How to Clean Wood With Bleach

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Get wood clean with oxygen bleach.
Get wood clean with oxygen bleach. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Wood can discolor and stain over the years, especially if it is outside in the elements. Make your wood surfaces look new again by cleaning them with oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach will not damage wood fibers or the wood's finish, and is harmless to plants that may be growing nearby, making it an excellent choice for decks.

Things You'll Need

  • Oxygen bleach
  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Mop
  • Pump sprayer
  • Garden hose

Place 6 oz. oxygen bleach into the bottom of the bucket. Add 1 gallon hot water and stir the ingredients to thoroughly mix the bleach into the water. Leave the mixture to sit for approximately five minutes.

Apply the oxygen bleach to horizontal wood surfaces with a scrub brush or a mop. Spread the bleach evenly over the wood surfaces.

Fill the pump sprayer with the bleach solution and spray vertical wood surfaces with it.

Allow the bleach to sit on the wood surfaces for about 15 minutes.

Scrub the wood with a mop or scrubbing brush to clean it.

Rinse away the bleach solution with the garden hose (for outside washing) or with plain water in a bucket (for an inside job).

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a windless day with temperatures between 60 and 70 F for washing wood outside.
  • Do not apply oxygen bleach to redwood because it can cause the wood fibers to darken. Oxalic acid cleans redwood effectively.
  • Do not confuse oxygen bleach with chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach can remove the natural color of wood and can dissolve wood fibers, leaving wood looking drab and cracked.

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