Cleaning composite decking is an important part of maintaining its longevity and appearance. With just a few tries and research, I have found that it is relatively easy to clean with the right tools and techniques.
In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience on how to clean your composite decking to keep it looking new and performing well for years to come.
Understanding Composite Decking
As someone who has been cleaning composite decking for years, I understand the importance of knowing what it is and how it differs from traditional wood decking.
Composite decking is made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic, which makes it resistant to rot, insects, and decay, by creating a durable and low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood decking.
It also does not require regular sealing or staining, making it an attractive option for homeowners who want a beautiful outdoor space without the hassle of constant maintenance.
However, it is still susceptible to dirt, grime, and mold growth, especially in damp and shaded areas. Regular cleaning can prevent these issues and keep your deck looking great. In the following paragraphs, I will provide tips and products for cleaning based on my personal experience and research.
Things to Consider
It’s important to note that there are different types of composite decking available on the market. Some are made entirely from plastic, while others are a mix of plastic and wood fibers. The type of composite decking you have will determine the best cleaning method to use.
Another important factor to consider when cleaning composite decking is the manufacturer’s instructions. Each manufacturer may have specific cleaning recommendations for their product. It’s important to follow these instructions to avoid damaging your decking.
So, before starting the cleaning process, it’s important to understand the type of composite decking you have and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to keep it looking its best.
Essential Tools for Cleaning Composite Decking
Cleaning your composite decking is an important task that requires the right tools. Here are some essential tools you’ll need to clean effectively:
Brushes and Brooms
A soft-bristled brush or broom is an excellent tool for removing dirt and debris from your composite deck.
Avoid using hard-bristled brushes or brooms, as they can scratch and damage the surface of your deck. A brush with an extended handle can help you reach difficult areas of your deck without having to bend or kneel.
There are several types of cleaning solutions you can use to clean your composite deck. A mixture of warm water and mild dish soap is a popular and effective option. You can also use specialized composite deck cleaners, which are designed to remove tough stains and grime without damaging your deck’s surface. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using any cleaning solution.
A pressure washer can be a useful tool for this cleaning process, but it’s important to use it carefully. Too much pressure can damage your deck’s surface, so it’s best to use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the deck. Always test a small area of your deck first before using a pressure washer on the entire surface.
In summary, the essential tools for cleaning composite decking include a soft-bristled brush or broom, a cleaning solution such as warm water and mild dish soap or specialized composite deck cleaners, and a pressure washer (used carefully). With these tools, you can keep your deck looking clean and beautiful for years to come.
Before cleaning your composite decking, it is important to take some pre-cleaning steps to ensure that the cleaning process is effective and safe. Here are the steps that I recommend:
The first step is to remove any debris from the surface of the deck. This includes leaves, twigs, dirt, and any other debris that may have accumulated on the surface of the deck. You can use a broom, a leaf blower, or a vacuum cleaner to remove the debris. If you are using a vacuum cleaner, make sure to use a soft brush attachment to avoid scratching the surface of the deck.
Inspecting for Damages
The next step is to inspect the deck for any damages. Look for any cracks, splits, or other damages that may have occurred. If you find any damages, make sure to repair them before cleaning the deck. This will prevent any further damage from occurring during the cleaning process.
Inspecting the deck also allows you to identify any areas that may require special attention during the cleaning process. For example, if you notice any areas with heavy staining or discoloration, you may need to use a stronger cleaning solution or more aggressive cleaning technique to remove the stains.
By taking these pre-cleaning steps, you can ensure that the cleaning process is effective and safe for your composite decking.
The Cleaning Process
Cleaning composite decking is a simple process that can be done with a few basic tools and cleaning products. Here are the steps to follow:
Applying the Cleaning Solution
First, I prepare the cleaning solution by mixing a gallon of warm water with 1/4-cup liquid dish detergent, such as Dawn, in a bucket. I choose a biodegradable, non-toxic detergent that contains no phosphates to protect the environment and my family.
Then, I apply the cleaning solution to the deck with a garden sprayer or a pump sprayer, covering the entire surface evenly. I make sure to spray the solution on a dry deck and avoid spraying on windy days to prevent the solution from spreading to unwanted areas.
Scrubbing the Deck
Next, I scrub the deck with a stiff-bristled brush or a power washer, depending on the level of dirt and stains. I start from one end of the deck and work my way to the other, applying firm pressure on the brush or the power washer to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew.
If there are any stubborn stains or spots, I use a specialized deck cleaner or a bleach solution to treat them. I follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, to avoid skin and eye irritation.
Rinsing and Drying
After scrubbing, I rinse the deck thoroughly with a garden hose or a pressure washer, removing all the cleaning solution and debris. I make sure to rinse from top to bottom and from one end to the other to avoid streaks and spots.
Finally, I let the deck dry completely before using it again. I avoid walking on the deck or placing any furniture or plants on it until it is completely dry to prevent any damage or staining.
Overall, cleaning composite decking is an easy and effective way to maintain its beauty and durability. By following these simple steps, I can keep my deck looking clean and fresh all year round.
How to Remove Tough Stains & Mold from Your Deck
If you have tough stains on your composite decking, don’t worry. With the right approach, you can remove them and restore your deck’s original appearance. Here are some tips for addressing oil and grease stains, as well as mold and mildew.
Oil and Grease Stains
Oil and grease stains can be unsightly and difficult to remove. If you spill oil or grease on your composite deck, don’t panic. Here’s what you can do:
- Blot up as much of the oil or grease as possible with a clean, dry cloth.
- Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the stain gently.
- Rinse the area with water.
If the stain persists, you can try using a commercial deck cleaner that is specifically designed to remove oil and grease stains. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew can grow on composite decking if it is not properly maintained. If you notice mold or mildew on your deck, here’s what you can do:
- Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spray the affected area with the solution and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse the area with water.
If the mold or mildew is particularly stubborn, you can try using a commercial deck cleaner that is specifically designed to remove mold and mildew stains. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to tough stains on composite decking. Be sure to clean up spills as soon as possible and regularly maintain your deck to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
How to Properly Maintain Your Deck
As a composite decking owner, I know that maintaining the quality and beauty of my deck is essential. Preventive measures can help keep your deck looking new and save you from costly repairs. Here are some preventive measures that I take to ensure the longevity of my composite deck.
Sweeping your deck regularly is an easy way to prevent debris from accumulating on your deck. I make sure to sweep my deck at least once a week, especially during the fall season when leaves and twigs can easily accumulate on the surface. This not only prevents stains but also prevents scratches from occurring when debris is dragged across the surface.
Using Deck Covers
Using deck covers is another preventive measure that I take to protect my composite deck. Deck covers can protect your deck from harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, and hail, which can cause damage to the surface of your deck. I use a high-quality deck cover that is designed to fit my deck perfectly, ensuring that no debris or water can seep through and cause damage.
Periodic Deep Cleaning
Periodic deep cleaning is crucial to maintaining the quality of your composite deck. I deep clean my deck at least once a year, using a composite deck cleaner that is specifically designed for composite decks. These cleaners are safe to use and effectively remove dirt, mold, and mildew from the surface of your deck. I also make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these cleaners to prevent any damage to the surface of my deck.
By taking these preventive measures, I ensure that my composite deck remains beautiful and functional for years to come. Regular sweeping, using deck covers, and periodic deep cleaning are simple yet effective ways to maintain the quality of your composite deck.
In conclusion, cleaning composite decking is a relatively simple process that can be done with just a few basic tools and cleaning solutions. It is important to remember that harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaning tools should be avoided, as they can damage the surface of the decking.
Instead, opt for mild cleaning solutions such as soap and water, or specialized composite decking cleaners. These solutions will effectively remove dirt, grime, and stains without causing any damage to the decking.
Regular cleaning and maintenance of composite decking is essential to keep it looking its best and to prevent any long-term damage. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your composite decking stays clean, fresh, and in great condition for years to come.
Remember to always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance, as some composite decking brands may require specific cleaning methods or products. With proper care and attention, your composite decking will continue to provide a beautiful and durable outdoor living space for you and your family to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best thing to clean composite decking with?
The best thing to clean composite decking with is warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. You can use a mild detergent like Dawn, which is biodegradable and non-toxic. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage the surface of the deck.
Is it OK to pressure wash composite deck?
Yes, it is okay to pressure wash composite decking, but it should be done with care. Use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least 8 inches away from the surface of the deck. Avoid using a pressure washer on high settings as it can damage the deck.
Can you use Dawn on Trex decking?
Yes, you can use Dawn on Trex decking. Mix a gallon of warm water with 1/4 cup of Dawn dish soap and use a soft-bristled brush to clean the surface of the deck. Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose and avoid letting the dirty water dry on the surface as it can leave a film.
How do you make composite decking look new again?
To make composite decking look new again, start by clearing the deck of any debris. Then, use a composite deck cleaner and a soft-bristled brush to scrub the surface of the deck. Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose and let it dry completely. Apply a composite deck sealer to protect the surface and restore its color.
What is the best cleaner for composite decking?
The best cleaner for composite decking is a mild detergent mixed with warm water. You can also use a composite deck cleaner specifically designed for composite decking. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage the surface of the deck.
How to clean Trex railing?
To clean Trex railing, use warm soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. You can also use a composite deck cleaner specifically designed for Trex railing. Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose and let it dry completely. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or pads as they can scratch the surface of the railing.