Keep your wood deck looking its best by following Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Danny Lipford's tips for cleaning your deck.
Apply deck cleaner to both vertical and horizontal surfaces of the deck and railings. Allow cleaner to sit for the recommended period of time.
After cleaner has set for the recommended time, wash down the deck. A pressure washer is the best tool for the job. Pressure washers deliver a concentrated blast of water at anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 pounds per square inch -- so don't overdo it. Warning: Focusing for too long in one spot or holding the nozzle too close to the deck can damage the wood.
After the deck has been cleaned, it's time to perform any necessary repairs. Drive any protruding nails flush with the surface of the board or replace them with deck screws. Repair or replace boards that are badly deteriorated.
Use a sander to smooth rough spots, especially on railings, to prevent splinters.
A pump sprayer works well to apply stains and sealers because they are much thinner than paint. After spraying an area, go over it with a paintbrush while the sealer is still wet to work it into the cracks and spread the finish out evenly.