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
    Linda Tinker · 09/15/2019
    I am searching for a deck cleaner that is not intended to strip away any solid or semi transparent stain but that can clean away dirt and mildew and that has no bleach. What would you suggest for just cleaning for dirt and mildew but not to prep for staining or retaining?
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      RAD Products · 09/16/2019
      Out prep products are designed only for when you are reapplying, not general cleaning of dirt.
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    Matt · 09/14/2019
    Looks like light rain early Sunday morning but high 80s rest of Sunday and 90s on Monday. Think I can stain on Tuesday? Temps in 90s Tues and Wed but rain on Thurs. Think that window of opportunity will be ok?. Thanks
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    Matt · 09/14/2019
    Deck is ready to stain with TWP. This morning dew had fallen. My deck faces east so can I wait for the dew to burn off then stain?
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    Edward Kron · 09/09/2019
    We have powder coated, steel balusters. Will the cleaner or brightener damage the finish? Q
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/09/2019
      It should but always test a spot first.
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        Ed · 09/09/2019
        Was the reply intended to say it should "Not"?
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    Matt · 09/09/2019
    Built new 18x18 deck in Nov 2017. In July 2018 I cleaned, brightened and stained with one coat of TWP Pecan. Yesterday(Sept 8 2019) I cleaned deck with Defy and wood looks like it's back to it's natural color. How many coats of TWP do I need to apply this time around? If one coat, ok. If two coats, should I stain entire floor before applying 2nd coat or do a few boards at a time? Thanks
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      RAD Products · 09/09/2019
      If bare wood, apply two coats wet on wet. Doo all the floor and then repeat.
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    V. M. · 09/06/2019
    Can I apply the cleaner and brightener with a mop if I dont have a sprayer?
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      RAD Products · 09/06/2019
      Best to use a sprayer for aproper application.
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    Dan Sethner · 08/22/2019
    My new decking boards are 5 months old and the hot dipped galvanized nails that the contractor used are rusting with stain marks on the treated lumber.. so I tested the RAD cleaner by mixing one tablespoon of crystals in a 32 ounce spray bottle. Waited 15 minutes and scrubbed with a brush, then power wash with 1500 psi spray. Did not remove stains. Appreciate your recommendations!
    Thanks Dan Sethner
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      RAD Products · 08/23/2019
      Brightener will help to remove rust, not the cleaner. The rust will come back though as soon as it rains.
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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?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              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?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          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
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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.
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            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?