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How to Clean & Refresh Exterior Wood

When I found this chicken coop on Facebook Marketplace for $500, I jumped on it.  I had been shopping around for coops, looking a new and used sheds to convert and drafting plans to possibly build my own from scratch.  So when I saw this coop listed at such a fraction of its retail value I just went for it! 

I knew with a bit of dedication and some elbow grease we could get it back to looking fresh and new!  My husband started putting it together and I began researching the best ways to clean exterior cedar. 

Step One: Wear Ugly Clothes!

There is no reason for a fashion statement here!  You will be working with bleach! 

Since you will you a pump sprayer you shouldn’t come into contact with the bleach but it is better safe than sorry.  You wouldn’t want to ruin your favorite shirt! 

Step Two: Fill the Pump Sprayer

I mixed my solution right in my pump sprayer.  I used a 50:50 water to bleach mix.  If the wood you are cleaning is especially worn and weathered you can certainly increase the bleach in your mixture.  

I used pool chlorinating liquid.  You can used pool chlorinating liquid or outdoor bleach.  The active ingredient is the same in both – so whatever is cheaper and available for you is the best option! 

Step Three: Spray the Beach Mix onto the Wood

With my pump sprayer full, I worked one side at a time.  

I sprayed the mixture onto the wood fully covering the side.  I allowed the mixture to sit for a short period.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the color of the wood changing as I went. 

Step Four: Scrub any tough Spots

If there are particular tough spots or stains on your wood, before rinsing the bleach mixture, scrub those spots with semi-hard bristled scrub brush. 

I used this inexpensive tire and wheel brush.  Which worked perfect for all those hard spots on this coop. 

Step Five: Rinse the Wood

To rinse the wood, just grab a hose with a spray nozzle on the end and give the wood a quick rinse!  

If your wood is very worn, you could skip this step and allow the sun and time to really clean and bleach the stained wood. 

Step Six: Protect the Wood (optional)

This is optional given cleaning the wood is relatively easy but I wanted to minimize the number of times I needed to bleach and clean the wood.  I also wanted to add some protection to the wood so that I would get the longest life out of this chicken coop. 

I choose to use Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Wood Sealer.  I used another pump sprayer to apply the seal.  The most important thing with this product is the temperature needs to stay above 50 degrees for 48 hours and no rain in the forecast for 24 hours after spraying! So make sure you check the weather before spraying this product!


How to Clean & Refresh Exterior Wood

Prep Time 15 minutes
Build Time 4 hours
Dry Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes


  • Pump Sprayer
  • Hose
  • Spray Hose Nozzle
  • Scrub Brush


  • Exterior Bleach or Pool Chlorinating Liquid


  • Wear hated/ugly clothes!
  • Fill pump sprayer with 50:50 water to bleach mixture.
  • Spray bleach mixture onto wood.
  • Scrub any tough stained spots
  • Rinse the wood off with water.
  • Protect the wood.

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