Five tips for cleaning your composite deck
When it comes to timber vs composite decking, many opt for the latter due to its durability, colour retention, and durability. Another bonus of these high-quality decks is that they never need to be sanded or re-stained. However, that doesn’t mean composite decking doesn’t need a little TLC to keep itself—and your outdoor space—looking its best!
Cleaning your deck not only keeps popular Trex colours such as Island Mist looking as great as the day they were installed, but it also helps ensure the longevity of your outdoor investment. However, before you break out the pressure sprayer, there are a few deck cleaning tips and tricks you should use to optimise your next cleaning session.
1. Plan your deck cleaning around the seasons
For many composite decks, bi-annual cleaning is recommended. First, you should consider washing your deck as part of your spring-cleaning routine ahead of plenty of warm weather fun. Then, once autumn rolls around, you should clean it again to wash away the summer grime and get your deck ready for winter.
2. Sweep away debris
When you’re ready to clean your deck, the first step is to remove any outdoor furniture and accessories – it’s always worth the extra time to clear them from the deck instead of working around them. Plus, if you decide to move deck items around later down the road, you won’t be stuck with unsightly dirt spots.
Once your deck is clear, grab a broom and sweep away any debris. This will eliminate the surface dust and clear away any large objects like fallen leaves and twigs. Has dirt lodged between the boards or in other crevices? Try using a putty knife to dig it out gently.
This is generally a quick and easy step, but one that is often skipped. However, it makes your deck much easier to clean when it comes to scrubbing with a liquid deck cleaner.
3. Pick the right deck cleaner
Speaking of deck cleaners, it is essential to choose the right one. From the material composite decks are made of to whether or not they have a hollow core, they can vary hugely and as a result, it’s best not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to selecting which deck cleaner to use. The best way to know what you should use to clean your composite decking is to contact your deck manufacturer or look at their website for recommendations.
The only solution that is generally safe for all composite decking is warm, soapy water – which is also easily accessible and affordable and gets the job done! Just be sure to rinse well to avoid residue that will dull out the colour of your deck.
Bleach is not recommended for use on composite decks due to their porous nature, and the harshness of this cleaner may cause damage. However, a chemical composite deck cleaner will do the trick for challenging cleaning jobs instead.
For mould and mildew, try using a mixture of two parts vinegar and one part water. Pour the solution onto the problem area, sprinkle with baking soda, and then leave for 20 minutes. Once time is up, scrub with a soft-bristled brush to finish the job. We highly recommend you test this method in an inconspicuous area before using it on larger spots.
4. Know when and how to clean a deck with a pressure sprayer
If you clean your deck bi-annually, then chances are you won’t need to use a pressure sprayer or power washer to bring back its best —soapy water and a soft-bristle brush will often do the trick. However, pressure sprayers can work miracles on decks that haven’t been regularly maintained, but be sure to use them mindfully as they can cause damage, such as scarring and chipping.
When using a pressure sprayer, it is important to:
- Check the power of your pressure sprayer — you want to keep it under 3100 PSI.
- Keep the fan tip a minimum of four inches from the deck surface.
- Move the spray around constantly, being careful not to concentrate too much pressure on a single spot.
- Gently scrub with a soft-bristle brush once you’re done spraying for best results.
- Thoroughly hose off the deck to remove any soap residue.
5. Work in small sections
A warm, sunny day may feel like the perfect time to wash your deck but the downside is that the heat and sunshine may work against you, drying your cleaning solution before you have a chance to scrub it in.
Thankfully, working in small sections makes it easy to avoid this issue. This gives you time to utilise the cleaner before it dries and helps prevent stuck-on grime and residue, which can be time-consuming to hose off later down the line.
Bonus tip! Use this cleaning routine to refresh your deck décor
Cleaning your deck probably isn’t the most exciting outdoor maintenance project on your list. But, to make it a bit more fun—and aesthetically impactful—you may want to take deck cleaning time as an opportunity to play around with your deck décor.
Refreshing your deck décor may be as simple as moving around furniture or revitalising deck accessories like cushions and garden ornaments to welcome the new season. Want to go big in a subtle way? You can create a gorgeous ambience by installing some deck lighting or sprinkling a few lanterns and candles around the deck.
If you’ve ever needed an extra reason to install Trex composite decking, the ease of cleaning tops the list of perks for many homeowners. Your deck can look as good as new with a bit of know-how and a touch of elbow grease—making it ready for relaxing, entertaining, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the fresh air from the comfort of your own backyard!