Video: How to prepare an old deck for new stain, a magic mildew wash recipe and a giveaway from HomeRight


The time has come for us to restain our wraparound porch. It’s another project we’ll be tackling on our own, since we’re living rich on less around here. 😉 Considering the size of our porch, I’m foreseeing this will be no small project. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized pieces and spreading the work out over a few weeks.

Our porch wood is still in pretty good shape, with only a few small areas of chipping stain and spots of mildew. That means the preparation work has been fairly minimal. In fact, the best piece of advice I can offer regarding an exterior restaining or repainting project is to tackle it before the finish is so deteriorated that you have to spend days scraping and sanding the surface.

After researching the best way to prepare an old deck for new stain, I came up with three key steps, which I’ve detailed below. Or check out the following video to see exactly how I prepared our porch for new stain.

Step 1: Pressure wash the area to remove dirt and chipping paint or stain.

Pressure washing quickly removes dirt, loose paint and built-up grime, improving paint adhesion as a result. Use caution when spraying around windows. Also, avoid directing water up under the siding laps, and keep the nozzle at least 12-16 inches from the wood, so it doesn’t splinter it.

Step 2: Scrape and sand off any leftover chipped paint or stain.

Flaking paint must be removed or the new paint on top of it will eventually let go, too. Make sure the surface is dry first. Then with a sharp scraper, follow the grain of the wood with long strokes. Be sure to pound down any nails sticking up and follow that up with a good sanding.

Step 3: Kill any mildew.

A pressure washer and water alone will not kill mildew. Since mildew can bleed through and ruin a new coat of paint or stain, it needs to be dealt with. I used the homemade mildew wash recipe below coupled with the HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom to tackle our porch mildew quickly and easily.

Homemade mildew wash

Homemade Magic Mildew Wash

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 quart laundry bleach
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol
  • 2 Tablespoons Murphy’s Oil Soap (or other non-ammonia detergent)

After mixing this concoction up, I used the deck washer flow-through broom* to brush it on. (Remember to mix this solution outside or in a very well-ventilated room). Then I attached a garden hose to the broom and turned it on. The broom’s stiff bristles loosened and pushed the debris, while the water jets blasted the area clean.

After these three steps, be sure to let the surface dry really well. Then you are ready to apply that beautiful new coat of paint or stain! I’ll be changing the color of our porch floor and using solid color stain. So stay tuned for that project coming soon.

In the meantime, enter below to win your own HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom! It has a 13” bristle broom with water jet nozzles and a durable three-piece aluminum extension handle with foam grips. It’s a two-in-one deck washer that can also be used to scrub clean: patios, driveways, garage floors, pool areas and any outdoor space that needs deep-cleaned. Or if you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can purchase a broom here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Homeright and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.

* Links to products in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing though these links will not cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content. Thanks in advance for your support.

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45 Responses

  1. Mimi says:

    Perfect for cleaning my grungy deck! Gotta try that recipe, too. Thanks for sharing

  2. Debra Schramm says:

    I’d use it to clean my deck, doors, siding, carport and porch!

  3. Mary Howe says:

    We need to redo our deck, we’re going to use the rubbery stuff you roll on. This broom thing looks like a great way to clean. If I don’t get lucky enough to win, I may have to buy one.

  4. Mari Nicolosi says:

    The patio ….the pavers are covered with moss.

  5. Jeannie Garcia-Buechele says:

    This would be a big big help with my dirty cool deck on my patio and around my pool from my boys and dog that track mud all over the place 🙂

  6. Jane M says:

    I am about to re-stain my deck too! This would be great for my projects!

  7. JERICO says:

    Great information! Keep up the great work you are doing here.

  8. Carol Wood says:

    A very timely blog post. Our deck is in desperate need of cleaning and staining. It would be wonderful to have the washer flow through broom.

  9. Carol Wood says:

    Can’t wait to see your results!

  10. Dorth says:

    What a coincidence, I was just wondering how I was going to get the deck refinished this year. Since my husband turned 80 he hasn’t been able to do some of the things he had always done. I think Home Right has just the thing he needs!

  11. beverly e says:

    My carport needs a good scrubbing and then staining. This would really speed up the process!

  12. Annette says:

    My patio is in desperate need of cleaning and this broom would help me get rid of the stubborn mildew stains.

  13. Connie says:

    I also have a large wood deck in the back yard and a porch (cement) in the front. I can easily see using the HomeRight Deck Washer to clean both!

  14. Lynn says:

    Our deck and front porch/sidewalks could use a good scrubbing. This looks like the perfect tool to use!

  15. Jane says:

    Our back deck is shaded and needs a good scrubing!

  16. Sandy says:

    Living in the Pacific Northwest our decks are always mildews and moldy. This looks like just the right DIY tool to use. Thanks for the ideas and recipe.

  17. teresa says:

    OMGosh, I have a covered veranda with a open patio above it. It’s so difficult spraying AND brushing at the same time. This is a fantastic idea. Thanks for the chance!

  18. Karen DeShon says:

    Will this work for very old decks never painted? I will give it a try.

    • Susan says:

      Absolutely! You may just need to do some sanding to get the surface smooth enough to accept the new stain and not chip off.

  19. nadine says:

    Thanks for the info…will use to clean my deck and porch!

  20. Linda says:

    I have a deck that gets mildew on the sides. Sounds like a great recipe that I need to try to remove it.

  21. Danielle says:

    Excited to find this video, recipe, and broom. Trying to close on a home and one of the “problem” areas was the peeling porch and deck. The house was built in the 1800’s so this is one of many projects I will be tackling on my own. Can’t wait to give it a try and see the results! Thank you!

  22. Big Mega says:

    This brush is amazing, although I do not have a deck I would love to try it out on our siding when we power wash it each summer and eventually when we get around to remodeling our old porches I know it would be a handy dandy tool to have. Love you post sis!

  23. Alina says:

    This would most certainly help me tackle my deck and my front porch!

  24. Sean says:

    The patio could use some good cleaning right about now. That’s the first thing I’d use this for.

  25. Kim R says:

    The wraparound deck on our one year old mountain home already has mildew 🙁 This broom will make the job go much faster!
    Thanks for the mildew remover recipe!

  26. Rebecca C says:

    This tool is awesome! We just bought a new house and the deck needs refinished. But, before we move I also want to use this to scrub down the patio and garage floors before we sell our house.

  27. Jo Shawver says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe for inexpensive deck wash. It’s that time of year! Do you know if it is safe for the plants around the deck or should they be covered?

    • Susan says:

      Jo, because of the bleach content, I would probably shy away from getting too much of the solution on the plants. However, I didn’t worry about the shrubs around the front of my porch. I just hosed everything off and pushed the water off the porch. All my plants are fine.

  28. Ginny says:

    Wow! What a terrific product! We are planning on re-finishing our deck this summer so this couldn’t come along at a better time :). Thank you so much for the chance to win.

  29. Kaye Newman says:

    I have a large patio in back also a large deck around the pool. The HomeRight® Deck Washer Flow-Through Broom would be perfect to clean both.

  30. David says:

    I would like to use this on the bricks on our home. I think the mildew wash would be just as effective on brick.

    • Susan says:

      I agree, David. I think it would do a great job on brick! Just be sure to let the wash sit for a few minutes to work its “magic” before hosing it off. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  31. Jessica To says:

    I would use it on our front porch where the cats hang out.

  32. Kathy DeLacy says:

    I would LOVE to win this. We live on a gravel road, so our decks are always do dirty!!

  33. amy tolley says:

    I have a back porch combo deck i would love to use this amazing set of supplies on this is pretty amazing love the video ty for showing us how great this works…best of luck to everyone

  34. Cheryl V says:

    Our deck is needing some major attention! Thanks for the chance to win!

  35. Dawn Monroe says:

    Id like to clean our patio area. My grand kids are always out there and I think I could make it look 99% better.

  36. Vanessa says:

    This would work wonders on the old deck we are trying to redo.

  37. christie lopanec says:

    need to pressure wash the front of the house and the travel trailer

  38. DJohnson says:

    Cleaning my deck and getting it ready for summer parties.

  1. July 27, 2015

    […] project, I prepared the wooden porch floor for stain the night before. I scrubbed it down with my magic mildew wash, then power-washed it to remove any leftover dirt and loose finish. It’s important to have a […]

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