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Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Composite Deck Pristine

Composite decking is an excellent option for those desiring the aesthetic appeal of wooden decking but wanting to avoid the responsibility that comes with maintaining one. This beautiful and practical option combines the best of both worlds by offering the durability of synthetic materials and the natural charm of real wood. However, like all outdoor spaces, it still requires some level of care to keep it looking its best. 

Cleaning composite decking doesn't have to be a chore. With the right knowledge and a little elbow grease, you can restore your composite deck to its pristine glory.

The Importance of Regular Cleaning for Composite Decking

Differing from traditional wood decks, composite decking is crafted from a mixture of synthetic materials. While it's often resistant to issues like rot and warping, it's not immune to dirt, grime, and the occasional accidental BBQ spill. So, before you grab your deck brush, let's identify the common culprits:

  • Weather: Rain, wind, and the relentless sun can leave behind a layer of dust, pollen, and mildew.
  • Organic matter: Leaves, bird droppings, and spilled food can stain and attract unwanted critters.
  • Mold and mildew: Shaded areas on your deck may harbor these unwelcome guests, thriving in damp conditions and manifesting as unsightly black or green patches.

Decks made from composite materials offer a much more relaxed approach to outdoor living. While they require less frequent maintenance than traditional wood, keeping them looking their best still involves some TLC. However, don't let "easier" fool you into thinking "never." Even though these boards won't splinter or warp as wood does, regular, thorough cleaning keeps them looking sharp for a long time.

composite deck cleaning

A Guide to Cleaning Composite Decking

1) Pre-Cleaning Prep

No one starts a project without a clean slate, and cleaning your composite deck is no different. Before you dive into the cleaning process, start by giving those deck boards a once-over with a broom or leaf blower. This will get rid of loose dirt and debris like leaves and twigs. Once the surface is free of debris, be sure to relocate any furniture to ensure thorough cleaning in those hard-to-reach areas.

2) Pre-Rinse with a Hose

Before applying any cleaning solution, ensure you give the surface a good rinse with a garden hose. This will remove any loose grime and make your cleaning solution more effective. If you prefer a pressure washer, make sure to use caution. Stick to a fan tip nozzle when pressure washing and always follow the manufacturer's recommended PSI settings to avoid damaging the deck boards.

3) Applying Cleaner and Scrubbing

Gather up some warm water and mild soap, or grab a cleaner made just for composite decks. Composite deck cleaners are typically available in hardware stores or online. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on the cleaning solution.

If eco-friendliness is as important to you as clean decking, there are plenty of green options available that'll do no harm while keeping things spick-and-span.

4) Scrub the Deck

Use a soft bristle brush, or choose a deck brush with softer bristles to scrub down your deck. Make sure to brush in the direction of the grain for the best results — don't forget to scrub the railings, corners, and narrow gaps between the boards.

5) Rinsing Off

When you've scrubbed every part of your decking, it's time to rinse off the soap. Use a garden hose with moderate pressure to wash away the foam. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the deck to ensure no soap or residue is left behind, as this can leave a film on your decking.

Common Cleaning Challenges

Composite decks are a breeze to maintain, but even they can throw you curveballs with stubborn stains and discoloration. We have a few tricks that can help address some of these challenges.

Stubborn stains: Try to clean spills and stains immediately, especially from food, oil, or greasy substances, as these might stain the deck. If sauce or grease has made its mark, whip out the dish soap and mix it into warm water for an easy DIY cleaning solution.

Mold and mildew: These unwelcome guests can appear on shaded areas of your deck. Mix one-part white vinegar with four parts water and scrub affected areas, followed by a thorough rinse.

Pollen and sap: Remove these sticky visitors with a mild dish soap solution and a gentle scrub. Avoid using harsh chemicals.

Winter woes: If you live in a snowy climate, remember to remove snow and ice promptly to prevent damage. When removing snow, use a plastic shovel with rounded edges to minimize the risk of scratching or damaging the composite surface.

Avoid harsh chemicals: Bleach, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals can damage your deck and fade the color. Opt for mild cleaners and natural solutions whenever possible.

Regular Preventative Care

To ensure your composite deck stays beautiful and functional, prioritize these simple preventative measures:

Minimize abrasion: Avoid dragging furniture across your deck, as it can scratch the surface. Always lift and move.

Reduce dirt accumulation: Use mats at entry points to minimize the amount of dirt tracked onto the deck.

Regular sweeping: Maintain a clean deck surface by sweeping regularly to prevent dirt and debris buildup.

Gentle rinse: A gentle hosing down is often all it takes to keep your deck looking fresh. Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to blast away surface dirt and grime. 

Regular Maintenance Matters

Making the time to clean your composite decking regularly is crucial for maintaining its inviting, vibrant, and durable qualities. Proper care and cleaning are indeed key to extending life and preserving the beauty of your composite deck.

However, if you're ready to take your deck to the next level, The Deck Store is your ultimate resource. Our expert guidance and premium products can help you achieve an outdoor oasis that truly reflects your style. Visit The Deck Store today and discover the endless possibilities for enhancing your outdoor living experience!