As the weather warms up, we Brits are outside as much as possible and are reminded of all the different garden tasks that we’ve got to catch up on. One of them we often dread is cleaning the decking.
A decking cleaner can make this job a lot easier. It has a huge range of uses; it’s a favourite purchase for sprucing up the garden without spending a fortune on a pressure washer, and it’s an effective way to kill and stop the spread of mould, algae and lichen.
If you’re considering purchasing decking cleaner but aren’t sure where to start, the following advice will get you up to speed:
Decking Cleaner Vs. Pressure Washer
Whilst the best pressure washers are popular options for deep cleans, they are much more expensive than a simple bottle of deck cleaner. Plus, if used too often, a pressure washer can damage surfaces by dislodging grouting and getting under porous materials.
Another problem with using a pressure washer is that if you use one to clean a surface that has a covering of algae, moss or mould, the jet of water can spread the spores of these to other parts of the decking. Initially, the decking will look much cleaner, but you may quickly notice a wider spread of algae, moss or mould close by.
If you do want to use a pressure washer, you should consider using decking cleaner first to kill off the spores. This way they won’t spread around when you use the jet.
Deck cleaning products are a much less abrasive option compared to pressure washers. They won’t cause damage to your hardwood decking. What’s more, they offer long-lasting protection against algae and moss – these products stop this type of organic matter from growing back for several months.
In most cases, a decking cleaner is much less labour intensive than using a pressure washer, you simply spray or spread the diluted solution, wait for it to dry, and sweep away the dead moss, algae or lichen. In many cases you won’t need to rinse these cleaners, but there are some products which require it.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to see how to use the specific cleaner that you buy.
Look for a Safe Decking Cleaner
Decking cleaners can contain a range of chemicals, some harmful and some less so.
Several of the cleaners in the reviews on this page 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 decking cleaners. They are also better for the environment.
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 of exactly what chemicals you’re putting on your garden decking.
If you opt for one of these higher-strength cleaners, make sure you’re wearing all the necessary safety attire, such as goggles and gloves if acid or bleach are involved.
Ease of Use and Versatility
A deck cleaner is generally very easy to use. The dilution rate may vary between brands, so this is something to check with each different product. This is especially important to do if you’re used to using a particular one.
Pay attention to the coverage area of each bottle once diluted. Even some smaller bottles of deck cleaner can offer good value if the product is very concentrated.
Take a look at which surfaces the deck cleaner can be used on. Most are safe to use on all wood and hard surfaces, but this is not always the case. It’s certainly something you’d want to double-check before applying the product, instead of learning the hard way!
Some deck cleaners are formulated to remove mould and black spots. These are generally applied neat to these areas. However, not all decking cleaners are suitable for this purpose, so check beforehand. It can save you money if you buy a deck cleaner that can also combat mould and black spots as you won’t have to buy two products.
If you’re 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. If you’re after hassle-free patio cleaning, this would be the best option for you.
Cleaners with Long-Lasting Results
Most deck cleaners not only get your garden decking gleaming, but they can also help keep mould and algae at bay for a few months after the first application.
Some decking cleaner will reactivate when it rains, so there’s no need to reapply the product frequently. The best decking cleaner can inhibit the growth of mould and algae for up to 12 months. Quite the result for such a quick job!
If you are having issues with a specific type of mould, look for a decking cleaner with a specially targeted formula.
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