My front porch has been looking rather dingy lately, so I got out the broom and the mop and the Murphy's wood soap. When I was done, it still looked dirty, faded and weathered. I had asked the previous homeowners what they used on it, and luckily remembered: Messmer's wood and deck cleaner and brightener. I had looked for it once before at the hardware store without success. Turns out they sell it mainly at paint stores.
Boy, does this stuff work! The wood on the right is still a little damp, so it's shinier than it will be dry, but you can see it's much cleaner. This isn't effortless cleaning, though. You spray the stuff on, let it sit, then scrub it. All the caked-on and ground in dirt lifts up in a kind of goopy mess, and then you rinse with clean water. Supposedly it will not harm your plants when you rinse it off the sides of your deck or porch.
I'm thinking I might go over it again one more time with that stuff, and then use the brightener. We're expecting rain tomorrow, but I'm hoping it will hold off a bit.
You've got to hand it to me: I'm working hard today!