Why Rinse a Wood Brightener with Water? 5/5 (2)

by Deck Stain Help

Update 2019 for Why Rinse a Wood Deck Brightener

Deckstainhelp.com remains committed to being your number one reference for deck restoration professional tips and industry news. It is important that when done applying a wood brightener that your rinse the wood well with water to achieve maximum results.

As always, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below.

Exterior Wood Deck prep is key to the longevity and appearance of the deck stain brand that you choose. Prior to staining the surface needs a good cleaning and or stripping of previous coatings. A properly prepped surface will ensure proper adhesion and stain penetration into the wood grain. Cleaning or stripping a wood surface prior to staining will also enhance the beauty of the wood and give you a better end result. The downside to a caustic cleaner or stain stripper is that it raises the pH level of the wood and makes it appear darker in color. The way this darkening of the wood is reversed is to simply apply a wood brightener. This mild acid formula known as deck brightener or deck neutralizer cancels the condition of the caustic soaps and restores the wood’s pH balance to a more neutral or acidic state. This also “brightens” the wood and enhances the wood grain.

One issue we have noticed in recent years is not rinsing the wood brightener well when done. Failure to rinse the wood well after using a wood brightener will leave the wood in a low pH balance and in a highly acidic state. This will, in turn, create possible deck application issues with overall appearance and spottiness of the deck stain.

We did some test boards that show the results of not rinsing the wood brightener well using the Restore A Deck Wood Stain in Dark Walnut, Both test boards were applied with the wood damp to the touch after the prep.

-On the Left, you will see the RAD Stain after rinsing the Wood Brightener for 20-30 Minutes.

-On the Right, you will see the RAD Stain applied to the wood without rinsing the Wood Brightener.

As you can see, there is a clear chemical reaction that shows poor adhesion and appearance.

To summarize, it is very important that when done applying a wood brightener that your rinse the wood well with water to achieve maximum results and appearance. We suggest rinsing with water from your hose or pressure washer for a minimum of 15-30 minutes. This does not matter what brand of deck stain that you are using.

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arsy johanson
arsy johanson

how to get rid the smell of chloride from sodium hypochloride 12%? for wood bleaching


= cleaner method?do you recommend the 2 step proceedure vs the all in one brightener

Rick Robson
Rick Robson

Once the wood brightener is rinsed with water, how long do I need to wait before I can stain?


I have power washed a tigerwood deck. It has only had clear ipe oil on it one time (faded in a matter of months). Do I need to use a brightened on the deck before applying a stain (defy in natural pine).

David, bethesda md


We’ve completed cleaning/brightening our deck that was installed 9 mos ago. We’re ready to stain but it’s rained once, we’ve got a little dirt from dog paws, the birds seem to have a vendetta against us and bombed our clean deck repeatedly, plus the neighbor’s tree dropped some more buds when it rained. We just want to sweep up the loose stuff and hose off the rest. Is it necessary to wait very long if we just do a quick hosing and wait for it to appear dry? We get direct sun for most of the day.
We used the Behr deck wash and are using Behr semi transparent stain. With limited days we have to work on it together and watching the weather, we’re trying to get it done so it has time to dry after. Plus we have to keep our dogs off of it.
Thanks for any advice