How to Clean Decking Before Oiling

The following blog post is a walkthrough of the process for cleaning decking before applying oil. This will help to ensure that your wood does not turn an unintended color or become stained by other substances.  

The first step in this process is to use a pressure washer on the surface of the decking, which will remove any dirt and debris from its surface. Next, brush off any excess particles with a broom or leaf blower if needed.

How to Clean Decking Before Oiling

Finally, apply your cleaner choice using either a spray bottle or scrubbing pad depending on what type you have chosen and how much work it may need. So, this article is for you. You will learn how to clean decking before oiling with just one simple trick!

Step to Follow on How to Clean Decking Before Oiling

Step One: Remove Boards

Before you can begin cleaning your wooden deck, you must remove all the boards. Check each board carefully for nails and other fasteners that were used to secure it in place. Collect them in a pile near the opening where your panels were removed.

Please make sure they are safe from any children or pets in the area. Also, check under and around your deck for any nails and remove them. A magnet is good at picking up metallic fasteners. Toss them in your nail pile. If there are areas where the boards overlap, like near a wall on your deck or around a railing post, you may also need to remove some boards here.

Step Two: Cleaning and Scrubbing

Once the boards have been removed and placed in a safe location away from children and pets, you can begin to clean your deck. Start by using a garden hose to spray down the entire area, starting at the topmost part of the deck and slowly working your way down toward the bottom.

Use Low Pressure Washer for Cleaning

You can also use a pressure washer if you have one available, but keep it on its lowest setting so as not to damage any wood or fasteners that may still be in place. Once your deck is completely soaked from top to bottom, grab a stiff brush and begin scrubbing the surface of each board, front, and back.

Step Three: Rinsing and Repeat

Allow a few minutes for the deck to dry out. Once it is mostly dry, give it another going over with your garden hose or pressure washer. If you choose to, you can use a pair of kitchen tongs to pick up any larger pieces of debris that were left behind from step two, but make sure you do not gouge the surface of your deck.

The end goal is to remove any remaining splinters and rough areas created by scrubbing with a stiff brush and enough dirt and debris that you can see a significant difference in color from before you began cleaning. Next, allow the area to dry for about an hour. Once it is dry, you are ready for staining or oiling.

Step Four: Cautions

Suppose you do not wish to stain your deck, the process of cleaning it before oiling is still recommended. Stains may be applied over dirty surfaces, but only if the stains are water-based or penetrating stains. Penetrating stains can seep into the dirt and form a bond with any remaining particles below the surface of the wood. 

Be sure to ask a professional at the store where you purchase your stain if it is safe for this process. On the other hand, Oil stains may be applied over dirty surfaces as long as there are no contaminants such as dirt or debris present. This will help in how to clean decking before oiling.

Step Five: Clean with Varnish or Stain

Varnish is the best choice for decking materials because it is made from oils and resins. Applying varnish to an already finished deck will only add more protection against the elements, so repeated cleaning will not be necessary. However, after a season of heavy use, your deck may need a second coat of varnish.

Applying Varnish to the Wood

Oil stains, such as teak oil or linseed oil, are more porous and escape the wood’s natural moisture. They also do not add a coating on top of your deck that will wear away with time. However, cleaning your deck before applying an oil stain is still necessary because you cannot apply oil over dirt and debris; the oils will only make your deck look dirty and dingy.

Step Six: Seal Your Decking Surface

Once you have followed all of these steps, you are ready to get your deck sealed with either a varnish or an oil stain. If you plan on eventually staining your deck again in the future, we recommend you apply an oil stain so that you do not have to clean it again before the next application.

Sealing Deck Surface With Varnish

If you prefer the look of a stained deck, apply your varnish now and save yourself some time in future cleaning sessions. For most people, staining will extend the life of their decking surface significantly. Of course, some basic maintenance will also be necessary, but the deck will essentially be good for another year.

Step Seven: Maintenance

If you are the type of person who prefers to wait one complete year before re-sealing your deck, there are a few things you can do in the meantime. The first is to sweep or blow any leaves and debris from your decking surface after each use.

Reapply a thin coat of oil every month during the winter if you live in a climate where you experience freezing temperatures. This will prevent any dents or scratches from forming on the wood as it contracts, and it should keep your deck looking new.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Decking Oil Take to Dry?

Decking oil takes about two hours to dry completely. There are different types of decking oils available in the market, and they have varying drying times. However, most oils take around 2 hours to dry completely.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Decking?

The best way to clean decking is by using a pressure washer. The pressure washer can be used on the decking surface, and then the hose can be directed over the side of the boat to wash down the hull. There are many ways to clean decking, but this is one of the most effective and easiest methods.

What to Use to Clean Deck Before Staining?

To clean your deck before staining, use a solution of vinegar and water. After rinsing the deck with this solution, scrub it with a brush to remove any dirt or debris. After scrubbing, rinse the deck again with fresh water.

It is important to remember that you must wear gloves when cleaning your deck because the acids in the vinegar can damage your skin if not done properly.

Is It Ok to Pressure Wash Decking?

No, it is not recommended to pressure wash decking. Pressure washing can lead to discoloration and also create a lot of dust particles that will be carried in the air. It is recommended that you use a garden hose or low-pressure sprayer instead.

Do I Need to Clean Deck Before Oiling?

As it depends on the type of deck you have and how often you plan on oiling it. If your deck is made from wood that naturally contains oils (such as cedar or pine), then cleaning the deck before oiling may not be necessary. However, if your deck was manufactured with a synthetic coating, then mineral oil will likely collect on the surface over time and need to be cleaned off before oiling can take place.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Deck Before Staining?

If you don’t clean the deck before staining, the stain will spread and the deck will become much more difficult to remove. In addition, any poisonous or harmful chemicals that were used to stain the deck will also get into the soil and water, potentially causing serious harm to plants and other creatures in the area.

Do I Have to Clean Wood Before Staining?

While it is always recommended to clean wood before staining, this isn’t necessary if the wood has been treated with a sealant. Many sealants protect the wood from water and other elements, which means that it doesn’t need to be cleaned prior to painting or staining. If you do want to clean the wood first, use a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt, dust, or Built-up Oil.


Our blog has provided you with some great information on how to prepare your deck for oiling. You should now be able to find the right products, know what tools and techniques are required, and have a better understanding of why it is essential to clean before applying.

Remember that prevention is key in maintaining a beautiful outdoor space all year round! With this knowledge under your belt, we hope that you will continue reading our content or contact us if you need any help deciding which type of product would work best for your needs. The article has been a good guide on how to clean decking before oiling.

Check it out- 10 Ways To Make Your Deck Stand Out

Smart Home Pick