In this guide we’ll take a look at the best decking cleaners for the UK market.
I’ve compared cleaning ability, treatment times, solution safety and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Decking Cleaner?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Great value and effective product for killing moss and algae!
This Pro-Kleen 5 Litre Decking Cleaner will kill algae and decking quickly and effectively with no need to rinse. Producing 25 L of product when diluted with water, this cleaner can get to work on decking, sheds and fences as well as uPVC windows, caravans and conservatories. Plus the effects keep working, keeping these surfaces clear for longer.
Things to Know Before Buying Decking Cleaner
As the weather warms up, us Brits love to be outside as much as possible, and if you’re as obsessive about your decking as I am, you’ll need the best decking cleaner to ensure your outdoor space is summer-ready.
A simple decking cleaner has a huge range of uses; it’s one of my favourite purchases for sprucing up the garden without spending a fortune on a pressure washer!
If you’re considering purchasing decking cleaner but aren’t sure where to start, the following advice will help you get up to speed:
While pressure/jet washers are popular options for deep cleans, they are much more expensive than a simple bottle of deck cleaner. Plus, if used too often, pressure washers can damage surfaces by dislodging grouting, getting under porous materials etc.
Another problem with using a pressure washer is that if you use one to clean a surface which has a covering of algae, moss or mould, the jet of water can actually spread the spores of these to other parts of the decking. Initially the decking will look much cleaner, but you may quickly notice an even wider spread of algae, moss or mould.
If you do want to use a pressure washer, you should really consider using decking cleaner first to kill off the spores. This way they won’t spread around when you do use the jet.
Decking cleaners are a much less abrasive option that won’t cause damage to your deck. What’s more, they offer long lasting protection against algae and moss – these products stop this type of organic matter growing back for several months.
In most cases, a decking cleaner is a lot less labour intensive than using a pressure washer, you simply spray on or spread the diluted solution, wait for it to dry, and that’s it! You generally don’t need to rinse these products although there are some which do require hosing off. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to see how to use the specific cleaner that you buy.
Decking cleaners can contain a range of chemicals, some harmful and some less so.
Several of the cleaners in the reviews below promote the fact that they contain no acid or bleach, making them safe for children and pets once dry. If you have pets or kids who love to play outside, I highly recommend looking for one of these safe decking cleaners. These are also better for the environment than those filled with chemicals.
Of course, the highest strength decking cleaners may contain some harmful chemicals, and it is these that make them so powerful and effective. As always, check the manufacturer’s instructions and be aware exactly what chemicals you are putting on your decking.
If you do opt to use one of these higher-strength cleaners, make sure you are also wearing all the necessary safety attire, such as goggles and gloves if acid or bleach are involved.
Deck cleaning solution is generally very easy to use. The dilution rate may vary between brands, so this is something to check with each new product. Especially if you’re used to using a particular one.
Pay attention to the coverage area of each bottle once diluted. Some smaller bottles may be better value for money if the product is more concentrated.
Take a look at which surfaces the deck cleaner can clean. Most are safe to use on all wood and hard surfaces, but this is not always the case. It’s certainly something you want to double check before applying the product, instead of learning the hard way!
Some decking cleaners are formulated to remove mould and black spots. These are generally applied neat to these areas. However, not all cleaners are suitable for this purpose, so check this beforehand if you’ve got a bit of a mould situation developing. It can save you money if you buy a decking cleaner that can also combat mould and black spots as you don’t have to buy two products
If you are looking to save time, look for a decking cleaner that doesn’t need rinsing after application. All you need to do is wait for the solution to dry once applied. If you’re after hassle-free patio cleaning, this is the best option.
Most decking cleaners not only get your decking gleaming, they also can help keep mould and algae at bay for a few months after the first application.
Some decking cleaners reactivate when it rains, meaning there’s no need to reapply them very frequently at all. The best decking cleaner can inhibit the growth of mould and algae for up to 12 months. Quite the result for such a quick and hassle-free job!
If you are having issues with a specific type of mould, look for a decking cleaner with a specially targeted formula.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Decking Cleaner Reviews
Pro-Kleen 5 Litre Decking Cleaner Review
This Pro-Kleen 5 Litre Decking Cleaner is definitely one of the simplest products to use.
You simply 1-part cleaner to 4 parts water and apply it with a garden sprayer or watering can. Then leave it to get to work. There is no need to rinse or scrub!
I found this product really effective and within a few days the moss and algae on my decking was all but dead. A few weeks later, there was no sign of any regrowth. Not only is this simple to use and highly effective, but it goes on working over the next few months, meaning I should have a clean and slip-free deck throughout the autumn and winter.
This decking cleaner can be used on any wooden surfaces meaning it’s also suitable for fences and sheds. It can also be used on hard surfaces such as patios, driveways and walls.
A very versatile cleaner, you can use it to clean uPVC windows, conservatories, boats and caravans and well.
Moss will be killed but will remain on the deck and need to be removed manually, however, once it is dead it is really easy to sweep away.
One pack of this product will produce 25 L when diluted so provides plenty of cleaner to get all your outdoor surfaces clean and algae free in no time at all. This product is also non-acidic, bleach free, biodegradable and children and pets need not be excluded from the area once the product is dry.
I found this product really easy to use and very effective, beginning to work in just a few days. I also really like the fact that this product prevents mould re-growing so it will keep my deck clean and slip free over the coming months. It also offers great value, and in my opinion it’s the best decking cleaner for the money.
Ultima-Plus XP Decking Cleaner 5 Litres Review
This Ultima-Plus XP Decking Cleaner is a super-concentrated mould and algae remover. The solution makes a minimum of 50 L which is enough to clean 400 m² – ideal if you have a vast amount of decking or fencing to clean.
The decking cleaner can be mixed with up to 9 parts water for less problematic areas. As with the previous product, this is easy to use. Simply dilute and apply with a spray or watering can.
The solution is really powerful, and I noticed a massive reduction in algae within two days of applying the solution. The moss was also dead and brown at that point, and it was simple to brush away.
While this product is slightly more expensive than some of the others in this review, the dilution rate means a little goes a very long way. It’s suitable for use on all wooden surfaces and can also be used on patios, drives, terracotta pots, statues and uPVC windows.
Plus, it also prevents the regrowth of mould and algae for 6 months after use.
A really good point about this cleaner is that it’s biodegradable and non-caustic. It contains no acid or bleach and children and pets need not be excluded from the treated area once the product has dried.
There are several stand-out good points to this cleaner. Firstly, it’s the best decking cleaner if you have a large area to clean because of how far the product can go. Secondly, it’s also good for minor infestations of algae because you can treat it with an even more diluted solution.
Dirtbusters 5 Litre Patio Decking Cleaner Review
This Dirtbusters 5 Litre Patio Decking Cleaner is another spray-and-leave product that provides enough to clean up to 200 m² of decking or fencing. It can also be used on patios, paths, drives and uPVC.
As with the previous product, you simply dilute the contents and apply with a hand pressure sprayer or watering can. It’s mixed 1-part solution with 4-parts water.
This cleaner works quickly killing algae in a few days and even thick moss in about a week. This product also effectively controls regrowth for several months after application.
In my experience, it was simple to use and there’s enough cleaner to cover a large area. I found that the algae was mostly gone within 3 days of use and the moss was all dead within a week. Plus, no sign of anything growing back, even a few weeks later.
As with previous products, this decking cleaner does not contain acids or bleach so there is no need to exclude children or pets from the treated are once the product is dry.
Ronseal DC Decking Cleaner 5 Litre Review
This Ronseal DC Decking Cleaner is slightly different from the previous products as it is designed to be used before the application of treatments such as oils or wood preservers.
It cleans away algae, mildew, dirt and stains and also opens the pores of the wood to allow decking treatments to penetrate into the wood. One pack is enough to clean a deck of around 24 m².
The product can be applied with a garden sprayer, watering can or brush/broom, then left to get to work. You will need to rinse it off with a hose before applying the wood treatment.
It’s incredible how well this cleaner works, bringing up decking like new. It cleans away stains and dirt as well as algae as well as really getting into the decking grooves.
If you have a deck that has seen better days I would highly recommend this Ronseal cleaner. It takes a little more work than the other spray-and-leave products, but if your deck is dirty and grimy it is worth the effort as it really works extremely well.
This product is also the best decking cleaner to use before re-treating your deck as it allows the treatment to penetrate better and gives a really excellent finish.
It’s like the secret extra step that you never knew existed, capable of making the wood in your garden look even better after being treated.
Jarder 5 Litre Concentrate Decking Cleaner Review
This Jarder 5 Litre Concentrate Decking Cleaner is another spray-and-leave product that is very easy to use. One pack makes a minimum of 30 L of solution, providing enough to cover up 240 m².
It can also be applied neat or diluted to different strengths depending on the severity of the algae growth.
This decking cleaner got to work in a few days and left my decking looking clean and feeling less slippery. It provides a barrier to prevent regrowth for up to six months it should keep my deck slip-free for the rest of the year.
Again, this product can be used on a variety of surfaces including driveways, roofs, greenhouses and uPVC. The product is non-caustic, plus acid and bleach free. Once dry the treated area is safe for use by children and pets.
This was another easy to use product that got to work quickly and is keeping my deck clear algae and moss free.
Decking Cleaner FAQs
Jet washing can damage surfaces and also be a labour-intensive, messy job. The advantage of using a decking cleaner is that it does the job without causing any damage. Plus, it will keep the surfaces clear of algae and moss for months after use.
Another reason why jet washing isn’t the best tactic for a moss/algae-covered deck or patio is that the powerful spray will disrupt the algae spores and spread them further and wider. This could ultimately mean that you end up with even more algae on your deck/patio in the long run.
It is best to apply decking cleaner on a dry, still day, ideally when no rain is forecast for the next 8 hours. This will allow the product to get to work without getting washed away before it is dry.
You should ensure that children and pets are out of harm’s way when applying these products. Decking cleaners can irritate the skin and damage the eyes so wear gloves when handling these product. You should also wear protective eyewear, especially if you are spraying the cleaner. Bear in mind that many cleaning products can be harmful to aquatic life so do not use them around ponds or water courses.