Opinions on Bleach...

Is it OK to use bleach on wood?

  • Yes

    Votes: 62 29.1%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 73 34.3%
  • Absolutely not

    Votes: 58 27.2%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 20 9.4%

  • Total voters

Mike Hughes

New Member
Thought this would be interesting................

Of course, I am referring to using it to clean decks that are merely dirty........not for decks that have a failing finish.

Last edited:

Craig Knight

New Member
Use bleach occasionally on decks but always for mold and mildew removal on buildings/homes....always with great results....


JR Wood

New Member
This is very interesting,218 views at this time and pretty much no one admits to using bleach.I use it and will readily admit it.I have yet to see this giant disasterous result from using bleach.A normal life span for a deck is about 10 to 15 years ,I have been in business for about 6 years and the first decks I ever did, were with bleach and water,I have a few loyal customers and the decks I did back then are still standing and looking all right for where we are this time.I Know I can go to any one of these decks and restore them to the condition they were 5 or 6 years ago. I am confused,If bleach was such a detriment to wood wouldn't the results be apparent by now? Your oppinions ar greatly appreciated,Thank you.
I have had over 400 calls this season,and roughly 30% percent are repeat or referrals. Not a single complaint about the shape of their wood,or if it is falling apart.Maybe I am missinng something.


New Member
I Voted sometimes cause I used it on painted wood siding a few times, where there were no plants around. Then I read your posts. I don't think I would ever use on a deck though. I know some do, but the way I do it now has worked so far. So why risk it, if there is a chance its not as safe on the wood, or plants? I still pre wet and cover everything.

Jim Bilyeu

New Member
If your only getting 10 to 15 years life out of a deck, somthing is wrong. Maby your seeing the effects of using bleach and just not knowing it. Bleach speeds up the degrading process, not blow it up.

A properly built and maintained deck using treated doug-fir should last twice that long. A deck properly built and maintained using cedar or redwood should last three times as long.

I don't think people would spend 30, 40, 50 thousand dollars to have a deck built if they knew it was only going to last 10 to 15 years. The deck I have on my home is 22 years old and it looks almost as good as it did the day I built it. Sorry, I just can't buy the 10 to 15 year stuff. I have never used bleach and I never will, it's a cheap fix with a long term problem.

Jim Bilyeu
Exterior Woodcare


I think it's all about how diluted the mixture is. I use a mixture of bleach, TSP, and water (as recommended by Sikkens), and it works great and keeps costs down. Is it possible that the companies who make deck cleaners are the ones telling us over and over again how harmful bleach can be?

Tim Lynch

New Member

This all comes down to a professional or DIYer.

Bleach used the right way 20 to 1 I would say is fine for wood, But bleach rots wood fibers just like it will do to your clothes.

I am hearing more and more about this Oxigenated Bleach? I understand it's good for trex decks. A customer I had wanted me to just wash his deck and he was going to seal it. It was a real easy deck and down the road so I lowballed him for the fun of it. Seemed like a nice guy. Next thing I get this letter in the mail from him with a sheet of how to clean with Oxigenated Bleach? Whaaa????? I told him he asked for a quick wash and then he started to go technical on me. I told him some one eles uses the bleach and he should call him. He called back a few days later saying he was going to forget the bleach... Yeah he saw the new price. No thanks red flag!

Nope no bleach
Last edited:

Tim Lynch

New Member
Originally posted by Jim Bilyeu
I have never used bleach and I never will, it's a cheap fix with a long term problem.

Jim Bilyeu
Exterior Woodcare

I remember the poll I posted about what wood do you work most often with. Redwood was real low. Redwood never but now p-treated mite be a differant story.


New Member
Quote from Jim Bilyeu
If your only getting 10 to 15 years life out of a deck, somthing is wrong. Maby your seeing the effects of using bleach and just not knowing it. Bleach speeds up the degrading process, not blow it up.

I just happened to be looking at this website last night
it is from the this old house website.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Advantages: Economical and plentiful, pressure-treated wood lasts around 15 years when properly treated with a water repellent every two years.
Everyone has their oppinion I guess.
Mine comes from asking the deck building contractors in my area and research on the web.


New Member
I routinely see ptw and cedar decks that are over 20 years old, many older than that.

Personally, I don't really care what This Old House says, because they are not wood care experts.

Bleach is not a cleaner, it is more of a disinfectant, and a mighty harsh one at that.

Why even think about using bleach when there are so many products available that work so much better?

The right tool for the job is the way to go....and bleach is not the right tool for washing wood decks.

Clean County

New Member
This an OPINION loaded question and good professionals here will disagree on the use of bleach when cleaning decks.

I've seen products that advicate the use of bleach in them when cleaning decks,sidings etc. such as JOMAX.

I for one believe in the use of Chlorine which is 2.5 times the strength of bleach in my mix to just clean decks. I've tried other cleaners but I am very satisfied with my cleaning mixture which is very Cheap for me to use and with excellent results.

Its just a matter of Opinion where guys Like Jim Bilyeu who is a top professional will say no to bleach and companies like JOMAX will say otherwise.

The only way to learn is by trial and error with hopefully not to much of the error.

Good Luck


New Member
I can speak from both angles. I have used bleach to clean decks with great results. One thing I notice is that bleaching a deck tends to raise more grain than say Wolman's or other products that don't contain bleach. Also, I see a difference in the color of the wood whan it dries, a bleached deck seems almost white compared to the more natural look a wood brightener leaves. So after 6 years of doing it both ways I say this....I prefer a wood brightener at higher cost but to me it does a better job. But I did vote sometimes because there are still some occasions where I use bleach on decks. It is a very powerful weapon against mildew. If a deck has a goos finish but is just mildewed, I will downstream bleach then rinse. Clean as a whistle. If I am doing a maintenance coat I may use bleach just to kill any mildew that may be on the surface. Bare wood, I almost always use a brightener to clean for a more natural look.

Mike Hughes

New Member
Wow.............old poll ressurected! I personally use oxygenated bleach, but only use regular bleach on extremely moldy decks............the kind that are dark green with caked on mold. They are few and far between around here.......


New Member

By "oxygenated bleach" do you mean sodium percarbonate? My understanding is that it is a totally different substance...

Does anyone know if this stuff even kills organics, or is it just a hell of a good soap? I know it does wonders for cleaning wood, but what about removing mold/algae? Is it as effective as regular chlorine?


New Member

I have used EFC 38 for mold and mildew on wood. But I am not sure it actually kills the spores, but removes the green.

As stated in one of the posts above, Jomax does use bleach when mixed according to the label. It works fantastic on siding and flatstone around gardens. I had excellent results and no problems with the surrounding vegetation.

I would really like to see a manufacturer come out with a stripper that not only removes mold and mildew, but kills the spores as well as a 1part bleach to 4 parts water does.


Michael T

New Member
Oxygenated Bleach

By "oxygenated bleach" do you mean sodium percarbonate? My understanding is that it is a totally different substance...

Oneness, Are you thinking about Oxalic Acid, or Wood Bleach?

Oxalic Acid = Wood Bleach
Oxygenated Non Chlorine Bleach = Sodium Percarbonate

These are two totally different substances.

Our Sponsors