Defy Wood Brightener Review 5/5 (2)

by Deck Stain Help
Defy Wood Brightener

Defy Wood Brightener

Note: Defy Wood Brightener had a label change in 2019.

Defy Wood Brightener is an oxalic acid blend deck brightener and neutralizer. Designed to be used with either the Defy Wood Cleaner or the Defy Stain Stripper. Defy’s Wood Brightener is a concentrated liquid gallon that can make up to 5 gallons covering about 750 square feet. The purpose of this product is to “brighten” the wood’s appearance while canceling the caustic effects from wood cleaners and stain strippers. Helps to prep new decking by removing mill glaze. Defy Wood Brightener can also be used to remove rust spots from brick, concrete, and masonry.

Note: This deck brightener can be used to neutralize any deck cleaner or deck stain stripper.

Defy Wood Brightener Scores (1-10)

Wood Brightening/Lightening: 8

– An almost immediate reaction when applying. The Defy Wood Brightener lightened the wood right before our eyes. After the wood dried there was a very natural look to the cedar decking.

Cost Per Square Foot: 9

– Concentrated liquid gallon makes up to 5 gallons. One gallon for $19.99 covered the 600 square foot deck with ease.

Ease of Application: 8

– Defy’s wood brightener applies very easy with a pump sprayer. No issues with clogging the sprayer. There was no need to scrub or wash the wood after applying. Just rinse with water to remove any residue after 15 minutes of activation.

Overall: 8.33

– Easy to apply, brightens immediately, low cost per square footage. Everything a wood brightener should be. Defy Wood Brightener is an excellent choice!

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Select Stores and Online
Product Type: Concentrated Wood Brightener. Oxalic Acid Mixture.
Available Sizes: 1 Gallon Concentrate. Makes 5 Liquid Gallons
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coverage Per Gallon: 150 sq. ft
Application Tools: Pump Sprayer, Garden Hose
Manufacturer: Saversystems

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: Western Red Cedar
Deck Square Footage: 600
The condition of Deck: Wood was cleaned first with Defy Wood Cleaner
How Much Product Used: 
1 Gallon. Retails for $24.99

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take into consideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

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Just had a redwood fence installed and want to know the best course of action to keep it looking great. I’ve been told cleaner and Brightener, then to add a sealer. What’s your recommendation?

Larry Watson
Larry Watson

I scrubbed my deck using water and tide, is it still necessary to use a brightener? If so, is a sprayer the only application method? Thanks.

Kelly Bissetta
Kelly Bissetta

I am looking for a product to seal and brighten up the look of a composite deck – it is faded and looks good when wet – looking for that appearance. Others have said your sealer will not change the look, but this brightener may. Upon reading, it seems this is only for full wood – to clean and brighten. Does Defy make any product that will give me a stronger wet look on composite decks?

Patrick McGough
Patrick McGough

I’ve just gone to a lot of work to remove a 2 or 3 year old coating of Thompson’s water based semi-transparent stain – on a 12 year old deck in Atlanta, PT pine. It looks very good now. I used the Behr brand stripper from Home Depot, and immediately afterwards I used the Behr wood cleaner, at their recommendation, to neutralize the stripper action. I want to now use a TWP 100 series oil based semi-transparent stain. Having used the 2 step treatment by Behr, is it worthwhile to also used this Defy wood brightener? Sounds like it does about the same thing as the Behr cleaner, but I want to make sure the wood is in great condition for the TWP. Also – does the Defy product have to scrubbed after applying, or is it ‘spray on and rinse off’? Thanks!


Have new deck of KDHT-SYP. Near all day sun exposure in hot & humid climate.
I plan to stain with WoodRich Timber Oil (IF I can find a trustworthy seller; that seems to have been a problem for many).
I hope to stain in about a month (yes/no?) subject to weather, and water droplet test.
Clean and brightening prep should also wait until a couple days before staining – correct?
I was leaning toward Restore-A-Deck brand for prep, but I see in your review of Defy Brightener, it specifically mentions removing mill glaze, which is not mentioned in the Restore-A-Deck reviews. Which brand do you recommend for new wood?
Why would brightener remove mill glaze – shouldn't the mill glaze have been removed in the cleaning process?
Will the cleaner also remove the manufacturer's stamp, or should I lightly sand them off? (some had to face up due to grain pattern or blemishes on opposite side)
I will do some light sanding on a few rough spots, should I go ahead and sand all of it before cleaning?


Can i use this on my Wood Fence? If so what are your suggestions prior to using. My fence is probably about 4 years old. I have never cleaned it. So should I use a pressure washer then apply this product? Sorry I really have no clue.


I learned about oxalic acid in the Coast Guard almost 40 years ago. It's an excellent brightener, and has served me well in deck cleaners ever since. I also knew decades ago that bleach damaged the wood, but my wife persuaded me to look into using both, so I could eliminate mold/mildew stains. I'll go with your recommendation of sodium percarbonate instead of chlorites. Thanks!


I have a 2 level PT lumber deck that is at least 17 yrs old (one deck is 20 x24, the other is 14 x16). I have powerwashed (used a deck wash solution from Lowes (can't remember brand) and sanded the entire deck with a palm sander, and am getting it ready for staining. Thankfully read your site and will use your recommendation of TWP 1500. My question is, after having sanded both decks (used 80 grit paper), should I use a brightner before applying the stain, or do I need to do something else to get rid of the dust from sanding? Also, if I use the brightner, how many days should I wait before I stain? Thanks for your help!


My deck has been power washed, and I have the DEFY brightner and stain, but I'm concerned about trying to get this done before the weather cools and also the predicted rain just about every day, albeit only "10% chance" on some days. Could I use the brightner and then wait until I get a reasonable dry spell, even it it's a week or two later?
Thank you!
Mary in Northern Virginia


[…] – The cedar wood had retained 90% of it’s natural color after the Defy Stain Stripper and Defy Wood Brightener. […]


[…] Wood Cleaner should be used with the Defy Wood Brightener for maximum […]