Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner: The BEST Deck Cleaner
Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner is a powdered concentrate that is mixed with water. It safely cleans and restores the natural beauty of exterior wood commonly found on decks, stairs, and fences. This product also cleans weathered composite lumber, removing mold, mildew, and algae along with the silver-gray color that can develop over time. This product restores all wood surfaces back to their original appearance. Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner will not harm wood fibers, pets, grass, or most plants.
Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner has consistently been rated the best wood and deck stain cleaner year over year and is used by pros and homeowners alike.
The Restore A Deck system is a multistep deck cleaning system, and best results are achieved when using all 3 products. This product is Step 1 Cleaner of the Restore A Deck system.
When & Where to use Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner
Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner removes dirt, grime, mold and mildew stains, and weathered graying from horizontal and vertical wood surfaces. It is recommended for surface preparation prior to application or reapplication of wood stains. For best results use Restore-A-Deck Wood Stains.
- #1 Rated Wood and Deck Stain Cleaner
- Designed specifically for all Exterior Wood and Composite Decking
- Prep new wood, weathered wood, and maintenance coats
- Powdered formula makes 5 liquid gallons when mixed
- Extremely cost-effective. When mixed, the cost is less than $6 a gallon.
- Eco-Safe formulas safe for DIY deck cleaning
- Removes stains from wood caused by mold and mildew
- Removes wood graying caused by UV rays
- Removes dirt and debris from decks, stairs, and fences
- Safe to use on all exterior wood surfaces, not just decks
Note: Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner will slightly darken the wood. Use Restore-A-Deck Wood Brightener to restore all wood to its original color and as a neutralizer to further brighten other wood species that have been cleaned with Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner.
Coverage: 750-1000 sq.feet per container.
Restore-a-Deck Step 1 is a wood cleaner and preps stains for the reapplication of a stain. It is not a stain stripper or remover of old stains. Please see Restore-A-Deck Stripper if you are trying to remove a semi-transparent stain.
Lots of sun, though partial oak shade.
Redwood, circa 1990’s, good condition
No apparent mold or mildew
September 2020, after stripping and neutralizing old red stain we did not like (alkyd and various oil over the years), I stained with TWP 1500 clear transparent to make as natural as possible, though knowing this would provide less protection. It turned dull and gray after a year. I wonder if I need Restore-A-Deck stripper, or just Cleaner prior to Brightener and re-staining, perhaps with cedar tone this time? Never impressed that my now-leaking pressure washer did any more than hose nozzle unless I got so close as to damage wood, so expect to use scrubbing brush and hose nozzle for prep. Water is scarce here, yet I don’t see any way to conserve water on this job.
Strip and brighten to remove the clear if you want to use a tinted color. Pressure washing works best but you can scrub and rinse.
Hi… I used RAD (semi-transparent light walnut) exactly 2 years ago. At that time, I used your stripper, brightener but had to sand everything because I had to get close with pressure washer – stubborn old stain. Since I sanded, I was told only 1 coat of stain. Now, the horizontal surfaces need to be re-stained – they get full-on sun all day long, plus pool water in the summers. Do I need to use cleaner, rinse, then brightener, rinse? Do I do rinsing with pressure washer, or just on jet with hose? I won’t get close if using pressure washer. Do I need to let completely dry before applying new RAD stain? I have 1 unopened and 1 almost full opened 2.5gal jugs of stain left from 2yrs ago. Should I stick with 1 coat of stain this time around, or try for 2 if I have enough product? If 2 coats, how long between coats? Thank-you!
Use the Cleaner and pressure wash off. Brightener next with a rinse after. You can apply the RAD stain to damp or dry wood. Hard to say about the number of coats as it depends on how porous the wood is. You want the stain to fully soak into the wood, not dry on top of the wood.
Thank-you! If I decide to hit with second coat, how long should I wait before second coat?
Also – do you see any issues with using the opened jug of stain? It’s been sealed tightly and kept in the house since I completed the deck 2yrs ago. I’ll shake all product well before using, of course.
It has to be wet on wet for a second coat:
The shelf life of opened stain is 12 months. We cannot guarantee it will be good or bad.
The opened and unopened product performed the same for me – no noticeable difference in how it went on, or how it looks. This maintenance coat of stain makes my deck look new again. Love your products! I tell people about them all the time!
Hello. I used RAD (Natural stain) two years ago around my large pool deck. It is chipping away in many spots. Do I need to clean an brighten before I recoat with the natural stain again? Also, when re staining can I get away with one coat? Thanks
Reply back with some pics of the deck for prep advice.
I am getting ready to stain a pressure treated pine post that was attached to the deck last year. Will using your cleaner and or brightener on the post do any harm to the existing deck that was stained last year? Do I need to use a tarp to protect the deck floor??
Yes, it could create some issues. Prep product should only be used where you are planning on staining after.
Hi. I used solid deck stain almost 3 years ago. Do I need to clean and brighten or just clean before reapplying solid deck stain? Thank you!
Just the deck cleaner will be okay for a solid stain.
I have semi-transparent stain on my deck and also have mildew on the wood. What steps do I need to take? Cleaner 1st, 2nd stripper, 3rd Brightener, then stain? or Does the stipper remove the mildew?
What brand of stain was used prior? You do not need to use the cleaner if stripping. The stripper will remove mildew.
SRD Transparent Matte PPG ProLuxe which i believe is the new name for sikkens
Do you have any pics of the stain on the deck that you can add in the comments? We want to make sure you get the correct products to strip it off.
currently wet from storm
Used RAD solid stain 2 years ago and would like to reapply a new coat. In reading the Q&/A below I was still not real clear (most are about semi-stain). Since it is solid stain, I just clean and reapply right (do not have to strip)? Do I use your cleaner or is that for unstained wood? thx
No need to strip. Use the cleaner while pressure washing to remove dirt, etc.
Can restore a deck be used on vertical posts and the underside structure of a deck?
Yes, it can.
Hi, I have a deck with a semi transparent stain, last time it was done was about 15 years ago. Do I need RAD cleaner or the RAD stripper?
Stripper and then brightener.
Hi, I have a pouch of RAD cleaner from two yrs ago that has been resealed after using only half, any reason I can’t mix it with water now?
Hello, We have a 3 month old deck. Since we are going to stain the pressure treated posts black, can I just do the cleaner & then stain?
You have to brighten after the cleaner to neutralize it.
Will the cleaner damage painted, uncoated wood surfaces?
What do you mean by painted but uncoated? Paint is a coating. It does not harm paint.
Hi, I have a very large deck to clean/stain. Can the cleaner be left on the deck longer than 15 minutes before power washing off without any adverse affect? I would like to lay down the cleaner on a large portion of the deck before power washing. This will take longer than 15 min. thanks!
It can sit on the wood longer but it cannot dry out. Mist to keep wet.
Hello, We used RAD stripper then sanded our beat up cedar deck with 60 grit. This process has taken us some days to do. We have not yet used the brightener. We just had some unexpected rain and the cedar is developing some dark spots. See pics attached. My question is: will the RAD brightener (which we have) remove those stains or do I need to use the RAD cleaner, then the brightener? Thank you for the advice!
You have rust stain from your screws or nails. Brightener will remove it but they rust will probably come back around the mail heads when it rains.
Oh really? Shoot. Oh well. Thank you for taking time to answer my question.
I thought those blue-black spots were mildew or something because they were not there after we stripped and sanded but appeared after we had overnight rain. I’ll try brightener on a spot and see if that works. Otherwise I’ll buy some cleaner and clean then brighten.
I recently stripped, brightened, and stained using your products, however I accidentally bought and used some of the wrong color stain. Most of my vertical surfaces are stained correctly in Cedar, but I began staining the horizontals in Natural. What do I need to do to get everything stained in Cedar and when can I do this?
You will need to strip it all and start over. You can do this now or in the future.
Strip the cedar stain too?
I have a metal
screened porch under my deck. Will the cleaners hurt the paint finish on the metal? The deck is not very dirty so mild cleaning solutions would be sufficient
No, it will not harm it.
I just want to re stain with my Armstrong stain, I think i use both cleaner and brighter but i dont need to power wash correct?
You pressure wash while using the prep products.
Can I use this on trex to remove mildew stains, I have some left over.
also does cleaner get rid of potential mold and mildew, or we need seperate product for this?
Cleaner while pressure washing will remove mildew and mold.
can we just use cleaner pre stain? product is neutralized and ready to receive stain. it is not essential to use brightener correct?
Cleaner and brightener is needed.
how soon after you use this product to clean the deck can you stain it the next day?
Same day or next day. https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/how-to-restore-a-deck-stain-to-damp-wood.html
If my pressure treated deck is only 2 years old with limited stains, can I just hose down and stain? Do I need cleaner and brightener when I plan to use Cedar semi-transparent restore a deck stain?
You need to prep kits when restaining.
Sorry I was unclear. There is no stain on it; only the original pressure treatment that is fading. Do I need prep kits?
Yes. Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener Kits.
Finally have almost 3 days of decent weather. We built a new deck in August of 2020, composite decking for the deck itself, new pressure treated railing and spindles. I have the RAD Cleaner and brighter, and plan on using the RAD solid white stain. Many of the posts are real close to the composite decking, do I need to tape them off and use plastic to prevent haring the compost decking in this process?
Yes, tape or tarp to composite decking.
Is power washing recommended prior to applying Cleaner for an unstained new deck?
Can Cleaner be used as a cleaning ingredient for power washing.
Can power washing damage wood?
What transparent stain brand do you recommend?
See this for new wood tips:
Let us know if you have any questions after.
I’m going to strip and restain my deck covered with TWP a few years ago. There is some peeling stain that needs to be removed. Do I powerwash the deck first to remove these old chips and peeling stain or apply the stripper and then powerwash? The Brightener is applied at what point? Also, rain is predicted for a few days after I do the cleaning. How soon after the cleaning process will I have to apply the TWP stain? Can I wait a week or so til we get some good dry weather?
Strip off what you can first, sand the rest off, and brighten last. Stain 48 hours after the prep. Stain within 2 weeks is best.
After my husband used a different product to clean deck, there are spots and discoloring. Deck has not been stained yet. Will stain cover this up? If not, will restore a deck get rid of the marks?
You need to rebrighten all the wood to even out the discoloration.
Is it safe to use the cleaner and brightener on a deck with close proximity to a stream, approx 100 ft. Also are these products safe to use on the vertical sides of a raised vegetable garden bed(prior to planting)?
Yes to both.
I have a mahogany deck. 20 years old.
despite my best power washing, there are still many boards that continue to have dark “stains” that I can not remove.
we have tried a number of clear, waterproof finishes over the years, never a stain.
trying to get the nature beauty of the mahogany back.
it’s a big deck, I am not a young man. Just finished power washing and it has left me lacking.
I am sure I could use restore-a-deck, but I can’t go through another down to the bones power washing.
can I rinse a step1 and a step2 without a power washer?
Post some pics of your prep thus far.
Power washing done.
any feedback appreciated.
You actually need to Strip and Brighen for prep while using a pressure washer.
Can you please clarify. I went to the referenced link and it says to apply the stripper and the brightener with a sprayer, not a power washer.
I clearly don’t want to pressure wash the deck twice. Just can’t do it.
having said that, how would you recommend approaching applying/ rinsing the stripper/brightener?
we have never used a stain on the deck for the above mentioned reasons. We have used a “waterproofing sealer” because it is clear. What would recommend as a clear finish
thanks Gain, all very helpful info.
You apply the stripper with a pump sprayer and then pressure wash it off. You have to do this to get it done correctly. You cannot skip the pressure washing.
As far as the stain, you need it tinted, not clear for UV protection. Use the RAD Stain in Light Walnut color.
Once I use the cleaner and the brightner and do not stain, how long can I expect the wood to remain
Unstained wood will gray in months.
How long will a stained deck keep looking new assuming it is a color and not clear?
2-3 years before you need to redo.
When I need to do the redo will I just put the stain over existing or do I need to use cleaner and brightner and stain again?
You always have to prep when recoating a deck stain. Use the Cleaner and Brightener again.
i stained my deck last year with Restore a Deck Cedar stain. I have green algae this year around the hot tub and on the deck floor around the house and on the house brick. I assume this is because I put up a wood gazebo with a metal roof on the deck and it is keeping the deck and house wet too long? Will the cleaner remove the stain as well as the algae? Should I use cleaner and just rinse off or pressure wash lightly? The stain still looks perfect so I don’t want to restain.
You can only use our prep products if you are planning on restaining. Try a product called Wet and Forget.
Going to re-stain my Ipe deck after about 10 years. Old stain is TWP100 and new stain will be TWP1500, same color. Railings and Balusters are no longer uniform in color as it was Pressure washed and simply old stain. The deck boards have no stain left. Do I need to “strip” or “clean” followed by brighten?
Best to strip and brighten.
I am working on staining my deck using your Brown Oak solid stain. Following directions/suggestions I read somewhere I planed to put two coats on the deck and top rail and one coat on the spindles. With two coats the top rail is is a very nice looking, even, medium brown. The spindles, with one coat, are a couple shades lighter because of the very light tan Behr solid stain underneath. Is there any reason I shouldn’t put 2 coats on the spindles? Thanks for your help and great looking stain.
The solid stain needs two coats for all areas. The semi transparent allows for one coat on spindles.
I have an ipe deck (covered) which was sanded and coated with Deckwise (TM). Owner did not like and want brought back to NO finish so that it will gray out. Will the RAD strip the Deckwise coating?
Use the Stripper with both additives and then the Brightener.
What steps should be taken if step 1 was used on a redwood fence but step 2 was not completed and the fence has dried?
Do step 2 as soon as you can. Mist with water before applying.
Can restore a deck cleaner be used for cleaning a deck with no plans for re-staining this year, or is this to be used ONLY when re-staining will be performed? I have read some conflicting information regarding this.
My deck is very dirty from the winter. I have tried to clean my deck using soapy water and scrub brush but doesn’t seem to do the trick. Looking for a good solution to clean the deck for the spring/summer seasons.
Prep products should only be used when recoating. There is not a cleaner that will just remove dirt and grime and not have any potential adverse effect on the deck stain.
I used your solid stain last Fall on my deck and was pleased with the coverage. It did however get scraped up from our dogs’ nails over the winter as well as from some snow shoveling so will need to put another coat. Should I use cleaner first; do I need the brightener? Anything else to get the coverage back?
Cleaner and light pressure washing for prep.
Thank you. I also need to do railings on the same deck as they were never done when I painted the solid stain last year. Should I use the stripper (there’s old semi-transparent paint on them) on those first and then the cleaner on everything before I paint both railings and deck?
Yes, that is correct.
Brightener is needed after the stripper.
I have a half used jug of solid stain from last Fall when I did my deck. Is that still OK to use this spring or not?
Hard to say until you open it and brush it out. If not clumpy or jelly, it should be okay.
Is it ok to use the cleaner and brightener on Teak? I originally bought these for my cedar deck, but now I am restoring some of the wood trim on my boat and would like to know if it is recommended for this application.
Yes, no issues.
I used the restore-a-deck system to stain a new redwood deck a little less than two years ago. It needs to be restained this year. I know I need to use the cleaner and brightener before restaining….but do I need to use the stripper?
No need for the stripper.
12 months ago, I used the RAD cleaner, brightener and stain on my new (unstained) pergola and deck. Now I am getting ready to stain the pergola and deck with the same stain again per instructions (to stain 12-18 months after the initial stain). Do I use the cleaner and brightener or just the cleaner to prep?
Completely cleaned, stripped and brightened my log home last year. Used latex stain to refinish. Now 1 year later I would like to put on a fresh coat. Will restore a deck cleaner be ok to use before I do this? Will it harm the latex stain that is on my home from last year?
Send pictures and what brand/type of stain was used?
Sherwood Williams exterior super deck semi solid waterborne architectural
The RAD Cleaner can be used for prep when restaining.
Attached is a picture of Weathershield #2 prime PT pine, the new looking wood up there, has been installed for about 7 days facing south in Florida. I’m not sure if I should clean it or strip it or if I have a choice of either, or if I could just go ahead and apply TWP 103 on it if it is absorbent. The cleaner/new wood/absorbent factors are throwing me off a little…..thank you again.
The older stained wood would need to be stripped and brightened. The new wood cannot be stained yet:https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
I understand; just asking about the new wood strip above the steps. When the new wood is properly weatherd, I will use your cleaner, right? And I can use the stored brightener that I will have left over from the other part of the house that needs stripping? How long can I store the brightener and in what container besides aluminum?
Clean and brighten the new wood after 4 months for prep. The stored brightener will work after the cleaning. The brightener is a powder. Only mix what you need and store the powder for later in the bag it comes in.
I plan to apply your solid stain over existing Behr solid stain. What prep work do you suggest
Pressure wash to clean and remove any peeling paint. Use the stripper. Brightener after.
Little confused as I am applying white solid stain over Behr white solid stain. Your stripper product literature says won’t remove solid stain. Besides pressure washing, thought you might suggest your cleaner product.
The stripper is needed to remove what solid stain that you have that is peeling. It will not remove it fully but that is not needed.
Behr solid stain is not peeling, but have a lot of black spotty mold and mildew. Again, thinking perhaps your clener product is needed?
I have an 9 year old mahogany covered front porch. I am sand off the old stain verses stripping due to the location. How long should I wait to stain? I have your brightener product but not your cleaner. Is there any issue with skipping the cleaner since the wood is not dirty?
Best to clean and brighen after sanding for best results.
Of I use the stripper do I also need to use the cleaner?
No need for the cleaner if using the stripper. Brightener is needed after.
Can I do brighten immediately after rinsing stripper (step 1) or do I need to wait the 2 hr dry time before moving unto step 2 and brightening?
You are supposed to brighten as soon as possible after stripping or cleaning.
If I don’t mind the wood being darker after cleaning, can I skip the brightener?
No, you need to neutralize after using the cleaner or stripper so there is not any reaction with your stain.
Are there any alternatives to the brightener that require less water? I’m on 20% mandatory water reductions due to drought, and the amount of water needed to wash the brightener off is significant given I have almost 250feet of fence that still needs to be stained.
No, it has to be thoroughly rinsed.
You may want to go over it with a pressure washer or sand/buff off the fuzzies. Brighener last.
I had a new pressure treated pine deck installed in the first week of June this year and plan on staining this fall. Do I need to use both your cleaner and brightner prior to applying your cedar semi-transparent stain?
Yes, that is correct.
If I’m staining a redwood fence that was installed October 2020, should I do 1 or 2 coasts of stain? For a vertical surface like a fence, do you recommend I use your brush vs. a sprayer for better coverage??
Smooth or rough sawn wood on the fence?
2 coats applied wet on wet. Spray on the first coat and back brush the second is the easiest way.
Can the deck cleaner be used on Cumaru (hard wood)?
Yes, it can.