Can You Clean & Restore Pressured Treated Wood?

Pressure treated wood is commonly used in manufacturing because it helps the wood last longer.

Treatement Process

You can use it to make decks, build your home or make garden sheds and outdoor buildings. Learn more about pressure treated wood and the health issue surrounding it before using it in your home and before you decide to clean and restore it. The chemicals in pressure treated wood can complicate the restoration process.

Pressure treated wood is wood that manufacturers pump with chemicals that will help preserve it. These chemicals help prevent wood rot, mold growth and attack from pests such as termites and other insects. Most types of wood can be pressure treated. The lumber is sealed into a vacuum. The air is sucked out of the vacuum and the chemicals are added to the room. When the pressure returns to normal the chemicals are sucked into the wood.


One of the most important steps in restoring old pressure treated wood is sanding the old layer of wood off to expose a new, smooth layer that is free from nicks and scratches. While you can sand pressure treated wood like any other wood, you have to take some precautions to ensure that you don't irritate your eyes or lungs. Because the wood contains certain chemicals always wear gloves, goggles and a dust mask to prevent the inhalation of and irritation from chemicals in the wood.


Keeping pressure treated wood clean will help it look better and last longer. Though the pressure treatment does help prevent wood rot and mold, it does not always keep it at bay. Clean the wood often to help ensure that these contaminants don't damage the wood. Clean the wood as you would any other type of wood. Use full-strength white vinegar, a diluted bleach mixture or liquid soap to remove stains with a scrub brush. Rinse clean with water.


Some types of chemicals that manufacturers pump into pressure treated wood contain arsenic. Though we are often in contact with, and even sometimes eat, organic arsenic, it is the inorganic arsenic that is worrisome for those restoring and using pressure treated wood. The arsenic might leach into the soil and could leach into fruit and vegetables. The arsenic, however, tends to concentrate in areas of the fruit that we don't eat, such as thick peels, seeds or stems.

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.