Do you have a deck that has been stained with solid stain? If so, you may be noticing an unsightly black residue building up on your deck.

This can happen if the oil and dirt from your shoes seep into the wood over time. Luckily, we’ve got some quick tips on how to remove solid stains from wood decks.

Read along.

How To Remove Solid Stain From Wood Deck

First, use plastic sheeting to seal off everything you don’t want to strip. Next, apply a thick coat of deck strippers to the stained deck boards. After about 30 minutes, remove the old stain and stripper residues off your wood using either a firm-bristled brush or pressure washer.

How To Remove Solid Stain From Wood Deck – The Methods

By the time you are done reading this post, you will have learned the three simple removals of solid stains from your wooden deck.

With age comes the need to refurbish wooden decks. Even the most maintained surfaces will eventually need a total overhaul or a repaint at some point.

An old stain needs to be removed instead of coating it with another layer of stain. If you ignore the stripping stage, the new stain will develop bubbles and blisters since the protective stain film no longer keeps the molds and moisture at bay.

Tools and materials

  • Pressure washer
  • Stain stripper ( here are the best wood stain removers that I recommend)
  • Wood deck brightener
  • Paintbrush or roller or sprayer (best applicator for stain)
  • Tarps or plastic sheeting
  • Protective gloves
  • Goggles
  • Protective boots
  • Firm-bristled brush
  • Lots of water

What next after removing the solid stains? Are you going to paint or stain your deck? Find out.

Removing Solid Deck Stains Using A Pressure Washer

A pressure washer, also referred to as a power washer, is a powerful tool you can use to remove solid stains from your wood deck. However, keep in mind, a pressure washer can damage your wood or even masonry if mishandled.

Remove all the movable deck furniture from the deck—tape and seal off flowers or grass on the deck sides. Also, cover the siding using a plastic sheet to minimize accidental damage to it.

Ensure you are wearing your protective boots to protect your feet from the water pressure and avoid slipping. Keep away pets and children from your deck when the power washer is on.

Try and maintain a steady position and distance between the washer nozzle and the wood surface. Then, proceed following the outlined steps below.

Interesting Post: Best Way to Stain Between Deck Boards

The steps

Step 1: Begin determining the type of wood on your deck, whether softwood (Pine or Cedar) or hardwood (Oak or Mahogany).

Step 2: Once you have that part figured out, you need to know the correct water pressure to use. Use a water pressure range between 500 to 600 psi (pounds per inch square) for softwood. For hardwood, a pressure of 1200 psi is sustainable.

Step 3: Ensure your pressure washer nozzle has a rotating fan covering a 40-60 degree stretch. This will cover a large surface at a time while you pressure wash your deck boards.

Adjust the water pressure to more or less depending on how effective it is at removing the stains.

Step 4: Hold the pressure washer wand about 12 inches away from the surface, release the trigger and use sweeping motions to sweep away the old and flaking stains from your deck. Sweep along the direction of the wood grain.

Step 5: Gradually work on a section until you manage to remove all the solid stains from the deck. 

If they’re stubborn stains, don’t overspray the part in an attempt to fluff them out. You might end up damaging the wood.

Step 6: Allow your wood deck enough time to dry and expose any stubborn stains. Here’s a guide on how long does deck stain take to dry.

Proceed to use a deck stain stripper once the wood has had adequate time to dry up. Then, use the steps in the next section.

Removing Solid Stains Using A Deck Stain Stripper

A stain stripper is most likely going to lift off any stubborn stains from your wood deck. It is a chemical product you can use when pressure washing alone isn’t enough to strip wood deck stains.

You have to remember to wear your gloves before handling this chemical product. However, it is good enough you are working on an outdoor project.

Also, seal off everything you wouldn’t want to come into contact with this stripper. A plastic sheet and tape will do the job well.

Topmost important rule: read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter for best results.

Also Read: How to Smooth Splintered Wood Deck

The steps

Step 1: Apply a thick coat of the stripper onto the stained deck. You can use either a paintbrush, a roller, or a pump sprayer. Whichever tool you use, ensure you cover the stains sufficiently.

Step 2: Allow the deck stripper to sit on the surface for bout 20 -30 minutes (or more) based on what the specific product you use states. If the stripper dries up fast, moisten it using a spray bottle.

Step 3: Scrub away the softened stain from the wood using a firm-bristled brush with a bucket of water. This method can be messy and have your brush clogged with stains and strippers. Have plenty of water to rinse out the brush as you go.

Step 4: If you don’t enjoy the tedious work in step three, then go ahead and use a pressure washer. Hold the pressure washer wand at 12-inches above the wood surface, release the trigger and wash away the loose stains from the surface.

Step 5: Use sweeping motions following the wood grain for best results. Don’t concentrate the washer on the stain if you have any stubborn stain because you risk damaging the deck boards.

Step 6: Mop away the excess water to speed up the drying process.

Step 7: If you have stubborn solid stains left, you can repeat the steps above once the wood fully dries.

You can also use a random orbital sander to eliminate every lingering stain from your wood. Set up your sander for removing paint and begin sanding using a coarse-grit sandpaper. Finish with fine-grit sandpaper to buff the wood once you no longer have any stains left on the wood.

If you have handheld sandpaper, the method is the same. Wipe the wood surface with a damp cloth to eliminate the dust particles.

Let the wood dry well, then finish it with your choice of deck stain. For recommendations, see our best stain for pressure treated wood deck guide.

Removing Solid Stains Using Wood Deck Brightener

Expect your wood deck to look a bit aged and rustic after stripping the stains using a stain stripper and pressure washer. It is normal and can be fixed; you don’t need to panic.

You may ask why your wood looks dull and old after stripping. This is because the deck stain stripper contains a chemical that raises the PH level of the wood, thus making it darker. 

A wood deck brightener is meant to correct that PH imbalance and restore the initial wood color. Its main component being oxalic acid and oxygen-rich formulas, which neutralize and maintain the PH levels of the wood.

Wood deck brightener might come in mixed formula or powder form, requiring you to mix it with water. Whatever the form in which they come in, follow the specific instructions of using it. 

Remember to wear your heavy-duty gloves, goggles, and protective boots before you begin the heavy-duty task at hand.

You can use a pump sprayer to cover a large surface within a short time. You can get the same results if you use a paintbrush to apply the deck brightener.

The following section is a step-by-step guide on restoring your wood’s natural tones using a deck brightener.

See also: Is concrete patio cheaper than wood deck?

The steps

Step 1: Apply a coat of the deck brightener to your wood. It opens the wood pores, making it ready to soak in a new coat of stain.

Step 2: Rinse your deck with water.

Step 3: Allow your deck to air dry completely for a minimum of 48 hours before you proceed to re-stain it. Your wood will look as you pictured it, brightened.

If you stain your wood before it completely dries, you will have color and stain strength inconsistencies.

Here’s a trick to test if the wood is sufficiently dry: spray a little bit of water to an inconspicuous part. If it seeps into the wood, it is dry, and you can proceed and stain it. However, if it forms a puddle and takes a while before soaking into the wood, give it more time to dry.

Related Post: Wood Stain on Concrete Removal

How To Prevent The Wood Deck From Staining?

Prevention is better than cure. This phrase couldn’t be more applicable to this situation. It is easier to prevent your wood deck from staining than to remove solid stains from it.

Do your best to clean and maintain your deck. Occasionally, do an inspection on your furniture and remove mold from wood.

Remove any build-up debris stuck between deck boards using a firm-bristled brush or a putty knife.

When you pressure wash your wood deck, use a mild detergent and the correct water pressure to not damage the wood. Also, make sure the deck is fully air-dry to prevent the wood from rotting and wasting away.

Use oxalic bleach instead of chlorine to avoid damaging your wood deck finish and the wood itself.

Take your time to maintain the condition of your wood deck, and you will reap longevity benefits from your family chill spot.

Read more: Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding


How do you remove solid deck stain?

You can remove solid deck stains using a deck stain stripper and a power washer. First, apply a coat of the stain stripper to the solid stained deck boards. Allow it to soften for about 15- 30 minutes. Next, use a pressure washer of 600-1200 psi to wash away the loose solid stains from your deck. Repeat the process if there’re any stubborn stains left.

Can you pressure wash stain off a deck?

You can pressure wash stain off a deck with a pressure setting of between 600- 1200 psi. Hold the sprayer at about 12 inches above the surface. Then wash the stains off using sweeping motions along the direction of the wood grain. Be cautious about concentrating a sprayer on a section to avoid damaging the wood.

How do you remove stains from wood deck?

Use plastic sheeting and tape to cover nearby siding, grass, and furniture you don’t want to damage. Next, apply a thick coat of the deck finish remover over the stained deck boards. Let the stripper work for about 15 to 30 minutes. Then scrub the loose stain using a firm-bristled brush or pressure wash it off your deck.

What is the best stain remover for decks?

There’re several stain strippers to choose from to remove worn-out stains from your wood deck. Each of these stain removers has different strengths. These are the highly-rated strippers; Defy Wood Stain Stripper, Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper, Citristrip Paint &Varnish Stripping Gel, Woodrich Wood Stripper and Cleaner and Max Strip Paint and Varnish Stripper.

Read Also: What Happens if You Don’t Wipe Off Wood Stain?


Having learned how to remove solid stain from wood deck, you can go ahead and refurbish your deck space. You only need patience, dedication, and effort to restore or maintain your wood deck to its original glory.

You can always transition from using a pressure washer, deck stripper, then wood brightener, and a little bit of sanding before refinishing that wooden surface. However, it would be best not to let it stay bare for long: it is more susceptible to damage.

If you’re looking for more information about removing unwanted buildup from decks, be sure to check out our blog on “how to get rid of oil stains on wood.”