RAD CLEANERdefaultRestore A Deck Cleaner Instructions and How To Tips

Keeping your wooden deck in good condition is without a doubt crucial to both its appearance and lifespan. Nothing looks worse and deteriorates more quickly than a neglected deck. Many deck owners have opted to do their own deck maintenance.

Restore A Deck cleaner is a specifically designed two-part system that is best used to clean and prep a wood deck prior to resealing it. The Restore A Deck cleaner system consists of a wood cleaner that will remove dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and grayed wood fibers. Step 2 of RAD Cleaner is a wood brightener that corrects the pH of the wood and brightens it up prior to applying a wood stain or sealer.

To clean a deck using the Restore A Deck system follow these easy step-by-step instructions.

1. Be sure air temperatures or between 45-90 degrees. Remove all furnishings from the deck and the surrounding area.

2. Though Restore A Deck is Eco-Friendly it is still a good idea to cover sensitive plants and shrubbery or pre-wet them with fresh water. Use plastic to cover doors and windows in the surrounding area.

3. Follow the Restore A Deck instructions to mix the Step 1 Cleaner in a clean bucket until all crystals are dissolved and transfer to sprayer to avoid clogging of sprayer inlet tube.

4. Lightly spray the wood deck with water. Use a pump sprayer or scrub brush to apply RAD Cleaner to the wood. Allow the cleaner to dwell for 5-15 minutes. Keep the deck wet by misting with water during the dwell time. If using a pump sprayer please make sure that no undissolved powder is poured into the sprayer. It will get clogged!

5. Hand scrub or use a pressure wash to remove dirt, grime, and graying from the wood surface. Do not use excessive pressure. Pressure washing at 1500 PSI is much more effective and easier.

6. Once cleaned, rinse the wood deck and the surrounding plants, windows, house siding, etc.

7. While the deck is still wet from rinsing, apply the Restore A Deck Wood Brightener (Step 2).

8. Blend the RAD Wood Brightener by following the product’s instructions and apply with a pump sprayer. Allow the brightener to dwell for 10 minutes then rinse off. No need to having scrub or pressure wash the RAD Brightener. Make sure to rinse the RAD Brightener thoroughly for 20 minutes until all soap suds are removed after the 10 minutes dwell time.

Note that the RAD cleaner is not intended for removing old deck stains or sealers. Please see Restore A Deck Stain Stripper when dealing with existing stains.

If you have any specific questions about your project or just need some help, please ask below!

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    Fran · 08/22/2019
    I've recently stained(oil based) the railings around my deck. Will the cleaner damage this job?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2019
      Possibly it could "clean" or lighten the stain but that would really depend on the stain brand and type of stain. Hard to say for certain if an issue or not.
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    Fran · 08/22/2019
    Wondering if you can apply the solid stain with a roller. I noticed you have pads on sale but I have never had good luck with a pad applicator?
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      RAD Products · 08/22/2019
      For a solid stain, brushes and rollers are best.
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    West · 08/19/2019
    I just got done using the cleaner. Do I need to use the brightener as well? I ask because I ran out of time to apply the brightener today. If the brightener is needed, is there any issue with applying the brightener the following morning?
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    Matt · 08/18/2019
    The aluminum railing is only a year old
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    Matt · 08/16/2019
    Will the RAD cleaner harm aluminum railing? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/17/2019
      It shouldn't but it would depend on the condition of the aluminum. Old aluminum oxidizes and chalks very bad so the Cleaner would potentially clean off the oxidation.
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    Terri · 08/16/2019
    I’m doing maintenance on my deck. I used restore a deck a year ago, but there are places where the stain is ‘peeling’. Can I just clean and stain or do I need to use the brightener again?
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    Bill · 08/11/2019
    The cleaner instructions state to mix about a cup per gallon. How many dry ounces are there in a cup?
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    GM · 08/05/2019
    It seems that some people have had issues with raised wood fiber after applying RAD cleaner & brightener. How do you prevent this, and if it happens, what do you have to do before applying stain?
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      RAD Products · 08/06/2019
      This issue is not related to the RAD Cleaner or Brightener but the oxidation of the wood. When wood heavily oxidizes/grays you will have this happen no matter what brand of cleaner you use. Basically, the more gray or oxidation you have of the wood that needs to come off, the greater the chance of this happening. Lightly sanding to the floor will remove the fuzzies. Typically it also will not show when stained as the stain enhances the wood color.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        GM · 08/06/2019
        Lightly sanding before or after staining? What grit would you recommend?
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          RAD Products · 08/06/2019
          After prep, before staining. 60-80 grit. You can also use a floor buffer with a sanding pad. Fast and easy to do.
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            GM · 08/06/2019
            I thought sanding closed the wood pores, affecting its ability to accept stain?
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              RAD Products · 08/06/2019
              Buffing off works much better. Do an internet search for wood fuzzies and how to fix. You will see some good advice.
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            GM · 08/06/2019
            I have nearly 900 sq ft of floor alone (not counting rails and spindles), so no sanding is going to be fast. How about hand scrubbing and hosing off the cleaner (instead of using a power-washer) as a way to eliminate "the fuzzies"?

            Sounds like you're saying that "the fuzzies" occur whenever there's heavy oxidation/graying that has to be removed, so what if I already sanded (to eliminate splintering) and I don't wait too long before I prep - say just the minimum 3 months or so. In that case the oxidation/graying will be minimal, and so should "the fuzzies" after applying the cleaner and power-washing. Agree?
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              RAD Products · 08/06/2019
              Pressure washing does not create the fuzzies, it is oxidation of the wood and cannot be avoided when the wood is heavily oxidized. Waiting 3-4 months after install will have a lot fewer issues or no issues. It is usually related to decks that are left untreated for a year or more.
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    Bob · 07/28/2019
    I built a new cedar deck ( about 300 sq. ft. ) and would like to stain it before our long Minnesota winter starts. This will only give me about 3 months of weathering. Can I use restore a deck to remove mill glaze and speed up the process. Also would I use both the cleaner and the brightener or just one or the other. Or do l have to wait till next year. It would probably be next June if you know Minnesota. I plan on using TWP 100 stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      TWP wants 4-12 month of weathering and prep with both a cleaner and a brightener. Just one coat of the TWP first time applied.
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    Brian_Lan · 07/25/2019
    Here is another photo that may help show you what I am seeing now.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2019
      That is from the graying/oxidation from leaving your wood unstained for a year. Typically does not show when stained. You can also buff this off with a floor buffer.
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        Brian_Lan · 07/25/2019
        Is there anything else I can use besides renting a floor buffer? Like how about a pole sander with 220 grit?
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          RAD Products · 07/25/2019
          You could try that but not sure how effective hand sanding will be.
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    Brian_Lan · 07/25/2019
    I used both the cleaner and brightner all in one day on a new deck. The deck was built last year so it had plenty of time to dry out. I followed the instructions on both bottles (the cleaner and the brightner) and this website but now after applying my stain, I have some wood fibers that look a little weird. It looks like peach fuzz. Any ideas what this is from and how I fix it? I saw it before I applied my stain but thought my stain would cover it. Thanks.
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    Karen · 07/24/2019
    Is it necesssary to use Brightener when the stain will be a solid stain and the wood won't show?
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      RAD Products · 07/24/2019
      Not from an appearance standpoint but it will be needed to neutralize after using a stain stripper.
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        Karen · 07/24/2019
        Can I just use the Cleaner instead of the Stripper...for Solid stain?
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          RAD Products · 07/25/2019
          The stripper will remove more of the loose solid stain.
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    brad · 07/20/2019
    Will runoff from cleaning my upper deck with Restore-A-Deck brightener & cleaner affect my recently-stained (TWP 200 series) lower deck?
    Thank you
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    Anthony Capoccia · 07/12/2019
    Hi, can you tell me how long the deck stripper is effective, once it is mixed?
    thank you
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      RAD Products · 07/13/2019
      The RAD Stripper does not have a shelf life. It will stay active for many months. The Cleaner does and needs to be used within hours of being mixed.
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    Ed sherman · 06/29/2019
    Can this product be applied over other stains
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      RAD Products · 06/29/2019
      Are you asking about the stains or the cleaner? This page is about the cleaner.
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    Avery L. Richardson · 06/26/2019
    My deck was installed June 29 2018, do I need to clean brighten then stain,
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    TC · 06/23/2019
    I am going to stain a brand new cedar gate. It is temporarily installed (hanging) in my garage so I can stain it without worrying about rain. Therefore I cannot use a power water in the garage. How should I go about using your cleaner and brightener? Do I have to use a tank sprayer? Do I have to scrub it? I’m really just trying to get rid of the mill glaze before I stain it.
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    Jennifer · 06/20/2019
    I cleaned and brightened my fence, but a few boards that get the most sun are still gray. Do I need to clean again, or only brighten?

    P.s. Suggestion for your website: add a search if the questions/comments. There's lot of great tips, but they're hard to find.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Jennifer · 06/20/2019
      Clean again, right?

      Unfortunately, I ran out of cleaner. Most of the boards are the top rail of the fence. If we stain the rest of the fence and go back later to clean, brighten, and stain the top, will it mess up (gravity being what it is) the fence we've already stained?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 06/20/2019
        Hi, no pictures were added. Please upload. We would not suggest staining part and then prepping above that later.
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          Jennifer · 06/21/2019
          It's the top horizonal piece that's still gray. Fence is about two years old and never been stained. What happens if we go ahead and stain it as-is? My concern is if we don't stain this weekend, we might not get another weather window until fall.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            RAD Products · 06/21/2019
            Do a test spot on the top and if it looks decent, then go ahead and stain. It will not harm the coating and is more of an appearance issue.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2019
      Reply with a picture.
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    Sam · 06/11/2019
    I am going to apply RAD cleaner and brightener on my deck. Deck consists of some older wood (~10 years) and some new wood (<1yr). I do not have a pressure washer and was wondering if I could get by with just scrubbing? I know it's a bit more work, would rather not have to purchase pressure washer. Thanks in advance for your advice.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/11/2019
      You can scrub, just a lot more work. You can rent pressure washers.
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    Randy · 06/03/2019
    I have a deck that has remaining semi transparent stain in some spots, mildew in others with very little to no remaining stain. Would there me any need to use both a cleaner and a stripper...or will the stripper be enough to do the job?
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    Dave motti · 05/31/2019
    I have an older deck that has a little wear. Customer does not want to strip deck. Question is since stain will be left should I use brightner?
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    Cathy Kamm · 05/30/2019
    We have a balcony deck and ground level deck. The ground level deck is stripped/brightened. 1 section is stained. We need to clean/brighten the balcony deck. The run off from washing the cleaner and brightener will flow onto both sections of the lower deck. Will they be affected?
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      RAD Products · 05/30/2019
      Possibly. No way to say it will not be harmed.
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    Steve L · 05/29/2019
    I ordered the cleaner and stain from Amazon and I have hired a man to clean the deck and stain it tomorrow. The pressure treated deck is quite clean already and there is no mildew. Since I missed the part about restoring PH with the brightener. Will the stain fail if I go straight from cleaning to staining?
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    GailG · 05/27/2019
    Should cleaning and brightening be completed in the same day? Or can cleaning be done one day and brightening the next? If so, what the longest period you can wait between cleaning and brightening?
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    Kelly · 05/25/2019
    Hi! We have an old deck that was completely neglected. When we moved in last year, we stripped, cleaned and brightened using Defy. We added several new boards and did not stain to let the new boards age. This year, I used RAD cleaner, brighter and stain. We should have used a solid, but went with Light walnut. Stained yesterday and now many of the newer boards have grey film over them. Did we not get all the cleaner brightened off? How do we fix? It hasn’t cured completely yet. Sprinkled a little at 5am but no rain. Thanks!!
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      RAD Products · 05/26/2019
      Looks like you left some soap residue or the brightener in the wood? Did you rinse the brightener for 20 minutes after you were done? Looks like something is leeching out of the wood. Try a test spot of stain in an area where you have this issue and see if it darkens up the wood correctly.
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    Charleston SC · 05/21/2019
    Want to apply your product to a 6 month old PT deck... replaced a horrible dark brown deck from the previous owner and want the most natural look. Does your natural color have a yellow tone? Secondly, I have read you don’t recommend sanding, but some new wood has lettering on it from the manufacturer... shouldn’t this be sanded or what do you recommend? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/22/2019
      Natural is a golden tine but the final color will vary based on wood type and age. The ink stamps will have to be sanded off but you will then need to let those sanded spots weather for another couple of months before prepping and staining.
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    Frank · 05/10/2019
    I have a new cedar deck that I built last year and I finished laying the cedar deck boards in October of 2018 so they have been weathering since then.
    I’m starting to plan the stain so I will need to clean and brighten first. I have the RAD kit.
    After I apply the cleaner with the pump sprayer and wait the 15 minutes, should I scrub with a brush first and then use the pressure washer? Or can I skip the scrubbing and go right to the pressure washer?
    I will be using Sikkens cetol srd stain..
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2019
      No need to scrub, just pressure wash.
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        Frank · 05/10/2019
        Great thanks!
        will the cleaner and Brightener be an issue for the surrounding guard rails and posts which are already stained? It won’t remove or fade that stain will it? Any issue with it coming into contact with the black metal balusters?
        How close should the pressure washer nozzle be from the surface? Should I run approx 1500psi?
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    Rick · 05/09/2019
    Hi there I have a pool that has an ipe deck surrounding it. Are the cleaner and brightner safe to use around the pool? Also do you need to scrub and power wash or can you just power wash the deck? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/09/2019
      Try not to get the prep products in the pool. if you do, worse case is you will have to clean all the dirt and grime from the pool and balance the pH of the pool.

      Apply and pressure wash is what most do.
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    Al Sorenson · 04/25/2019
    I stained my deck last year with TWP. I cleaned and brightened first of course. The stain has faded a bit and worn away in spots. I am certain I put the stain on to thin last year. Do I need to strip off last years stain or can I just clean and brighten and then apply a new couple of coats?
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    Cathy Kamm · 04/25/2019
    Is a garden sprayer appropriate for the cleaner, stripper and brightener applucations?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/25/2019
      Yes but do not mix in the sprayer. Mix in a bucket first and then transfer to the sprayer.