This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit Update 2023
The Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit continues to be our top performer for the 2023 deck season. Easy to work with, very cost-effective, and great results! Please read this article and post any questions you have in the comment area below. Our newly enhanced website now offers the ability to upload and post pictures of your exterior wood or deck. This will help us determine the proper prep for your deck using the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and Wood Brightener Kits.
Below you will see a YouTube Video Review of the Restore A Deck Prepping kit. This is from an actual consumer and is very informative and helpful.
Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Review Below
Restore-A-Deck is the only product on the market that offers both a Step 1 Deck Cleaner and a Step 2 Deck Brightener in the same kit. Restore-A-Deck comes in a powdered concentrated formula. Each 2 lb container makes 5 liquid gallons. Simply pour each into a five-gallon container and add water to dissolve the powder concentrate.
Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Scores (1-10)
Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9
– The Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Deck Cleaner did very well at removing general dirt and grime. The deep cleaning formula made it easy to break down the gray wood cells. All mold was removed as well. The Step 1 Deck Cleaner did not remove some rust stains from the furniture but the Step 2 Brightener did.
Cost Per Square Foot: 10
– The best on the market today. The cost to clean and brighten an average 600 square foot deck is less than $.07 a foot. Since Restore-A-Deck comes in a powder we liked that you only needed to mix as much as you needed. Very little waste.
Removal of Old Stain: N/A
– RAD products are designed to clean, not remove old deck stains. We would presume that they would remove a deck stain if the stain has deteriorated drastically.
Ease of Application: 8
– RAD does not come in a liquid. You need to measure 6 oz per gallon of water mix the entire 2 lb. container into 5 gallons of water. This product does apply easily with a garden pump sprayer. We needed to make sure to mix at the correct dosage otherwise, the powder did not completely dissolve. Testing was done with both scrubbing and pressure washing. Both worked well. Step 2 brightener does not need to be scrubbed, just rinsed with water after 10 minutes.
Final Appearance of Cleaning: 9
– The IPE wood deck looked brand new after cleaning and drying for 2 days. We would have given this a score of 10 if it was not for a couple of minor water spots that did not come out. These spots looked to be from planter boxes.
Overall Score for Restore-A-Deck Cleaner: 9
– Restore-A-Deck makes a great and economical product for reviving your deck to like-new condition. We really like that kits contained both the cleaner and brightener. This was easier than buying the products separately.
Manufacturer: Restore A Deck
Product Type: Powdered Concentrate. Kit contains Step 1 Deck Cleaner and Step 2 Deck Brightener.
Available Sizes: 2 Pound Container Makes 5 Liquid Gallons
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coverage Per Gallon: 100-200 sq. ft
Application Tools: Scrub Brush, Pump Sprayer
Test Deck Stats:
Deck Wood Type: IPE Exotic Hardwood
Deck Square Footage: 500
The condition of Deck: Heavily grayed with mold/mildew. No previous stain
How Much Product Used: RAD 300 Kit. Retails for $49.99
*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.
An Independent YouTube Customer Review
Deck Stain Help & Questions
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
Products & Brands
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.
i recently placed an order for Restore A Deck solid color stain but never received a confirmation email. Please let me know how to contact your sales dept to confirm my order. Thanks , David
Best to contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
For my pine deck installed September 22, my carpenter recommends Restore a deck system. Today( feb 23) he looked at it and said i could skip the cleaner and just use brightner before staining. I saw some mention of cleaner being part of a “ ph balance”. Should i use both?
You need to clean and brighten. Brightener by itself does not prep new wood.
My deck is thirty year old redwood that was planed as well as new cedar. A Cabot UV clear stain was applied. I live in southwest New Mexico. After three months we had lots( more than last 30 years seasons) of rain. Attached are pictures of what looks like mold all over the decks, one is 700 ft, the other 144 feet. This stuff is on railings and steps as well. I’m pretty freaked out. Can you advise me how to get this off. I’m chemically sensitive and have pets so, nontoxic options? And then what type of clear protectant/ stain do you recommend. Thanks
Ok trying again. The weird thing is I tried using a scrub brush aggressively on the redwood (it was dry) and most came up but not when I used the brush on the cedar. Also on the brush the debris looked greenish grayish brown, not black. The Cabot product was water based not the Australian Timber product. There is none of this black stuff on the vertical posts but it is on the slanted arm railing.
Strip and brighten for prep with Restore A Deck products. Stain with Restore A Deck Stain in Light Walnut or Defy Extreme for best results in preventing mildew.
Here are the pictures you asked me to post
Most of it is just dirt from the water that dries off. Some is mildew. Try cleaning with some warm soapy water (dish soap) and a soft bristle brush like one used for a car. If it is laying on top of the stain it will wash off. If it doe snot come off and is embedded in or under the stain, then you may need to strip the stain and start over.
I have a new deck built with pressure treated wood. It was left to dry for a several months before staining with a semi transparent deck stain PPG ProLuxe premium deck wood finish transparent satin. High performance for exterior wood natural 078 color. First coat looked great and second coat wasn’t applied till after the pollen season. After a time I noticed black spots and streaks on the deck. Don’t know if this is worth mentioning but the shingles on my roof has black streaks as well. I’ve spent considerable amount of money having this deck built and I’d like to use the right cleaner to remove the black stains. Please advise!
Post some pics.
My two year old large cedar deck was treated with a clear water based sealer. It looked fine when new, but rain has lifted off the sealer it spots. I am switching to an oil based clear sealer. The deck is clean but I I have “worn” sealer on much of the deck and bare cedar in some areas. What’s the best prep strategy? A deck cleaner + brightener?
No. You need a stripper and then a brightener.
can i use restore-a-deck cleaner and brightener on trex ?
The cleaner, yes. The brightener would have no effect or need on trex.
I have a deck that is treated wood and has been in place 15 years. I have occasionally power washed the deck to bring back the original wood look. The deck is in good shape and has that gray faded look. If I use Restore a Deck do I have to power wash the deck prior to applying? Will I need to power wash after applying?
You apply the cleaner and then pressure wash it off. Brightener goes on after.
Ok. Just to be clear. When I pressure wash off the cleaner is it the same as pressure washing more heavily the deck without the cleaner or is it a slight pressure washing
Not very heavy. About 8-12 inches away from the wood. More like a high-pressure rinse.
Great. So the Brightener does not require a pressure wash?
If I were to use a clear stain what would last and for how long?
Just rinse the brightener after 15 minutes. Clear sealers have no UV protection so they will gray in months. It has to be tinted if you want to protect it from graying.
My decks has been stained with the Cabot Australian timber Oil natural . I last applied it 12 months ago, Still showing water (pooling ) resistance . I have no problem with the product except my deck is much darker then I want. I need to start over -Wood is in good shape –Will the restore a deck Clarence and brightener work on the Cabot AUS Timber Oil product considering the fact the wood seems to be sealed fairly well ?
No, you would need to remove it, not clean it. Try the RAD Stripper with both additives and then brightener: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/restore-a-deck-stain-stripper-booster-thickening-gel-review/
I am miserable with my deck. The deck itself is old and many boards have been replaced. So I have kept the deck in good shape as far as the deck boards go. I started using a solid deck stain about 6 years ago. I am using a dark color, black, ebony, etc. Up until this year I have been very satisfied. But this year beginning when the weather started getting right to put new coats on my deck, I decided to use Valspar Solid Deck Stain in a ebony color. I prepped my deck like it should be. Removed all mildew, dirt, etc., and sanded the deck all over to smooth places out. Started painting my stain on my deck. I (73 years old, female, lots of energy and love to work outside.) Am by myself so I used a good brush to put the stain on with and took my time in making sure all looked good. After finishing all of my side deck I left it totally alone and did not allow any walking on it and waiting for several days to make sure all was dry. At this point my deck looked really good. BUT, after about a week or so when I start working in the yard, and the dog is running back and forth across this deck, of course there was mud, dirt, and droppinngs from trees. I of course washed it off really good. Mud stains and dirt stains and droppings from trees were still very noticible on this deck. I have never had that to happed and it looks awful and so very dull looking. I put a cleaner on the deck and took a outdoor broom and scrubbed on it and still no difference. It looks dirty all the time and is driving me crazy. So my mission has been to find something to make my deck look like new, like it always has after refreshing it for the past 6 or 7 years. I wanted to get something on my deck that would give it a sheen (look somewhat shiney) and at the very least look clean. Well I bought a small can of Rust-Oleum Stain + Polyurethane (Ebony in color) I just finished painting 2 boards to see what this looks like and it looks great. BUT I read your article that tells me NO POLYURETHANE – will not hold up!! Please, please tell me what I can do. I am so wiling to paint the whole deck over again if I can get that look of at least being clean. Still would like a shine to it. PLEASE HELP ME. I have talked to Valspar people, talked to Sherwin Williams people, etc. They basically tell me nothing I really can do about the dirt and grime.
Carol Ann Beckum
You can never apply polyurethane over a deck stain or on exterior horizontal wood. It will peel. No shiny coatings as well, as those will peel tp. Your only option is to try another solid color deck stain but they are not immune to dirt or mud. No stain is.
I have a painted white wood deck that gets black mold/mildew on it. I’ve used bleach based products in the past. Will any of these oxygenated products work? I usually apply with a sprayer and power wash it off.
I have just had a mangaris deck sanded. it was originally coated with a rosewood oil stain. After sanding, It came out very clean. should it still be power washed with cleaner, brightener after sanding?
For best results, yes.
I don’t have a hose hookup or a way to pressure wash my deck… any recommendations? Can you use the cleaner/brightener without long rinse afterward? Is there an alternative cleaner I could use to prep? Thanks…
No, you need water and pressure.
Another question: we are still wavering between oil-based and water-based stain. Our climate is very wet with heavy snow in winter – do you have a recommendation?… I am leaning toward RAD water-based at least for the floor, as it can be applied wet, and we seem to rarely dry out here (I have done a test section with Restore a Deck already – looks good) but I am wondering about the re-application process. Is re-application of oils significantly easier than water-based? Will the RAD require complete stripping every few years to reapply? (would oil-based like TWR 1500 require the same?). Thanks in advance!
Both TWP and the RAD stains can be cleaned and reapplied as needed without stripping. Same prep.
do you recommend one over the other for wet ( and snowy) climates?
Are the cleaner and brighter products safe for the rubber roof that my deck sits on?
So where can I purchase the Restore a Deck Cleaner Kit?
can I use rad on cedar siding that was poorly sealed 3 years ago? would like to apply a light semi transparant stain afterward.
You may need to strip it. Post a couple of pictures.
Picture of cedar three years old
Your pictures are not uploading. They have to be below 4mb.
Looking to finally add stain to a pallet deck I built last summer. I used a variety of pallets so there are also a variety of wood species. Attached are three pictures. First is the completed deck while dry. Second is the deck after the rain (and the look I am going for). Third is the deck in it’s current state after power washing (without use of cleaning agent).
My next step is to sand, then I plan to either do a soap and water cleanse or use the Restore-a-deck cleaner and brightener to finish the prep. Which would be preferred?
Will the Restore-a-deck semi transparent stain give the wood the “wet” look I want?
2nd attempt. Also wondering if the Armstrong Clark Natural Tone Transparent Stain would be a better choice…?
Use the RAD Cleaner/Brightener kit for prep. The Natural in RAD will give close to a wet look. Same with the AC Natural tone.
First two pictures are from last summer, third picture is from yesterday.
There is sap seeping out of our 8 year old deck on certain slats. What can I do to remove it? Presently sanding deck for refinishing and sap is still there.
Nothing we know of will remove sap outside of sanding.
This is a great site and has been very helpful in helping my newbie self figure out the best way to restore a very old, mistreated deck. I do have 1 question. Squirrels have been chewing at portions of my deck. I know the stain should help to deter this, but they are getting to some portions on the underside that are very challenging to clean and stain. Is there a simple alternative you know of to deter the chewing that wouldn’t involve staining the underside? Many thanks again!
No, and stain will not prevent this from happening either. Maybe call a pest control company. They might have some ideas.
Is it ok for a redwood deck
Yes, it is.
I have a deck that that I have power washed. After I power washed 50% is down to the wood. I am planning on stripping the whole thing (as it will be impossible to just do the parts that need it), brightening, then staining. Is that correct?
Yes, that is correct.
I have a cedar deck that does not need to be stained but needs to be cleaned of green algae. Do I need the Brightner? TIA
Brighteners will not remove algae. Anything too aggressive will remove stain so try just water and a little bit of dish soap.
I just want to clean the deck after the winter. Pressure treated, nothing special. No additional staining or sealing. It was just stained last year and color is fine. Would i use both the cleaner and the brightner or just the cleaner?
Prep products are only to be used when reapplying. They are not used for general cleaning as you will remove some stain. Try warm water with some dish soap and then rinse lightly to clean off dirt.
I have a 450 sq/ft cvg t&g doug fur screened porch that was stained 5 years ago with Sikkens ProLuxe Ceto SPD FE semi transparent in Teak. The fully covered areas still show color while the areas nearest to the outside have greyed. Should I sand then brighten. If I sand is 80 grit the proper paper and how long should I wait to prep and stain. Pics included
Do not sand. Strip and brighten the wood for prep using the Restore A Deck Stripper/Brighener Kits. Apply one coat of Restore A Deck stain after.
I have a new pressure treated deck that has weathered for 6 months. It faces south and gets a lot of sun. It is raised about 6 feet off the ground. I want it to be gray as that will look best with the house color.
-No need to do undersides unless you want for appearance only.
-You should still at least prep and clear coat it. It will still gray but it will help to protect from rot and decay.
I want to say thanks for your website but feeling a bit overwhelmed and had not seen a question like mine posted, so I wanted to reach out. See pictures I am not sure how old the deck is but have not been great at maintaining it (that will change with your guidance!). I pressure washed it in the fall and this is the current status. My issue is that my deck currently has virtually no stain or protectant and I want to get something on it ASAP. Unfortunately my wife wants to paint our home and that will most likely cause us to change deck color/stain (once we determine paint house color). I expect that that we will paint home during summer/fall 2021. And once we pin down the color we can find a stain that matches we will stain/re-stain most likely spring 2022. So given that, I wanted to get your thoughts on what to do. Given the pictures(and I can add more) I think I can skip pressure washer again, and just use RAD Cleaner or do you recommend pressure wash and then RAD Cleaner? After that I suspect given pics/age I need to use RAD brightener? Lastly, if I just want 1 year protection so we can finalize a stain what do you recommend I do? Ideally I don’t have to repeat the process in a year and whatever I apply to protect for a year won’t have to be stripped off. Thank you
For prep, you would need both the RAD Cleaner and the Brightener while pressure washing. As for the stain, try Armstrong Clark or TWP Stains.
In 2019 I applies TWP 100 Semi Transparent Redwood stain-oil based to my redwood deck. It has performed extremely well, but showing signs of wear so it is time to re stain my deck. This year I plan to use the same TWP 100 semi transparent oil based stain again, but want to change colors because the color was too red and unnatural.
Do I need to remove the old stain first? If so, what product should I use?
Strip and brighten for prep. Use the RAD Stripper/Brightener Kits.
I ordered RAD stain stripper with the booster and thickening gel additives to remove an oil stain from cedar posts. I also ordered the RAD brightener. Your article recommends using the brightener after stripper. Do you use the brightener immediately after using the stripper and power washer, or do you let the wood dry for a few days before using the brightener? Thanks
Brightener right away while wood is wet from the stripper.
I want clean and repaint my deck. But the weather is getting cold now. So I am planning to do it next spring. what should I do keep it in good condition during winter months.
Paint is peeling off. And I want to restore and stained or paint it properly in next season. Because stripping and cleaning will take time before I paint it. so I will not be able to finish everything right now.
Please advice me what to do.
I would also like to know when I am ready to do it which cleaner and stripper will be best for it.
Strip and pressure wash off what you can and then sand after. Remove what is loose. You can cover the rest.
Used your products for cleaning and brightness
Worked well… however have a few minor small spots where evidently when stain was applied at edges of deck and was missed on spread out with deck brush …is there any product you would recommend to remove the
“Too much applied stain after three days“
You cannot spot fix this.
Our 25+ year old Pressure treated wood deck was cleaned by a company, Superior Soft Wash, and I need to seal it and was considering using Restore-A-Deck stain. Some of the old stain is still visible. Since it was soft-cleaned, not pressure washed, would you recommend doing any other prep or can I just stain it using RAD semi-transparent stain.
You have to fully remove the previous coatings when switching brands.
I have the older type of Trex composite decking without the wood grain surface. What is the best cleaner for this? I have tried Olympic, 30 seconds and Duckback composite deck cleaner. The one I thought would work best and was the most expensive (Duckback) did not work well. The others were just O.K. I heard Defy was good but it is a powder you mix with warm water just like the Duckback that foams. Before I spend any more money on something that works, thought I would ask your opinion.
The Defy should work but it really depends on how bad the Trex is. The older Trex had lawsuits due to mold and issues and they never really cleaned up well.
If you have ice and water barrier under decking what kind of cleaner can you use? Will cleaning ruin the ice and water barrier?
No, they should not. Try the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kits.
These are pictures of a 15 year old deck in northern WI. The light colored boards were pressured washed (took way to much time) and the darker boards are what I’m dealing with. It is pressure treated lumber but it’s never been stained or painted. Will Restore-A-Deck and a pressure sprayer clean the layer/years of dirt and mildew?
Yes, it will help. Make sure to brighten when done.
I have a 4 year old deck with treated lumber that I never sealed or stained. Finally, this year I am sealing it. As you can imagine it was extremely weathered and dirty. I spent about 8 hours power washing the entire deck. As you can see it still has some dirt, and silvery, gray “blemishes” on it. I was going to start sanding with a belt sander, and/or orbital sander. But after reading about RAD, and watching the video, I am thinking that all I need to do is clean and brighten with RAD to restore the wood to its near natural state. Do you agree? If so, do I need to do anything else, like sanding, etc.? Or can I just go ahead and apply sealer? Thanks
Clean and brighten while pressure washing should remove this graying.
Live in Upper SC. Have stained deck ( maybe 5-8 yrs old?) with Cabot semi transparent and 2 yrs later restrained with Behr (last yr). It is a mess. Now trying to clean, then plan to sand before restaining. Stain is peeling up, but hard to to remove with pressure washer.. what is best thing to do to remove. Our worker does not want to sand if peeling since it will gum up sand paper. Sorry pictures are not better. Contractor pressure washed and scrubbed with a deck refinisher.
Then what stain is recommended. Open deck, most of it is sunny all day. Gets mildew though.
Use a stripper to remove as much as you can and then sand the rest off. Brightener after.
Thank you. What will brighter do? Which one? Also what should I use for stain?
I want pretty natural or light.
See this: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-is-a-deck-brightener-and-why-use-one/
Try the TWP 100 Series.
Hi. Any idea how long does it take to be delivered in Toronto (Canada)?
You would have to ask them directly.
We built our deck in 2018. We hired a company to stain it for us in 2019 and we bought the restore a deck products. They used the cleaner and brightener on it. However it looks awful this year. I have plenty of stain left and want to stain it myself this year. I
Based on what I read i just need to use the cleaner on it before I stain. Can you please look at the pictures and tell me if that sounds right or do I need to use the stripper too?
Just the cleaner.
I am re-staining my top deck with the same solid color stain that was on it previously. I replaced boards on the lower deck with Pressure treated deck boards and plan on using the same solid color stain as the top deck. Do I need to do anything different with the 2 decks to prep it for staining.
You have to let the new wood weather and prep: https://www.twpstainhelp.com/prepping-new-wood-for-twp-stains/
I cant seem to find an answer. My steps and deck have turned black but they are not stained, They are painted with deck paint. I paint them every couple years. Would this product work the same way as a stained deck?
Thank you in advance.
Post a picture
I dont know if the previous owner used pressure treated lumber. Im thinking not.
That looks like mildew. Try bleach to kill it.
I have a 5 year old pine roof that I need to restain. This stain is from the builder. It is dull with no sheen at all. I am not sure exactly what is on it. Water does not bead on it. I would like to use the RAD dark walnut semi transparent. Can I use a pressure washer, cleaner, and brightener on this? Again I think the dark walnut is very close to this stain so I am not trying to drastically change the color. There is no peeling just some wearing. Thank you.
No, you cannot apply a different brand of stain over this coating so it must be removed first.
1. Would you recommend just the stripper without additives? This was only stained once about 5 years ago.
2.My plan is to use the RAD semi transparent dark walnut stain after. Do you see any issues with that plan?
3. Do you recommend scrubbing using the stripper or just letting the product sit and then powerwashing off?
Thank you for the help!
1. The Gel will help with this.
3. Dwell then pressure wash off.
I am told that my 15 year old deck was originally stained with a silicone stain. About 4-5 years ago it was pressure washed and restained with Sherwin Williams water based clear stain. It started coming up almost immediately in traffic areas and has since worn away. It stayed down for the most part in non traffic areas, but I assume needs to be removed with a stain remover then brightener? Also, would an oil based or water based stain be best? Thanks!
Need pictures for prep help. It does need to be stripped or sanded.
The cleaning system has good reviews but is their stain any good?
I stained about 4 years ago with twp 100 series, it’s definitely time to restain. What should I use to prep? Both Restore a deck products or just one?
Our deck was stained with Thompson Water Seal about 3 years ago. Can I clean the deck with Restore A Deck. and if so will it be alright to stain the deck with new color.
Clear or a stain color? Are you using the same brand and color as last time? That would determine the proper way to prep.
Is the ‘Restore a deck’ product available in Australia ?
No, it is not according to their website.
Is it nessasary to use a cleaner on a new redwood fence prior to applying a sealer ?
That would depend on the wood type, when installed, etc. See this for tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
What if ur to treat a new fence is it nessasary to use a cleaner before sealing the fence ?
My deck was stained with AC stain 2 years ago but has accumulated mildew and algae since then. Will using the the Restore-A-Deck cleaner and brightener end up removing that stain from 2 years ago? I’m not really wanting to have to stain it again so soon.
The RAD is used only when recoating. At this point, you have to do it every 2-3 years anyhow. Just prep and stain in the Spring.
Which store sells it?
You would have to check with them directly.