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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    Paul Jones · 04/26/2020
    What happens if I use your stain on a older pergola without cleaning and brightening? It would be a huge job to go over all of the different surfaces three different times. I would be satisfied if your solid color stain covered evenly and lasted for a few years before having to re-coat. Thanks. Paul
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      RAD Products · 04/26/2020
      You have to prep and if you did not, it would fail.
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        Paul Jones · 04/26/2020
        If I do the prep work how long can I expect the finish to last? When/if the finish begins to fail do I have to then strip and brighten at that point before re-coating?
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          RAD Products · 04/26/2020
          About two years. Clean and brightener prior to recoat.
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    Isaac · 04/21/2020
    Hi our deck has not been cleaned or stained in 10+ years, it is not in the worst condition but it is about time we do it. I just wanted to assure myself I have the steps in the right order. Step 1: Remove all furniture. Step 2: Hammer in any nails sticking out. Step 3: Sand splintering areas with 80 grit. Step 4: Apply stain stripper on railings and verticals (and horizontals if needed). Step 5: Apply deck cleaner on horizontals and verticals. Step 6: Apply wood brightener. Step 7: Apply wood putty in 1/8 inch cracks. Step 8: Apply Stain. Here attached are pictures of the deck maybe you have any other tips or suggestions on products needed. Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 04/21/2020
      Strip all wood first, use the additives as well: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

      No need for the cleaner, just use the stripper. Sand after the stripping to remove any stain that does not come off and to remove any splinters. Brightener last.

      Never use wood filler or putty on a deck. It does not work. Leave cracks as is.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Isaac · 04/21/2020
        Okay got it. So the stripper works as a cleaner as well? And it's fine to use everywhere? Because I have some areas that still have stain and some that are grey and weathered. Can you suggest products?
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    Scott Tucker · 04/16/2020
    Will the RAD cleaner and brightener damage appearance black powder coated Aluminum spindles in my hand railing? Also, same question for the black molded plastic fittings at each end of the spindles where the spindles attach. Masking each one will be a pain as there are around 200 total. Pic is of Cumaru with failed Penofin oil :(
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      RAD Products · 04/16/2020
      Hard to say as they are not all made the same. Typically no but always test first.
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    Debbie Pulver · 04/15/2020
    We just installed a tongue&groove pine board ceiling to our gazabo area. It is not pressure treated. Can this be stained immediately? Do we need to use the cleaner and brightener on it before staining? If so what's the best way for application so we don't get a shower with the chemicals. Thanks for your help.
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    Tal · 04/15/2020
    one more
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    Tal · 04/13/2020
    I have an old deck that hasn't been stained in years. It has some what looks like semi-transparent stain left on railing and other vertical surfaces. Also some mildew and rust stains on the deck. Should I use cleaner and then stripper or stripper should do the job? thank you!
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    Aumfwd · 04/07/2020
    how long should i wait after applying brightener to apply twc semi transparent stain to ipe wood?
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    gale · 04/04/2020
    will restore a deck cleaner remove the existing stain on the deck?
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      RAD Products · 04/04/2020
      That would depend on the current condition of the stain and the type of stain.
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    Kami · 03/23/2020
    I did the cleaner and brightener and it seems like my deck was brighter after cleaning and darkened after the brightener. I know I used them in the right order according to the package. I checked many times. Is it at all possible that the cleaner/brightener could have been packaged into the wrong bag? Is the cleaner the one that is grittier and doesn't dissolve as easily? Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 03/23/2020
      The cleaner does not always dissolve 100%. It is not possible that both were packed incorrectly.
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        Kami · 03/23/2020
        Thanks for the clarification.
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    Rollo · 03/10/2020
    Can I still get good results with a garden hose? I don't have a pressure washer.
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      RAD Products · 03/10/2020
      You would have to use a scrub brush and then rinse method. It will take longer but turn out well.
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    Aundra · 03/09/2020
    Will you have to scrub the deck cleaner if you just doing handrails What will be the best way to do the handrails in the stairs
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      RAD Products · 03/09/2020
      Spray on the deck cleaner and then lightly pressure wash off is the best way.
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    John · 02/25/2020
    Can I clean and brighten in one day and then stain the next day? What happens if it rains inbetween?
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      RAD Products · 02/25/2020
      With RAD Stain you can do the same day or next day. Rain will not harm it, just do not apply to a soaking wet deck. Damp or dry will work.
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    Mel · 01/31/2020
    If I reconstitute all of both the cleaner and the brightener, how long are the solutions viable?
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      RAD Products · 01/31/2020
      Months if not longer.
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        Janice · 05/21/2020
        I am not sure this went through earlier or if it will show with the original post:-) This is in reply to an answer on 1/31/20 about how long the cleaner and brightener are viable after mixing and the answer was months if not longer....I was told that the cleaner had to be used right away after mixing and would not work later if stored. Am I misunderstanding something????
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          RAD Products · 05/22/2020
          In powder it lasts many months. If mixed with water the cleaner has to be used within hours.
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    Mel · 01/30/2020
    Do i need to use the Wood Brightener immediately or can I wait a day or two after I use the cleaner? am crunched for time and wondered if there is a best window for Brightener application
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      RAD Products · 01/31/2020
      Right away for the best results. Very easy to do and takes about 30 minutes.
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    Kristin Beard · 11/05/2019
    Hi! I have a 500 sq ft deck that was previously painted and several coats on it. I have stripped, scrapped, and sanded down to bare wood in order to stain with RAD semi-transparent stain. I also purchased your prep kit (cleaner/brightened). My question is; since I have sanded extensively should I use both the cleaner and brightener before staining? Or will just the brightener be sufficient?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/05/2019
      Use both for better results of the RAD penetrating into the wood grain.
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    Kathy M · 11/04/2019
    I have a new deck which was done about 9 months ago. We were planning on starting Friday with cleaner and brightener, but just saw the weather. Rain is supposed to end Friday morning but I was wondering if I could start it Friday afternoon. The temperature is going to be 55 Friday and 45 that night. Saturday and Sunday will be sunny with highs about 65 but lows about 38. Should I wait for another weekend or possibly next Spring. Thanks Kathy
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    Jim · 11/03/2019
    For clarification, my deck is cedar.
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    Jim · 11/03/2019
    I have a Generac 2800 PSI / 2.5 gallons per minute pressure washer. To avoid exceeding 500 to 600 psi so as not to damage the wood, do I use the green or white tip and how far from the decking should the tip be held?
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      RAD Products · 11/04/2019
      Use the green tip and wash at about 6-10" away from the wood.
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    Sandy · 10/10/2019
    Will a strong hose spray work to wash off the cleaner or do i need a pressure sprayer?
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    Thomas · 10/09/2019
    I rinsed rad brightner for 20 minutes it still is sudsy. Do I need to keep rinsing?
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    S.g · 09/30/2019
    Will the cleaner or brightner damage the Screens on a screen porch. There is good Chance of getting these on into the screens when spraying.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/01/2019
      They should not.
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        S.g. · 10/01/2019
        Thanks, I see on this page that using the cleaner on wood that has been left unstained can cause raised wood grain/fuzziness that may require sanding to correct.

        The open wood deck portion was built three years ago and never stained, although it has not grayed much, maybe because there are a lot of trees behind it.

        The screened porch is older and was stained many years ago.

        Am I ok with using the product on both portions or better to use only on the older stained porch but not on the unstained deck to avoid having to potentially deal with sanding fuzzy wood?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/01/2019
          The cleaner does not cause the raised grain, it is oxidation that causes this. The more you have the larger the chance of this happening. You have to use it everywhere including the unstained areas.
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    linda · 09/28/2019
    it has been raining for a couple days and the deck is soaked. once the rain stops how long do I need to wait to apply the RAD cleaner then brightener?
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      RAD Products · 09/29/2019
      I can be applied a visibly damp deck, not soaking wet.
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    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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?
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      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.