How to Remove Grease From a Wood Deck

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The best way to show off your beautiful new wood deck is inevitably with a cookout, but what should you do about that accumulation of grease and oil just below the grill on your once-new wooden deck? Commercial deck cleaners can not only be toxic but damaging to the wood, so how can you clean grease off your wood deck without damaging the finish and luster? As it turns out, there are a few options to remove grease and oil stains from a wood deck depending on how long you've left it and how much work you feel like tackling.


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Quick Response to Grease Spills

If you've caught it while it's still fresh, you're in luck, and you can act quickly to contain the spill and reverse any damage to your wood deck.

Your response speed is of the essence, and quickly applying newspaper or blotting paper (if you happen to have it lying around) can help absorb the grease. You could also try using a clay-based cat litter or a thick layer of baking soda. This can absorb a good amount of grease if left for up to an hour in dry conditions.


Once you've soaked up any surface grease, you'll want to use a mild dish soap, such as Dawn or Ajax, as well as a light layer of water and a stiff scrub brush to work it into the wood. This will help to break up any surface-level grease, making it easy to rinse off with warm water from the tap.


Clean Grease Off a Wood Deck

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If you have only just noticed that greasy area underneath your grill, tiki torch or other item, the ship hasn't completely sailed on removing the grease stain from your wooden deck.


Aside from a dish-soap scrub with minimal water (since that can damage the wood), you have the option of using mineral spirits or its more mild cousin, paint thinner. Use these in small amounts and scrub with the grain. Repeat the process of scrubbing in the mineral spirits and buffing the area dry until the stain is gone, at which point you can reseal the wood.


Additional Removal Methods

If these approaches don't work for you or if they are beyond your current reach, there are a variety of approaches to removing stubborn oil and grease stains from wood. Simply by heating a clothes iron to medium or medium-low heat and running it over a clean rag placed over the stain, you can heat the wood, causing it to expand and squeeze the oil to the surface. If you use this approach, be sure to use a clean surface of the rag for each pass of the iron.


Also, by leaving a layer of talcum powder on the grease stain overnight, you can extract a certain amount of the grease to be scraped and swept away.

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You can also try a last-ditch but entirely effective approach of sanding down everything to an even level below the layer of grease penetration and then staining and sealing the new deck surface.