

Now, do you understand why we said to check the weather conditions before staining?

Yes. To ensure that it dries off naturally. Certainly, it will take a couple of days to dry off completely.


We have told you the easiest 12 steps of how to clean and stain a deck as the professionals do. Moreover, the steps included in our guide are very simple to follow and require little to no expertise in this field.

Furthermore, you can easily clean and stain the deck at home without spending heavy bucks.

Best of all:

The satisfaction of doing the work yourself is immense. But, safety should be your first priority. Hence, always wear protective gear before you get down to dealing with chemicals.

Happy Staining!


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