This Is Why Your Wooden Deck Always Looks Dirty

You’re trying to take in a breath of fresh air on your deck but realize you can’t enjoy it because your deck always seems to be dirty. Maybe it’s time to figure out why your wooden deck always looks dirty and take some necessary steps to fix it.

Dust, debris, and an untreated stain can make your deck look dirty. Other factors include damage and discoloration to the wood resulting from weather changes. Therefore, you’ll need to clean, organize, or cover your deck. Another alternative is using a high-quality sealer to maintain the wood.

Deck surfaces are susceptible to dirt build-up. I’ll discuss some of the best ways to keep your deck from looking dirty. I’ll also share with you some reasons why it might not be easy to maintain a clean deck.

This Is Why Your Wooden Deck Always Looks Dirty

How To Keep Your Deck From Looking Dirty

Your deck is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. However, a dirty deck can be a turnoff.

You might have invested in regular cleaning of your deck. Yet this effort seems fruitless. As a result, you might wonder what you’re doing wrong and how to correct the issue. Fortunately, with strategic care and maintenance, you can overcome the problem.

You can protect your deck from looking dirty by:

  • Cleaning it regularly
  • Applying a sealant
  • Applying stain
  • Cleaning dirt and stains promptly
  • Organizing the space
  • Covering the deck

Let’s look at each one of these steps in detail:

Clean Your Deck Regularly To Remove Dirt and Debris

Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your deck clean. This means sweeping away dirt or scrubbing it regularly to remove debris, leaves, and dirt.

It would help if you also pressure wash the deck periodically to remove dirt build-up. A pressure washer is a great way to remove grime, pollen, leaves, and debris that might have stuck on the deck. Plus, it will help keep the deck looking new.

If you have a power washer, you can occasionally use it to give your deck a deep clean. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help prevent any damage to the decking material.

Want to learn the best way to pressure wash your wood deck? I recommend you watch this video:

Pressure washing wood decks-- The EASY Way

Apply a Sealant To Protect Your Deck From External Factors

Applying a sealant is another way to keep your deck clean. Sealants help to protect your deck from dirt, grime, and other debris that can make it look dirty. A sealant will also protect the deck from the sun and extreme weather.

There are a variety of sealants available. Be sure to select a sealant designed for wooden decks and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

I recommend the Seal-Once Marine Premium Wood Sealer (available on This product provides your wooden deck with UV protection and water resistance. It also dries quickly and is easy to clean.

Apply Stain To Protect Your Deck From Discoloration

Staining your deck helps protect it from discoloration and wear and tear. In addition, a stain can also give your deck a gorgeous new look!

When choosing a stain, consider the color of your deck and the level of protection you need. For example:

  • A clear stain will protect your deck from the sun and weather but will not change the color of the wood.
  • A semi-transparent stain will add a bit of color to the wood and provide some protection from atmospheric elements.
  • A solid stain will provide the most protection from the sun and weather but will change the color of the wood.

When applying stain, be sure to:

  • Use a brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the wood.
  • Work in the direction of the grain
  • Start with a small area to ensure you’re happy with the results before proceeding.

Moreover, make sure it’s not going to rain after staining your deck because it can render all your efforts useless. [What to Do if It Rains After Staining Your Deck]

By following these staining tips, you can keep your wood deck looking great for years.

Clean Dirt and Stains Promptly

If your deck has dirt or stains, it’s important to clean them as soon as possible. The longer a stain sits on the deck, the harder it will be to remove. 

There are a variety of deck cleaners on the market that you can use to remove stains. Be sure to test the cleaner in a small area first to ensure it doesn’t react with your deck material.

Once you’ve applied the cleaner, let it sit for the recommended time before rinsing it off.

If you want one that’s safe and effective, I recommend the Star Brite Non-Skid Deck Cleaner (link to Amazon). This cleaner works well on most surfaces, including wood, plastic, and metal. It also provides added protection against new stains.

Organize Your Deck Space

If your deck is constantly cluttered with toys, tools, and other odds and ends, it can be tough to keep it looking clean. Sometimes, a little organization can go a long way and do wonders. 

You can organize your deck furniture and accessories so they’re not just randomly strewn. This will help to prevent dirt and grime from accumulating in corners that are hard to reach with your regular cleaning tools like brooms and mops.

Better Homes and Gardens offers some wonderful deck storage ideas you might want to check out.

Cover the Deck

You can consider covering your deck depending on the weather forecast or if nobody will be using the area for several days or weeks. 

Some people cover their decks with a tarp, which can help keep the deck clean and dry even when rain or snow hits. So if you live in an area with a lot of snow, you can put a tarp over your deck to keep the snow from building up. 

On the other hand, if you live in a sunny area with low rainfall or rare chances of snow, you can use a tarp shade to protect your wooden deck from sun damage. Otherwise, the wood stain or color will fade from the intense heat.

You can try the Artpuch Sun Shade (available on It comes in various colors to suit the aesthetics of your home. It offers UV protection and has breathable material to let you enjoy a cool day out.

The Challenges in Maintaining a Clean Deck

Here are a few reasons why you might find it difficult to keep your deck clean:

The Wood Material Absorbs Stain

Wood is a porous material, which means that it can absorb stains and dirt. Some woods can be very difficult to maintain. You might spend a lot of time and effort trying to get your deck looking good.

If you’re looking for a deck that’s easy to clean, you might want to avoid certain wood types. For example, cedar is known for its natural resistance to rot and decay. However, removing dirt and grime from the surface can be difficult. 

Redwood also has a high oil content, which can be difficult to clean. So, check the kind of wood you’re working with to find the most appropriate way to clean it.

Extreme Weather Changes Can Damage Your Deck

If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, your wooden deck is at risk for damage.

Hot summers and cold winters can interfere with the natural state of your deck. The heat of summer can cause the wood to warp, and the cold of winter can cause the wood to crack. Also, the sun can fade the finish and cause the deck to discolor.

These effects can leave a wooden deck less attractive and appear out of place. That’s why it’s important to protect your deck from weather elements to keep it looking its best.

Pets and Children Make a Mess on the Deck

Maintaining a clean deck if you have young children or house pets can be difficult because they tend to make a mess. For example, they spill their food, track in dirt, and leave their toys out. It can be challenging to clean up after them.

However, there are some things you can do to make it easier. For example, you can teach children to clean up after themselves. You can also create a cleaning schedule and stick to it.

On the other hand, you can train your family dog not to leave markings on your wooden deck. If you find it difficult to do so yourself, you can hire a dog trainer. It can help prevent accidents on your deck and inside your home.

Wood Stains Can Be Difficult to Remove

An overly applied stain can be difficult to remove, especially if it’s been sitting on the deck for a while. When it comes to wood stains, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and use a light hand.

Too much stain will leave your deck looking like a mess. A good way to prevent the staining problem is to clean the excess stain right away. 

Dirt and Debris Can Accumulate Over Time

Over time, your wooden deck can become covered in dirt and debris. This can result from leaves falling from trees, dirt being tracked in from shoes, and more.

If you don’t clean your deck regularly, this dirt and debris can build up and make your deck look dirty. They will also be harder to remove, especially if molds have crept in after leaving the wooden deck unprotected from the rain and snow.

Excess Foot Traffic Grind Dirt and Debris Into the Wood

If your deck sees a lot of foot traffic, it’s not uncommon for dirt and debris to get ground into the wood. This will make it look dirty. Over time, this can damage the wood and make it more difficult to clean.

You can sweep and vacuum your deck regularly to help keep it clean. However, you may also consider sealing it to create a barrier against dirt and grime build-up.

A Disorganized Home Can Make It Difficult To Maintain a Clean Deck

Home organization means more than you might have thought. Keeping your deck clean can be difficult when your home isn’t organized. As a result, things may end up staying where they don’t belong.

It includes planning your outdoor space, what you will keep in each area, and where you will put every piece of item. This is one way to ensure full deck functionality.

Whether that means rearranging outdoor furniture, sealing the deck, color coding, or something else, it all adds up to the look of your deck.

There are many different ways to organize your deck. The best thing to do is to find a system that works for you. Many great resources are available to help you get started, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Final Remarks

It shouldn’t be a puzzle identifying why your wooden deck always looks dirty. Some of the possible causes of this problem are:

  • Exposure to harsh elements
  • Accumulation of dirt and debris
  • Foot traffic
  • Overstaining the wood
  • A difficult-to-clean wood material

To keep your deck from looking dirty, you need to apply stain or sealant. You can also use a power washer to remove stuck dirt and grime. It also helps to do a little deck makeover and reorganization.

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