Cedar Wash

The most important step in finishing wood - whether it is a log wall, a piece of log siding, or even a piece of wood furniture - is the surface preparation prior to applying a finish system to the wood surface. This important message has been communicated by Perma-Chink Systems for many years. The reason this topic is so important is that this step, or process, has an impact on the longevity and durability of the system. More specifically, an unclean wood surface and the presence of foreign substances interfere with the direct surface contact of the coating with the wood substrate; furthermore, it will impact the adhesion properties of the finish in a negative manner as well as present a good possibility that wood discoloration will be a topic to deal with in the future.

Wood is a unique, natural substrate that appeals to us due to its beauty and natural characteristics. The application of a semi-transparent or transparent stain allows us to highlight the natural grain, bringing out and exposing its true beauty while adding color. So, are all wood species the same in composition, and therefore can be prepared in the same way, using the same cleaning products? The obvious answer to this question is no. We can simply tell this by looking at two different wood species and notice the differences in wood color and grain structure. These simple differences are an indication that not all wood species are created the same and their compositions are quite different. Although all wood species contains many of the same components including cellulose, hemicellulose, it is the wood extractives that differentiate wood species from one another.

Wood extractives are compounds present in bark, softwood, and heartwood of a tree that contribute to such properties of wood as color, odor, and decay and insect resistance. Consequently, these extractives can also discolor paint and finishes (water soluble extractives), as well as create adhesion issues (oil soluble extractives) for many coating types.

Extractives can be characterized as volatile oils (i.e. turpentine), wood resins (i.e. pitch or sap), fats and waxes, lignans (dimer molecules of lignin), tannins and carbohydrates (i.e. food reserves). All wood species contain wood extractives; however, there are a handful of wood species that are characterized as extractive rich woods. This group includes Redwood, Western Red Cedar, Walnut, and Mahogany. The second group of wood species also contain higher levels of wood extractives (but not as high as the extractive-rich woods) include Southern Pine, Douglas Fir, Spruce, and Cypress.

Cedar Wash™ was developed by Perma-Chink Systems as a Ready-to-Use cleaner specifically formulated for preparing the surface of wood species that contain high levels of wood extractives and resin oils. Cedar Wash is designed to remove surface resin oils and high concentrations of water-soluble wood extractives in addition to dirt, grease, grime, pollen, and surface mold and mildew without harming the wood.

  • Designed specifically for Western Red Cedar and Redwood (Softwoods), Walnut and Mahogany (Hardwoods).
  • Highly recommended cleaner for Southern Pine, Douglas Fir, Spruce, and Cypress.
  • Removes resin oils and wood extractives from the surface of the wood that may interfere with adhesion of Lifeline™ exterior stains or Prelude™ to the wood surface.
  • Removes dirt, dust, pollen and other foreign substances from log surfaces.
  • Not recommended as a maintenance cleaner; refer to Log Wash™ for this task.
  • Contains an aggressive detergent package for efficient cleaning of the wood surface.
  • Safe to use on chinking and sealants.
  • Easy to use, Ready-to-Use formula.
  • Low environmental impact

Application Instructions

Since Cedar Wash is a Ready-to-Use material, no dilutions are required. Cedar Wash is most easily applied using a pump-up garden type sprayer although a mop and bucket works, too. If you are going to use a pressure washer (not recommended), adding Cedar Wash directly to the pressure washer does not give the cleaner enough contact time with the wood to be very effective.

  • Plan on cleaning small areas at a time, since Cedar Wash needs to stay wet in order to work well and do its job.
  • Apply the Cedar Wash solution starting at the bottom of the wall and work your way up.
  • Work only an area big enough so that the Cedar Wash is on the wall for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the wall with a soft bristled brush to remove stubborn stains and heavily soiled areas.
  • Lightly mist with water if applied Cedar Wash solution is drying too fast and adjust working area.
  • Rinse Cedar Wash solution with clean water using a garden hose or low pressure washer thoroughly from the top down.

Remember; apply Cedar Wash from the bottom up, rinse from the top down. This will help prevent the potential for streaks and drip marks on the wood surface. The use of pH strips is highly recommended as a tool to identify if, and when, all Cedar Wash residue is thoroughly rinsed off the surface of the wood (Note: If you have any questions concerning the proper use of pH strips, please contact a representative at Perma-Chink Systems for assistance).


Five gallons of Cedar Wash Ready-to-Use cleaning solution will clean approximately 1000 square feet of wood surface area. Each gallon of Cedar Wash, as applied, will clean approximately 175 to 225 square feet of wood surface depending on the wood porosity.


Use just water to clean-up any spilled Cedar Wash. Dispose of materials in accordance with all applicable Federal, State, and Local regulations.

First Aid

Perma-Chink Systems is concerned about your safety and highly encourages you to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect yourself from chemical exposure when using Cedar Wash. Wear safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves during use. Wash hands and any exposed skin with soap and water after job is completed. Remove saturated clothing and launder in cool or warm water.


Although Cedar Wash should not harm plants or shrubs, it is best to pre-wet or cover plants and shrubs prior to application and rinse down any plants, grass, or bushes that may have been exposed to the Cedar Wash solution as soon as possible. Lightly wet adjacent walls with water to minimize direct contact with bare wood and potential streaking or discoloration. If overspray does occur, quickly rinse with clean water to thoroughly remove cleaner overspray.


Store Cedar Wash out of direct sunlight and protect from freezing. Although Cedar Wash is freeze-thaw stable, if the product is accidentally frozen, allow to thaw and check for suitability of use before applying.


Cedar Wash is available in 5 gallon or 2.5 gallon containers.


No matter what product you use to clean bare wood, nothing is more important than making sure you have adequately rinsed the surface. Any chemical residue remaining on the surface can have serious consequences later on. We always recommend using pH strips to make sure that the surface of the wood has been sufficiently rinsed, preferably to a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. PH Strips are available at most pool supply dealers, aquarium supply shops, and Perma-Chink Systems, Inc. They are not expensive, are very easy to use, and a great tool to ensure adequate rinsing.

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