How to Clean a Composite or Wood Deck

Designing and constructing a deck that meets your desires and needs may be enjoyable and thrilling. When it comes to care and maintenance, however, it is crucial to know what to expect beforehand. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of composite decking versus wood decking, focusing on deck maintenance. In addition to periodic cleaning, you should be aware of any additional maintenance tasks you may need to perform on your deck from time to time.


For natural wood aficionados, cleaning a wood deck annually is necessary. You can purchase an efficient mildew, algae, oil, and debris-fighting deck cleaning solution at your local hardware shop, or you can create your own concoctions from common household items.


In addition to cleaning, you will also need to regularly stain or seal your natural deck to maintain its appearance and protect it from the damaging effects of the elements, primarily heat and water. Occasionally, your natural wood deck may also splinter, necessitating periodic sanding or replacement of loose boards.


Read more: How to Pressure Wash a Deck


Composite decks, on the other hand, offer a lower level of overall upkeep, as they do not splinter and do not require frequent staining, painting, or sealing. Let's learn more about cleaning and maintaining your deck's excellent condition!


Deck Cleaning Solutions & Materials Needed

Decks are cleaned by scrubbing them with a cleaning solution and a stiff bristle brush. Unless you want to scrub on your hands and knees, you will need a bucket, cleaner, garden hose with a water nozzle or power washer, and a brush with an extension pole.

Moreover, regardless of whether you have a natural wood or composite deck, there are a variety of homemade cleaning treatments that are suitable for use. These items are available at your local hardware or general shop.

Depending on the DIY formula you use and whether you have a natural or composite deck, the following things can be used in various quantities and combinations to maintain your deck in pristine shape. They include:

  • Warm water alone can be used to clean a wooden or composite deck.

  • When combined with a little warm water, ammonia-free liquid dish soap may be used to clean your deck. Simply combine one gallon of water, two tablespoons of ammonia-free dish soap (such as Murphy's), one pint of rubbing alcohol, and one quart of oxygen bleach. Be very careful to use only dish soap without ammonia. Otherwise, mixing ammonia and bleach might produce harmful fumes. After blending the solution, apply it to your deck and rinse it with water.

  • The use of oxygen bleach or powdered oxygen laundry cleaner on wooden decks is safe and effective for eradicating mold and spores. When cleaning your deck, use only oxygen bleach and not chlorine bleach, as chlorine bleach might undermine the structural integrity of your wood deck.

  • Vinegar - A mixture of a half cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of baking soda, and one gallon of water is safe for composite and wood decking.

How to Clean a Wood Deck

Well-maintained natural wood decks have the potential to look beautiful. The amount of summer wear and tear from cookouts and backyard activities, along with the harsh winter cold and frost, can wreak havoc on a real wood deck if it is not properly cleaned and maintained.

Check out the steps below for how to properly clean wood decking:

  • Step 1: Pre-rinse your deck First, sprinkle the deck with water to soften the cellulose fibers that have dried out. This "pre-rinse" will help facilitate the cleaning solution's distribution around the deck.

  • Step 2: Mix your chosen solution In a 5-gallon bucket, mix your cleaning solution with water according to the instructions on the label.

  • Step 3: Scrub with the grain Next, using your stiff bristle brush, scrub the deck with the grain to remove dirt, mildew, mold, stains, etc.

  • Step 4: Rinse thoroughly You can then rinse the deck's surface with a garden hose or a pressure washer. Try to schedule your deck cleaning during pleasant weather. Before staining and sealing the deck, it is preferable to allow it to dry for 24 to 48 hours.

How to Clean a Composite Deck

In contrast, the answer to the question of what is the best technique to clean composite decking differs significantly from that of natural decking. A little maintenance and cleaning can go a long way toward preserving the aesthetics and functioning of your deck.

The first step in your composite decking care and maintenance regimen is to avoid using specific household chemicals that are required to keep a real wood deck looking brand new. Some of these harsher chemicals might cause damage to the composite material, and nobody wants to cause more harm than good to their deck.

While composite deck cleaners are available, the composite deck cleaning method is so basic and straightforward that you can just as easily maintain its appearance with a DIY composite deck cleaner.

Soap, water, vinegar, and baking soda (for mold) are all you need to produce an eco-friendly composite deck cleaner, along with a gentle pressure power washer (no more than 3100 psi) and/or soft bristle brush to remove dirt, debris, and other grime. To ensure the durability of your composite deck, it is advised that you perform a semiannual cleaning.

  • Step 1: Pre-spray your deck To learn how to clean composite decking yourself, begin by hosing down the deck to remove surface particles.

  • Step 2: Spray with soapy water & scrub Then, spritz the deck boards with soap, and scrub them with a soft bristle brush.

  • Step 3: Rinse thoroughly After you've scrubbed the deck with some effort, go ahead and thoroughly rinse it.

Removing mold from your Composite Decking

Try scrubbing composite decking with vinegar to eliminate mold.

  • Step 1: Pre-rinse Use a hose or pressure washer to eliminate as much surface mold as possible.

  • Step 2: Mix your vinegar solution In a bucket, combine two parts vinegar and one part water. Directly pour the solution into the mold.

  • Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda After pouring the solution, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. After 20 minutes, scrub the area with a soft bristle brush to eliminate any mold and mildew that remains.

  • Step 4: Rinse thoroughly Finally, carefully clean the area to prevent the formation of a film.

And that concludes it! With a small amount of soapy water, some light pressure, and the aforementioned cleaning instructions for composite and wood decking, you can maintain your deck clean and in excellent shape. We call that maximum outdoor living with minimum maintenance!

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