When To Use a Stain Stripper on Wood Decks

Watch this video to find out whether you should use a stain stripper or wood cleaner to prepare your deck for stain. If your wood deck has a weathered solid stain, or an unweathered semi-transparent stain use a deck stain stripper to remove these products. If the semi-transparent stain is faded and graying, then an oxygenated bleach wood cleaner will work.


  1. If I use deck stain remover or cleaner do I need to be careful not to get it on my house siding? Will it remove the paint on the siding if it splashes it? Thank you…

    • customerservice says:

      Peggy, I always cover up any areas that I don’t want to be exposed to the stain remover. You could do a small test area in an inconspicuous spot to see if the stripper removes any of the stain.

  2. Melissa says:

    I will be using the Stripper next to a pool. Should I cover it beforehand?

    • customerservice says:

      Melissa, Yes I would cover the pool and your pool cover before applying the stripper. I wouldn’t want the product to eat through anything. Make sure you wet everything down as well before applying the stripper.

  3. David Kent says:

    We installed a deck last year. The wood was purchased at Home Depot. The wood for the floor boards was labeled “pressure treated” which was surprising because it did not have the hundreds of little holes in it, rather, it just has some kind of a semi-transparent, reddish coating on it.

    Now we are about to stain it. We are in the prep stage now and have all the Defy products: stripper, cleaner, brightener, and stain. However I’m not sure if I’m supposed to strip off that reddish coating? Or just leave it and apply the stain right over it? Please advise.

    We put the cleaner on it and rinsed it off with a garden hose but that did nothing.

    I can power wash most of it off but that takes a lot of time and it damages the wood a bit. It will need to be sanded in the section that I just completed.

    So please clarify. Do we need to remove that reddish semi-transparent coating? With stripper? Or can we stain right over it? We’re using your “Extreme, semi-transparent wood stain” Butternut color.

    • defyadmin says:

      David, it might have been pre-stained. If that’s the case, it’s best to use the Stripper first before staining it with DEFY. The cleaner won’t remove stains that are still in tact. Apply the Stain Stripper and allow it to remain on the surface for at least 20-30 minutes and that should make it much easier to completely remove with a pressure washer. If you stain over it, since DEFY is a semi-transparent stain, you’ll be able to see the color beneath and it will alter the final color of DEFY.

  4. Tom says:

    The solid stain (not Defy) is starting to peel in places on my 16′ X12′ covered deck. Do I need to strip the complete deck area or just the sections where the peeling is occurring? Thanks

    • defyadmin says:

      Tom, if you’re planning on reapplying DEFT Solid Stain over top, then you don’t need to strip the whole deck. Just make sure there aren’t any areas of peeling left from the previous product. If you apply another stain over top of already peeling stain, it’s going to peel up along with it.

  5. Jill Preston says:

    I want to use sold stain on my deck. Currently I believe it has semi-transparent stain (at least that is what the can says in the garage) It is weathered. I have used deck cleaner so far. Do I need to use the stripper and brighter before applying a solid stain?

    • defyadmin says:

      Jill, if you’re using solid stain, then you don’t need to strip or brighten. Just make sure the previous stain isn’t peeling. Otherwise, it’s fine to apply it over top of previous finishes.

  6. Robert says:

    I used Mesmer’s UV natural deck stain on my Tigerwood deck and it has turned dark brown. Is Defy stain stripper safe to use on Tigerwood and will it remove the Mesmer’s stain so I can apply. A differ y brand os stain?

    • defyadmin says:

      Robert, yes DEFY Stain Stripper is safe to use on Tigerwood. It should also remove the Messmer’s product, but you may consider rinsing with a pressure washer to get it 100% off. Just don’t get the pressure washer too close to the wood as it can damage it. Also, keep the pressure under 1200 PSI. After that, use DEFY Wood Brightener to neutralize the wood and it should be ready to stain.

  7. Anna Edlin says:

    Our porches are hardwood, sassafras, we used defy last fall and want to apply a maintenance coat. We did not use the hardwood defy. Could we apply the hardwood defy over the defy product we used last year? We used the butternut defy lay year.

    • defyadmin says:

      Yes, you can apply the DEFY Hardwood product over top of DEFY Extreme. The only issue is the hardwood product does not come in butternut.

  8. mark says:

    What Defy hardwood product color would be the closest in color to butternut?

  9. Jo says:

    Iam using DEFY Stain Stripper to remove another brand stain that has peeled on 320sq deck. I only got 1/2 done with 2 coats. Still have old stain that hasn’t come up. Question is: Brightner is to be applied w/i 24 hrs, but I won’t have other 1/2 or stubburn stains removed by then. Do I need to put Brightner on 1/2 anyhow, or can I wait til I get all old stain removed (it may end up being 3 or 4 days).?

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