Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eco-cleaning the deck

You know it is bad when the deck not only gets slippery from the accumulated algae but the slugs start to feed and leave trails where they have noshed their way across the boards. For me that is the sign that it is time to deal with it. And, that we are so having way too much rain.

Last time, I had someone powerwash the deck, which was great, but cost money. The time before I scrubbed it on my hands and knees with one of those chemical deck strippers. While explaining my staycation plans to an old friend, I mentioned the deck dilema and she heaved a 70 year old sigh (I'm sure she was rolling her eyes too, but I couldn't see it through the phone.) She told me to use vinegar. Huh! I went out and throw some on the deck. Nothing happened. Then shades of a 6th grade erupting volcano project reared its head. Silly me. There also needs to be baking soda.

I bought 2 of the biggest sizes of baking soda and 2 gallons of distilled vinegar. A sprinkle and a glug and voila! chemical reaction. Safe, eco-friendly deckstripper.

But, of course, there still is scrubbing involved--on your hands and knees. Can't get away from it. The algae and the baking soda turns into a slimy-yet satisfying-green ooze. So I sprinkled, glugged, waited 10 minutes, scrubbed, and hosed it down. Repeat, over and over.

It is not quick (took me 2 days to do 2 small decks) but it is safe to breathe, safe to handle, safe for the plants and bugs. Now if only it would stop raining so I can put on the sealant, which, alas, is not eco-friendly.

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