How To Clean Composite Decking: Protect Your Investment

A guide to help you maintain the beauty of your deck design and take care of deck materials

In order to best maintain the beauty of your composite deck, it’s important to perform a semi-annual cleaning. Decking materials are extremely susceptible to mold, mildew, stains, and general weathering. It’s important to know how to clean your deck in a way that will not damage or ruin your composite deck. This guide will teach you how to protect your investment by cleaning your deck materials in an efficient and easy manner.

The Best Ways to Clean and Restore Composite Deck Boards

Cleaning composite deck boards will help with their longevity as well as giving your deck a fresh, clean appearance. Requiring a cleaning only about two times a year, composite deck boards are low maintenance and can be cleaned in a variety of ways. Here is what you need to know about cleaning and caring for your composite deck boards:

Are Pressure Washers Safe for Composite Deck Boards?

Pressure washers are safe for composite deck boards as long as the pressure is no greater than 3100 psi and features a fan attachment and soap dispenser. Pressure washers are ideal for removing dirt and dust from decks but shouldn’t be used to remove stains.

In order to use a pressure washer that will not damage composite deck boards, make sure to spray the deck with soap, gently scrub each board, then spray each board with a fan tip that is at least 8-10” away from the surface of the board. It’s crucial to make sure that you rinse the deck thoroughly; if any dirty water is left on the surface it will dry and create a film on the composite deck boards.

How to Remove Mold, Tree Sap, and Mildew Stains on Composite Deck Boards

Mold, tree sap and mildew are the biggest culprits for stains on composite deck boards. These debris form a biofilm and are tough to remove. The best way to remove these stains and biofilms from your composite deck boards is to spray them with a hose, then use warm soapy water or a remover specialized in removing mold, tree sap or mildew. It’s important that you use a brush with soft bristles in order to not damage the boards’ finish or color. If stains are still apparent, let your deck dry and then consider applying a stain stipper. Stain strippers are tougher than soap and can remove almost any stain, especially tree sap stains. Stain strippers require a firmer bristle brush or broom in order to truly remove the stains.

What is the Best Composite Deck Brightener?

Spraying your deck with soap, followed by gently scrubbing each individual deck board is the best way to make your composite deck shine. However, if your deck boards are still dull, try using Resist Mist. This product not only rids your boards of mold, tree sap, mildew, and grease/food stains, but it also leaves the deck shining and looking brighter. Resist Mist also has the ability to prevent mold, mildew and algae from growing again.

The Best Ways to Clean and Restore Composite Deck Railings

It’s important to keep composite deck railings clean because they are the first thing that people notice when looking at your deck. Keep them clean and looking their best.

Are Pressure Washers Safe for Composite Deck Railings?

Pressure washers are not recommended for cleaning composite deck railings because they are not as durable as deck boards. According to Trex, it is not recommended to use a pressure washer on an old composite deck railings because it could damage the surface of the railings. Instead of using a pressure washer to clean your railings, use soap and stain removing products.

Removing Mold, Tree Sap and Mildew Stains on Composite Deck Railings

In order to best maintain the surface of your composite deck railing, avoid any products that have acetone and other kinds of solvents, as they will alter the color of the railing. The best way to get rid of mold, tree sap, and mildew stains is to stick to a soap detergent, water, and a soft bristle brush. Most railing stains should come out this way; however if they are still there, try using a vinegar solution.

What You Need to Know About Composite Deck Cleaners

If you clean your composite deck with a product that is too harsh, you run the risk of altering the pigment or finish of the deck; or voiding your warranty by damaging the deck yourself. Keep these things in mind before you begin cleaning your composite deck:

Can You Use Bleach on Composite Decking?

Though bleach will not damage the structure of the deck the way it will with wood and vinyl decks, it could lighten the surface of your composite deck. This is true for products that contain acid as well.

Even small amounts of oxygen bleach can leave discolored spots on your composite deck; avoid using bleach products and try a different stain remover or make your own.

Different Mold, Tree Sap Stain and Mildew Removers for Your Composite Decking

Soap and water is always the recommended stain remover for composite decking. Dish soap is a great and affordable way to clean your deck. Likewise, dish detergent and water gets hard to remove stains off of composite decks.

If dish soap or dish detergent are not removing stains effectively, try using Corte Clean. Corte Clean has been proven to remove all kinds of stains, but is especially good for removing sticky tree sap and mildew stains.

DIY Cleaner: White Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar

When making your own deck cleaner, make sure to follow the exact measurements of each ingredient to ensure you will not alter the stain or finish of the deck.

A great DIY stain removal solution uses white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. After wetting your deck to remove the surface stain, pour your two part vinegar, one part water solution into a bucket and then pour it directly onto the stain. After this, sprinkle baking soda onto the deck and let it sit for about 20 minutes and then scrub the stain gently. Make sure to rinse with soapy water upon finishing scrubbing.

Preserve Your Deck

Preserving your composite deck is easy as long as you make an effort to clean it semi-annually and use the proper cleaning tools to do so. Proper cleaning tools are crucial in maintaining a gorgeous deck; your deck is an investment that deserves to be protected. Keep this guide in mind as you begin prepping to clean your composite deck.

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