This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Update: Defy Wood Deck Cleaner Review for 2023
We would love to hear from you if you have used the Defy Wood Deck Cleaner on your wood or deck. Please post a rating in the Consumer Star Ratings below.
If you have any pictures of your experience with Defy Wood Deck Cleaner, you can add them in the comment area with a detailed description.
Defy Wood Deck Cleaner is a safe alternative to chlorine bleach-based cleaners. Defy Wood Cleaner is highly effective at removing general dirt, grime, and UV graying while restoring the wood’s natural color tones. Environmentally safe, powdered, oxygen-based concentrate that makes 5 liquid gallons per container.
Defy Wood Cleaner should be used with the Defy Wood Brightener for maximum preparation.
Defy Wood Deck Cleaner Scores (1-10)
Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9
– The Defy Wood Cleaner did an excellent job of prepping the wood by removing all of the dirt and mold. The test deck had not been maintained for 6 years so the graying of the wood cells was extensive. The Defy Cleaner did a better than average job at softening these grayed wood cells so that a stiff scrubbing removed them from the deck surface.
Cost Per Square Foot: 9
– How can you complain about spending only $35 to clean a 750 square foot deck? That is $.05 a square foot. A bargain compared to liquid packaged cleaners.
Removal of Old Stain: N/A
– Defy Wood Cleaner is designed to prep decking by removing graying, dirt, mold, and grime. It will not remove old stains unless the stain is extremely deteriorated.
Ease of Application: 8
– Defy Wood Cleaner is packaged in a powdered formula. We mixed the entire 2.25-pound container into 5 gallons of warm water. The powdered dissolved rather easily into the water. We noticed a “bubbling” effect when we applied the cleaner to the decking. This “lifted” the dirt/graying, making the scrubbing and rinsing very simple. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the wood while the surface is still wet to remove all of the wood fibers.
Final Appearance of Cleaning: 8
– Very clean throughout the decking area when done. After we applied the Defy Wood Brightener, the overall appearance was even better
Overall Score for Defy Wood Deck Cleaner: 8.5
– Defy Wood Deck Cleaner is a great and inexpensive way to prep your wood prior to an application of a stain!
Where To Buy: Select Stores or Online
Product Type: Powdered Concentrate
Available Sizes: 2 Pound Container Makes 5 Liquid Gallons
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coverage Per Gallon: 150-200 sq. ft
Application Tools: Scrub Brush, Pump Sprayer
Test Deck Stats:
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 750
The condition of Deck: Gray and dirty
How Much Product Used: One 2.25 Pound Container. Retails for $35.99
*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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As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.
can you please confirm the steps below for applying cleaner/brightener using garden hose (not pressure washer)
Yes, but using a pressure washer is much easier and will do a better job.
my deck is completely stained, but I just want to do some touch ups. After cleaning it, would I still have to use a brightener before doing the touch ups?
I am almost finished sanding the entire deck. It took me about 3 weeks, as I have a lot of other stuff going on in my life. It has rained several times since I started sanding and I see a yellowish tint to most of the pieces I sanded before this week. Before I use Defy cleaner and brightener, should I do a once-over again with my sander? Or will the cleaner/scrubbing/power washing/brightner even it all out again? It’s pressure treated pine. I used 60 grit for it all.
Oh, and the deck is about 2 1/2 years old. Mostly in good condition. Just a few boards were cracking.
Just clean and brighten. No need to sand again.
I applied Defy Extreme in light walnut to my cedar deck about this time year per the manufacturer’s instructions. It turned out absolutely great and held up beautifully through a winter of heavy rain and snow, and now through its first summer too. I decided to put on a second coat yesterday and began by cleaning the deck with the Defy deck cleaner (not the bleach). Now here’s the odd part: the cleaner has all but removed the stain! I’m stunned. My assumption is this means the stain didn’t penetrate very deeply last year, but that doesn’t make sense insofar as there was absolutely zero fading and/or flaking. I mean, it looked terrific! Any thoughts on what the heck I have done wrong? Thanks!
I doubt you did anything wrong but the cleaner is very effective at prep. Possibly your stain did not take fully last year. It is fine to reapply now and it should be very absorbent.
Sincere thanks for your thoughts on this: I agree, it’s likely the stain did not take fully (aka penetrate deeply) last year. I like the product, and within the coming days when things have thoroughly dried will apply it for a second time. It sure was a shocker, as I wrote previously, to see the deck boards about as nekkid as the day they were born after using the cleaner. We’ll see how it goes with the second coat.
We got a sample of the Defy cedar tone stain on our cedar deck that we cleaned ahead of the staining. We found the color to be too orange and a bit blotchy. We are now thinking we should try the Defy Crystal Clear stain as we are trying to maintain the natural cedar look. Do you have an opinion on how long we should expect this product to last? (We are in northern Minnesota). Will we have to clean AND brighten the wood before applying subsequent maintenance coats? Will we have to protect our metal railings and wood siding before using the Defy Cleaner and Brightener products? Do those cleaners recommend using a pressure washer as opposed to just a garden hose for rinsing? Thanks
The Clear will last 9-12 months. Yes, you always have to prep when reapplying. Use a pressure washer while prepping with the products. They should not harm the rails or house.
I have a new deck, pressure treated pine, been drying out for a year. I plan to use Armstrong Clark to stain, but I’m wondering how to clean. I don’t want to pressure wash, and the Restore a Deck seems to need that, as well as a brightener to neutralize the cleaner. Sounds like more than I need. The new wood is in really good shape. I just want to brush clean it and rinse it (without pressure washer–don’t want to push a bunch of water into boards I’ve spent a year drying). Thoughts on a cleaner that will work with AC stain and do this minimal work? Would this be the ticket? The DEFY. Or does it also need a brightener to neutralize the cleaner? Love your site. Thanks!
Yes, you have to clean and brighten new wood. No way around it. Defy would be the same and does need a brightener to neutralize.
We have a white pine log siding home in WV where winters are reasonably severe and our UV exposure is fairly extreme. Original treatment of log siding was tinted log oil and that was 5 years ago. House needs to be redone before winter 2018 and thinking of using AC semi-solid stain in order to try to get longer duration. Painter suggests bleach water prep before semi-solid oil stain and you tend to recommend other cleaner/brightener preps. We have used Restor-A-Deck products to prep our deck for TWP 100 application, howver, this is a MUCH larger square footage and much greater expense! What are the downsies of using bleach to prep? Thank you.
All previous coatings need to be removed when switching brands so that mean RAD Stripper/Brightener Kits. Bleach will not work correctly for prep.
So a Sodium Percarbonate cleaner like Defy would not suffice? I am surprised that stripping is necessary when the original log oil finish is 5 years old and with the AC semi-solid stain we would be going oilbased on badly faded original oil. Can you please justify the very expensive stripping process for me? Thank you.
You have to strip when switching brands and a Cleaner will not suffice. Just because they are both oil based does not mean they are compatible.
Would sand-blasting be more efficient/less expensiove than using a chemical stripper/power wash removal? If so, what method of sanding or sand-blasting?
No, it is easier and cheaper to strip compare to media-blasting.
Sorry – meant to mention that the original treatment when log siding was installed was Q8 Log Oil.
We applied AC last year, and unfortunately it looks like it needs another coat this year. We used a Benjamin Moore deck Restore followed by their brighter. The deck butts up against painted surfaces on all sides (it’s a roof deck). It was so much work to get everything masked off completely with plastic (lots of wind, lots of tape). The restore product required a lot of scrubbing to clear the pulp it released from the wood (presumably cheap softwood).
I need a simpler process and I’m hoping you could recommend a prep process that won’t damage nearby painted surfaces. If I was only masking for the AC oil and not protecting the paint from the cleaner and brighter, I could get by wide tape only instead of all that time consuming windblown plastic. Any ideas? Really appreciate your helpful site!
No need to tarp or tape the siding. Just use the Defy or Restore A Deck Cleaner for the prep. Make sure to pre-wet the siding and rinse any dirt/grime that may get on the siding during the cleaning process.
Is a 1600 psi power washer with an adjustable spray nozzle good enough to use or should I rent a more power gas power washer (about 70 bux)?
Depends on the condition of the wood?
The main decking is structurally sound. It was re-decked 3 years ago but never stained so it is dirty, grey and weathered. Also there was a cooking oil spill that penetrated the wood (hence my doing research on deck cleaners). I am fine with getting a more powerful washer however if it is overkill or a waste of money and I can use my own pressure washer would do that. At the end of the day I just want to get the deck stripped and cleaned. Follow up question, how soon should we apply stain once the cleaning is complete?
Yours will work but it will be faster and easier with a gas powered machine. Stain typically 2 days after the prep.
This a great resource and I really appreciate being able to talk to a real person who cares to answer in a timely fashion.
We stripped and stained our old pressure treated pine deck with TWP 100 last June 2017. At that time, we replaced all boards (pressure treated pine) on the raised areas (seating benches and tops of planters) with new boards and have left them unstained to weather over the winter. We are now planning to stain the new boards as well as refresh the previously stained deck. I plan to use cleaner and brightener on the new boards, but I wanted to just clean the previously stained deck to simplify the process rather than having to do the 2 step cleaner and brightener on the whole thing (It’s over 1500 sq. ft.) One of your articles about maintaining TWP stain said to “Apply a light maintenance coat to the flooring in 9-24 months. If just slightly dirty prep with soapy water to remove grime and reapply one light coat.” That sounds like the simplest prep for applying a new coat of stain to the areas that were stained less than 1 year ago. What is the best type of soap and mixing ratio to use for a light cleaning, and should I use a pressure washer or garden hose for rinsing. Also, when applying the new stain over the existing, does it require two coats back to back as when we first applied it, or just “one light coat” as mentioned in the article?
If you are reapplying the TWP then you need the RAD Cleaner for the prep, not soapy water. Apply the cleaner and lightly pressure wash off. Just one coat for the area that was done last year.
I realize this is a bit different than a deck, but I need to clean and brighten a 2×6 tongue and groove roof structure. I can pressure wash it, but it’s above my head. Something that won’t hurt me from the drips?
You can use this product. It will not harm you.
I received the defy wood deck cleaner brightner and stain. We are having very hot weather for this time of year. How hot can it be to clean and stain the deck. I live in Portland OR
Not about 90. 80s ir below is better.
One side of my deck is situated along a line of fruit trees from which I harvest and eat the fruit. Would the Defy Wood Cleaner be safe to use or should I go with something like the Simple Green Fence and Deck Cleaner? I plan to follow up with the Defy Brightner and semi-transparent stain.
Yes the Defy Wood Cleaner is eco-friendly. Rinse any overspray well with water.
I live in San Diego – inland – Rancho Bernardo – and we have a low wood fence/wall they built as a quasi retaining type wall (separates the hill from the grass and patio area). It looks like it was stained originally but is now faded and gray on the top boards. Some of the boards have cracks on the top "cap" piece. If I use a wood deck cleaner such as this Defy, could it kill my grass below it or my beautiful roses above it (in one area)? I don't have a pressure washer so was planning on scrubbing it with a brush and rinsing. After using this product do I need to use something else before staining it? if so, will that product harm my grass or roses? Any suggestions? if I use these products, do I still need to sand the wood or not?
The cleaner should not kill the grass. Use a wood brightener after the cleaner. Only sand lightly if needed.
I have a small deck (150 sq. ft.) but with many steps and lots of spindles. I am looking for a low-cost cleaner that is very easy to use, i.e. spray it on and then rinse or power wash it off but with no scrub brushing required. Would the Defy fit this bill? Your analysis seems to suggest that scrubbing might be necessary with the Defy. Would Messmer's better suit my needs? It seems like scrubbing would not be required with the Messmer's. Any other product suggestions? Thank you.
You always need to scrub or pressure wash. Does not matter on the cleaner you use.
Does this product work if you don't have a pressure washer to remove it? I was planning on simply using a water hose.
I have powerwashed my deck and have gotten the dirt and grime off but I do still have some black splotches that I can't power wash away. Will a brightener help with that? And it sounds like the brightener should be used before I stain it?
Greg, it depends on what the black stains are. If they are rust stain then it will help. Mold and or water stains from pots cannot be removed with a brightener. You should always brighten after using a deck cleaner or wood brightener.
My contractor is planning to sand the deck and railing and then stain right away. I told him that from what I read everywhere, after sanding, the deck need to be washed, and dried for 2 days before staining. But the contractor is puzzled and said why wash again after sanding? He has been in the construction business for more than 20 years. My question is: Is it OK to stain with Defy Extrem right after sanding the deck and railing? Suppose he use only 60-80 grit sand paper? Maybe wipe away the sand dust?
Yimin, sanding can close the grain of the wood and leave sand dust in the pores. This can reduce stain penetration. In general the better a stain absorbs into the wood, the less chance of wearing or peeling. The floor should not be sanded smooth like a hardwood floor. Best to to lightly prep after with a cleaner and brightener to open the grain so the stain has a better chance of working correctly.
Hello, I have a deck that has been neglected for 6 years. The wood is gray and has spots from where hail damage knocked off some of the remaining stain. I had planned to just pressure wash the deck then apply some sort of sealant. Should I Spray on this wood cleaner and then use the pressure washer to clean off the cleaner? After I do that, how long should I wait before adding a sealant? I plan to use a clear sealant and not a stain. thanks in advance for your advice.
Martin, apply cleaner and lightly pressure wash off. Clear sealers will not give any UV protection, must have a stain for this.
Dave, I believe the Sikkens is \”feeding\” the growth of the mold. Best to remove it and start over with a stain brand that is not prone to promoting mold growth. TWP 100 and Defy Extreme show excellent results from this.
We have a south facing treated wood deck that we had cleaned/stained 6 years ago that is now stain absent,small mold spots,gray areas. A company tells me it only needs a high pressure cleaning then paraffin sealer. ReadySeal was the sealer 6 years ago. Do you feel this wash is enough so that I can then apply Defy Extreme Stain myself?
Dave, prep with a cleaner and wood brightener with the pressure washing to prevent damage to the wood and give a better final appearance.
So I have a new wood (pressure treated deck) here in Northern Va. In waiting for a chance to stain with the Defy line of stains, it has gathered some dirt and mold. I bought the Defy wood cleaner, but the product page never states that, oh by the way, you need the brightener to neutralize the stuff you just used. The question is..If I don't use the Brightener and go to the stain after cleaning, what's the downside?
Jeff, brighteners neutralize cleaners. This leaves you wood in a neutral pH balance. Stains will perform better this way.
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