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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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Amanda L · 10/06/2021
    What do I do if I finished Step 1 cleaning of my deck, but have waited do the brightening/PH balancing Step 2?  My deck is large and it was too difficult for me to finish both steps in one day.  Have I completely blown it?! 
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      RAD Products · 10/07/2021
      No, but it is always best to brighten the same day as cleaning. If you could not do it, you should still brighten the wood when you can.
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    Julianna · 09/03/2021
    We need to stain our untreated rough-sawn pine shed/studio. In the few months of its existence it has grayed and countless storms splashed mud up the sides. How do I tackle this? Freaking out a bit because I don’t want to use harsh chemicals and the advice I’m getting is conflicting. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/04/2021
      Prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kits. Stain with the RAD semi-transparent stain after.
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    Scott · 09/02/2021
    Hello,
    We just cleaned our deck using RAD cleaner and neutralizer and looks great… We have lots of both leftover so we are wondering if we should keep it for future cleaning after we stain the deck using RAD solid stain.  It may be overkill but just curious, is it acceptable to use these products for general cleaning in the future even if we are not retaining?  
    Also one other question - what is the proper way of disposal for any leftover RAD cleaner and neutralizer?
    Thanks in advance!  Scott
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      scott · 09/03/2021
      PS - Apologies, just wanted to clarify - the ingredients I am referring to in both questions above are the unmixed powders...  Thanks in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/03/2021
      The cleaner has a shelf life of about 4 hours after being mixed. If not mixed with water, they will both last a couple of years or longer.
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    John · 08/22/2021
    We only sanded and stained half our mahogany deck last summer. We used Armstrong Clark stain. We’re sanding the other half this summer and wonder if we need to cover last years work when we clean and brighten newly sanded section. Also, can we simply just wash with water after sanding and go straight to staining the bare wood and skip the cleaner and brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2021
      You should avoid the prep from getting on the stained half and you do need to clean and brighthen.
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    Dave · 08/10/2021
    Hello, I am planning to use RAD semi-trans stain on my redwood deck ~3 yrs old. About 2.5 yrs ago, 1 coat of Thompson's Water Seal (clear) was applied. Deck is in full sun, does not appear to be resisting any water these days. Do you think I need to use stripper first, or can i just clean and brighten then stain?
    Also, if I need to strip it, do i need to cover my adjacent stucco house wall? It's parex stucco.
    Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/11/2021
      You will need to remove the Thompsons fully. Please posts some pictures here in the comments for prep help.
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        Dave · 08/11/2021
        Ok thank you, so if i strip should i cover the stucco? also, do i need to cover the steel balusters?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/11/2021
          Use the RAD Stripper and Brightener kit for prep. Best to cover the stucco to be safe.
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    Don · 08/02/2021
    Currently sanding our redwood deck, then will apply cleaner followed by brightener, followed by a semi-transparent mahogany stain.   Can the cleaner and brightener be applied from the mix bucket with a rag or brush or is a sprayer necessary? 
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      RAD Products · 08/03/2021
      Spray on and then pressure wash off is the correct way.
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    Karisa · 07/30/2021
    We just finished the RAD cleaner and brightener and we’re letting it dry the 48 hours before staining. We have a couple light dirty shoe marks and bird poop that have gotten on our deck during that 48 hrs. Can we just spot clean with water and a rag? 
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    Doug Houden · 07/10/2021
    I am going to use RAD Cleaner and Brightner after sanding my Red Bhatu Mahogany deck.  With possible rain showers in the area off and on over the next two weeks I need to find 2 drying days after cleaning and brightening and then 24 hours of dryness for the Armstrong Clark Stain to dry.  IF it showers after the  clean/brightening what then, do I need to reclean and brighten?  How long can I leave the clean brighten. before I stain?  Can I clean and brighten 1 day then stain a week later if there are showers in between?ThanksDH - Canada
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/10/2021
      No, you do not need to reclean. Just let it dry for 48 hours after prep or rain before you stain. A week later is okay.
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    Connie · 06/22/2021
    How well does RAD semitransparent stain perform on 3 month old pressure treated wood without cleaning or brightening?
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    Bonnie · 06/16/2021
    We stained our deck floor last June with RAD Solid. The railings and posts were replaced at the same time. I want to stain the rails and post but am concerned that it will damage the beautiful finish on the floor boards. Will it damage the floor? How can I prevent this? Plastic sheeting seems like it might trap the cleaner/brightener when I am rinsing.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/16/2021
      It should not harm the solid stain on the floor. Prewet and rinse well any over spray.
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    Shelene · 06/13/2021
    in sept 2019 to my 15 year old untreated deck using all your products i cleaned, then brightened, and applied two coats semi transparent dark walnut, with semi cedar on border. Did not overcoat it. Looked great (see pix), but 6 months later when i washed it with dawn dish soap it seemed like it washed or lightened the stain out in some spots (not all, just some.) And its worse now (2nd pix) What went wrong? Now i want to fix it, what should i do? i want to apply same color and product. No need to strip first? only clean and not brighten? one or two coats? help! don't want to repeat any mistakes. i followed all your instructions the first time. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/14/2021
      Use the RAD cleaner and then pressure wash. Brightener after. Apply one coat of the RAD Stain. it is normal to have to re-coat every 2 years.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Shelene · 06/14/2021
        thanks. Why do i have to use the brightener again? Is dawn dish soap a safe product to use to clean it next spring? if not, what is a safe cleaning product i can use next spring after i've done this maintenance coat this summer? 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/14/2021
          You always have to brighten after you clean to neutralize. Just use water to clean with a little bit of dish soap. Not anything too strong or aggressive.
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            Shelene · 06/14/2021
            but in your instructions it says that if you are applying a maintenance coat you only have to clean and not brighten it-so i am confused why you are suggesting i need to use the brightener again. please clarify and explain why you are suggesting something different than the instructions. thanks
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 06/14/2021
              It is used to neutralize the cleaner when you have bare wood as you do.
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    Keith · 06/12/2021
    How do you remove the white plastic ring from the top of the one-gallon stain can?
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    Tom · 06/07/2021
    I did step one cleaner in overcast conditions, and now it's turned to full, hot sun. How soon does step 2 brightener have to be applied?
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      RAD Products · 06/07/2021
      Same day for best results. Just mist with water first.
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        Tom Westrup · 06/07/2021
        Does step 2 also need to be rinsed off before it dries?It's 88°, with 1/3 of the deck in full sun. 😟
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          RAD Products · 06/07/2021
          Yes, and thoroughly as well. Just mist it with water while rinsing. It is easy.
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    Brett · 06/04/2021
    I cleaned and brightened my 1 yr old redwood deck with RAD.  I used a soft bristle brush and pressure washer with the cleaner.  The deck looked great after I cleaned it, however when I started to stain it with Armstrong Clark Sierra Redwood Semi-Transparent Stain I noticed some boards had areas looked blotchy.  Upon closer inspection there were other boards that had this appearance after the cleaning and brightening.  Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent this appearance on the boards I haven't stained yet?  
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    Tim · 06/02/2021
    I would like to stain this fence. I have enough TWP 100 cedartone stain to do the job. Where do I begin?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/02/2021
      Prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener kits while pressure washing.
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    paul sauer · 05/28/2021
    do I need to cover the painted metal spindles of my deck railing when using the cleaners and brighteer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/28/2021
      In most cases, not but always test spot first.
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    Mike Balke · 05/27/2021
     I put a new deck on last year with a semi-transparent stain.  I would like to put a fresh semi-transparent stain on this year.  How do I determine whether to use the RAD stripper or RAD cleaner? Thanks,Mike
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/27/2021
      In most cases, use the Cleaner. You would strip if it was uneven. Brightener after.
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    Jacqueline · 05/14/2021
    2 questions Do you rinse the brightner with a pressure washer or garden hose Will the cleaner and brightener damage a marble insert we have in the decking
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/14/2021
      Pressure washer. Not sure about the marble. Probably not but best to cover just in case. 
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    Maria C · 05/13/2021
    We installed a new deck June last year and a friend advised us to apply superglue on the knots and cracks. Will the cleaner be enough or should we use a stripper? 
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      RAD Products · 05/14/2021
      That was not a very helpful friend! Sorry, but not sure if either will remove it. You may need to sand it out.
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    Barnes · 04/15/2021
    what happens if the cleaner dries before washing it off?  Also, is there any expiration on the cleaner if it is kept in the bag?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/15/2021
      Mist it with water to keep it wet while working. 24 months for shelf life.
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    curt · 04/14/2021
    Do I need to tape off metal balisters on my railing or does the products not harm powder coated metal?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/14/2021
      Teh prep products should not harm but alwasy test spot first.
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    Peter B · 04/05/2021
    I have two 400 sf decks one above the other. We recently purchased the 18 year old house in Bend, OR and I believe it has the original decks. The climate here is high desert with little rain and 300 days of sunshine. The 1st picture shows the lower deck which doesn't look like its has been sealed (water sits, but doesn't bead). The 2nd picture shows the Upper Deck with an unknown sealer on it and the water beads. SORRY PICTURES WOULDN'T UPLOAD.
    I bought the cleaner, brightener and semi-transparent natural stain. After reading more on your website, it appears I must strip the sealed upper deck with before cleaning, brightening and staining.
    Since the working on the upper deck will drip down on the lower deck, what is your recommendation for the order in which I should refinish? The upper deck is the one most used and visible.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/06/2021
      We would need to see pictures for prep help. If they did not load the file size was too large. Try saving as smaller. Always start from the top, then down.
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    Jacob · 03/21/2021
    I have a deck that I plan on using the RAD solid stain on. I've already sanded it completely, removing old peeling behr deck-over that was on it. I plan on using the RAD cleaner on it next. Will I still need to use the brighter as well even though I'll be coating it with solid stain after, which would hide the brightened wood? Or is this still necessary to assure a proper surface for the stain to work into?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/21/2021
      It always helps to neutralize a deck cleaner or deck stripper with the brightener, so there are not any issues with chemical reactions with the stain.
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    fretfinger · 03/17/2021
    I cleaned, brightened, and applied the Dark Walnut semi-transparent stain last year. If I understand correctly, I can apply a maintenance coat this year, instead of stripping it and starting the process all over. Is that correct?
    So, would this year's process be:
    1) Apply Cleaner and power wash
    2) While the wood is still wet, apply one coat of Dark Walnut Semi-Transparent stain

    Or do i need to apply 2 coats?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sarah Johnson · 10/15/2020
    Hello!

    We stained And sealed our deck a year ago but the moisture this summer created a mold and black stains on our deck. We plan on just cleaning the deck and to remove dirt and black mold stains as the deck stain is in good shape. Are we good to use the cleaner and brighter if we plan to not stain again?

    Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2020
      No, the RAD prep products are only to be used for when you are recoating.
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    Greg · 09/28/2020
    I should mention deck is 15 months old, first time staining.
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    Greg · 09/28/2020
    Just did the cleaning with the RAD cleaner still some dark gray spots , should I redo it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/28/2020
      Did you use the Brightener? Post pictures.
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        Greg · 09/28/2020
        No did not use brightener yet. I did go over the darker spots with cleaner, not sure if it is better, was to wet and getting dark. Had close to 200 ft of railing to do. I can brighten tomorrow. Do I need to re-wet with water before doing the brightener? Also have little bit of fuzzies on railing. Do I sand them down? Sorry to dark for pictures now.

        Deck floor will be in a few days.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/29/2020
          The cleaner darkens the wood by raising the pH balance. This is normal and why you have to brighten the wood after and is supposed to go on as soon as you are done with the cleaner or stripper for the best results. Rewet and brighten as soon as you can. You can sand fuzzies if needed.
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            Greg · 09/29/2020
            Just found out I will have to leave town, not sure how many days. When I get back should I use the cleaner again and then brightener right after?
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    Tammy Larsen · 09/27/2020
    We stained our cedar deck with your system last summer. Earlier this spring our deck was hot with hail that removed spots of the stain. How should we go about restaining just those damaged areas?
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      RAD Products · 09/28/2020
      You cannot "spot" fix. You would have to redo all. At this point in the year, probably just best to wait until Spring.
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    Gina Mittag · 09/23/2020
    We are wanting to stain our 300 sq ft deck. We power washed with just water before your product arrived. It has never been treated and is about 4 years old. Some of the deck is covered and some is not. Several of the areas that are not have green mildew/mold that your cleaner and brighter were not able to remove. Do you have any suggestions on how to remove this from those areas? We finally had a dry spell and are hoping to get it done before winter!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/23/2020
      Did you pressure wash after the cleaner was applied?