Pressure Washing A Wooden Deck, Or Just Using A Cleaner Question ?

Hello:
Was about to rent a pressure washer and try to clean a lot of years worth of dirt and grime from my deck before re-staining it.
Read a lot about pressure washers on forums, here, and elsewhere, and it seems like it is very, very, easy to damage the wood. Have really become scared of doing it, as I am a rank beginner in using pressure washers. Certainly don't want to damage the wood any.
Was wondering:
Is there any type of "cleaner" or solvent that is totally safe for a wood deck, and that might do a fairly comparable job to pressure washing it ?
Thanks, Bob
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I use the same detergent you would use with the pressure washer. I mix it per the instructions with warm water and use a stiff bristle broom to scrub the wood, then hose off. It takes a bit more effort, but it is easier on the wood. I've heard that pressure washing can damage the wood if not done properly. YMMV.
Les
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Dear Robert -
I have owned a home with a wooden deck for 33 years. I replaced it one time after 18 years. Do not be afraid of a pressure washer - just keep the stream wide and don't get any closer than six inches to the wood. You will do fine.
Quite frankly - you can purchase an inexpensive pressure washer for $100. You do not need anything over 1400 psi.
The house itself is made of cedar - a very soft wood. You can cut a hole in cedar with a pressure washer - but if you keep the nozzle six inches away and keep the stream wide - you will do fine.
I have had lots of success cleaning wood decks - with a bucket of water - with two cups of bleach in it - and a brush with a long handle. Simple swap the deck :-) Then wait a while giving the bleach a chance to work. Then pressure wash it off with lower pressure.
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Even if you do damage the wood slightly in one or two spots, it's no big deal. Just get the width of the spray and the distance you hold it away from the wood and it's a breeze. True, you can gouge the wood. But you'll soon get the feel of it and it's easy to prevent gouging. As I say, if you accidentally make a couple of small gouges, it's not the end of the world. Pressure washing is much easier than any cleaner I know of. ds

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