Deck cleaning description

Google search found a number of discussions but it seemed all used a pressure washer. I seem to recall a discussion almost a year ago that didn't use one but I couldn't find it. Gardener was by to give us a quote and commented our deck was in need and in same breath mentioned a pressure washer. We moved in the house in Jan 2006 and don't have any history with decks. I seem to recall Oxalic Acid was discussed along with a stiff scrub brush and now I'm wondering about damage to greenery planted adjacent to the deck from the acid. If it matters we moved from So Calif coast to Augusta, Georgia area. We're NOT planning to buy a pressure washer and renting one to learn how to use it doesn't sound the least bit inviting! Our son volunteered to install Trex if we wanted to buy it but that hasn't been considered at this point. Suggestions welcomed.
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On 21 Mar 2006 04:37:41 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"

Deck Wash
3/4 c. TSP 3/4 c. household bleach 1 gallon warm water
Stir the TSP in the warm water until it dissolves. Add the bleach. Use in a garden sprayer. Use a scrub brush, garden hose and wear protective clothing (old clothes, rubber gloves, eye protection). You can use Jomax (at Home Depot) instead of the TSP, per directions on the package. If the deck has not been cleaned in a few years you may need to clean it twice. Allow to dry 1 week before applying stain or other protective finish. (I do not recommend Thompson's waterseal.)
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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

You can do what I did, and that was to sand the whole deck with a belt sander. It took me about 2 days, but turned out better than a power washer could have done. You can buy an electric power washer at the big box stores for less than $200 ($170 for a Husky). It is only about 1750 psi, but does a good job on wood. I have one. The power washer can also be used for other things like driveway and concrete washing, and cleaning the undersides of your cars, etc.
--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Sanding has issues, you must recess fastener heads and you release CCA, a known health hazard. If the deck is in the sun and not real bad you might not benefit from a power washer, if its like mine full of mold scrubbing would take 8 hrs where a power washer will do it in 1. Ive has no plant issues since you dilute the chemicals when washing off. If you poured the cleaners on plants damage would occur. If you are worried cover plants with a plastic drop cloth. The acid used temporarily changes Ph and the cleaners evaporate alot of their harmfull effects quickly. I just use laundry bleach and a power washer as I am in shade I have continous needs for a power washer to remove mold.
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If you have a cedar deck a pressure washer is not recommended. Unless your very careful it will chew up the wood. I used a deck cleaner that said it was safe around plants. Never had any problems with the lawn or other plants it got onto. Just hose them down before and after. Ran a belt sander over it afterward.

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a stiff bristle broom and there are a number of suitable cleaners, laundry detergent if nothing better.
expect to clean the deck a number of times.
you can buy a little pressure washer from walmart for around $100 or less. Not a lot of power but good for general cleanup and you dont need to worry about cutting up things.
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A pressure washer need not be expensive or large. Take this example: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberE802
Scrubbing with a broom using one of the recipies from the other posters or a detergent intended for use in a pressure washer will likely yeild satisfactory results. Weak acids will neutralize quickly in the soil by reacting with rocks and sand. Only worry around new or young plantings or recently reseeded lawn etc.
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