Decking is a wonderful invention, that can separate a part of the garden off for sitting on, enjoying barbecues on, and it is very useful to give the kids somewhere safe and flat to play on. Decking is a very low maintenance option for any garden, as it is easy to clean and lasts for years and years if well planned. There is one problem that affects the majority of decking though – algae. Algae can damage the decking over time, and it is an unsightly problem. So how to remove algae from decking? Luckily there are a few simple, tried and tested solutions to this problem.
Algae and other unsightly mould issues build up on decking when it gets sodden in the rain. The problem is exacerbated if there are any places where the wet sits around, for example under dead leaves. Algae on the decking is not only not pleasant to look at, but it can be dangerously slippery too.
How To Remove Algae From Decking
If you want to remove it there are a range of options, from chemical treatments to good old fashioned scrubbing! Your solution to how to remove algae on decking depends on your priorities – do you want a quick fix and you don’t mind a chemical or to? Or do you have a bit of time that can be used on a bit of elbow grease to get your decking clean? Have a look through the following ideas, and see which one best fits your situation.
1. Pressure Washer
If you have access to one of these clever devices then your life will be much easier. Pressure washing simply uses extremely highly pressurised jets of water which can blast off just about any dirt, mould, algae or just about anything else that is on your decking.
If the problem hasn’t gone too far and rotted the boards entirely, then pressure washing is certainly a great option, as it is fast, easy and requires very little effort on your part. If you don’t have one of your own then now is a great time to get to know the neighbours!
Bang on a few doors and ask to borrow one. Alternatively, there are many companies who offer the hire of such equipment for a small fee. Do remember not to hold the washer too close to the wood, as the strong jets could potentially damage it.
2. Chemical Treatments
There are a lot of products out there which should be able to strip the algae from your decking in a quick and easy application, or sometimes two. They need to be applied, in most cases left to sit for a while, and some don’t even need rinsing off.
This is a very simple and easy solution to how to remove algae from decking, but some people don’t like the idea of using potentially damaging chemicals, especially in a garden where there may be pets, children and wildlife. There are, of course, different levels of chemical treatment, so you should be able to find one that is pet and child safe.
3. Elbow Grease
If you don’t want to use any cleaning agents or anything else on your decking, for whatever reason, then there is the old fashioned option to give it a really good scrubbing. This is not the most attractive option for cleaning your outside area, and you can be sure of building up a sweat – but it will do the job.
You will need a good, stiff bristled brush and plenty of energy! A bit of water will help to soften anything stuck on the decking, and you can swill it over with a bucket of water when you’re done, to remove any residue.
4. Soda Crystals
Soda crystals are a slightly unexpected cleaning agent, but one that will really do the job. You will need to sprinkle the crystals on the decking and get scrubbing with a really stiff bristled brush, then rinse away with water, and this should remove any algae and make your decking sparkle again. Be warned though, this will really burn some calories so make sure you have a good breakfast!
5. Jeyes Fluid
This is a very versatile cleaning fluid which is great at cleaning a huge number of things – including algae off decking. Just add a couple of capfuls to a watering can, sprinkle it over the decking and leave for an hour. Then scrub it with a broom and rinse with plenty of clean water.
Step By Step Plan
The first step to any deck cleaning is to sweep the area first, to remove any debris and build up of dead leaves and little twigs and bits and bobs that fall from the sky onto your decking. Next, apply your solution, or get the pressure washer out, or get scrubbing. Finally, rinse the decking down then sweep it a final time – this will remove any standing water and help to keep your decking algae free.
What Else To Consider?
Once you have discovered how to remove algae from decking, you will need to treat your decking to prevent more algae forming in the future. There are many products out there which will do this job; you can use stain or varnish, or even products that are designed to stop algae formation. Just have a browse through the internet and you will find any number of these products that will help you in your fight for a gorgeous decking.
Whatever else you use to clean your decking, it is recommended that you don’t use bleach. Although bleach is an effective cleaning agent, it is also damaging to wood as it breaks down the wood fibres and will irrevocably damage your decking over time. Bleach is also far from environmentally friendly, and will have a detrimental effect on the plants and wildlife in your garden.
Hopefully this has answered a few of your questions on how to remove algae from decking, and hopefully you can enjoy a sparkling clean decking that will be a pleasure to sit out on, rather than an eyesore and a slipping hazard!