Composite decking has become increasingly popular due to its durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. However, to keep your composite deck looking its best and prolong its life, proper cleaning and maintenance are essential. In this comprehensive guide on how to clean composite decking, we’ll explore the steps and techniques necessary to clean your composite deck effectively and efficiently, ensuring it remains beautiful and functional for years to come.
By following these guidelines and using appropriate cleaning products, you can prevent issues such as mould and mildew, maintain your deck’s appearance, and protect your investment. Let’s dive into the world of composite deck cleaning and learn how to clean composite decking effectively.
Preparing Your Composite Deck
To embark on the cleaning process, it’s necessary to first set up your composite deck. Clearing the area, sweeping debris, and shielding nearby plants and landscaping will create a clean, safe workspace for a comprehensive and efficient cleaning session.
Proper preparation also helps preserve the appearance and longevity of your composite deck, setting the stage for successful cleaning and maintenance.
Clearing the Area
The first step in preparing your composite deck for cleaning is to clear the area of any furniture, plants, or other items. This not only streamlines the cleaning process but also ensures that all areas of the deck are accessible for proper maintenance. Removing these items also prevents the risk of damage or staining during the cleaning process, protecting your possessions and allowing for a more efficient cleaning session.
When clearing the area, don’t forget about the spaces between your deck boards, as dirt and debris can accumulate there as well. Using a scraper or putty knife, carefully remove any lodged debris to prevent potential damage to your deck and ensure a thorough cleaning.
Sweeping and Debris Removal
After clearing the area, sweeping any surface dirt and debris from your composite deck becomes the next task. This not only enhances its aesthetic appearance but also increases safety by reducing the potential for slipping. A soft-bristled brush or vacuum is recommended for this task, as it effectively removes loose dirt and debris without damaging the deck surface.
In addition to sweeping the surface, be sure to address any oil and grease stains that may be present. These stains can be stubborn and difficult to remove, but using a soft-bristled brush to remove them with warm water and soap can effectively eliminate them. By addressing these issues promptly, you’ll maintain the beauty and integrity of your composite deck.
Protecting Plants and Landscaping
Protection of nearby plants, flowers, and decorations from potential damage caused by cleaning products is a necessary step when cleaning your composite deck. Covering plants and decorations with tarps or plastic sheets will shield them from chemicals, water, and debris. This ensures that they are protected from any harsh chemicals or high-pressure water that may affect their foliage or delicate surfaces.
In addition to covering plants and decorations, take care to choose eco-friendly cleaning products and avoid using harsh chemicals that may harm your plants. By taking these precautions, you’ll ensure that your landscaping remains healthy and vibrant while your composite deck is cleaned and maintained.
Choosing the Right Cleaning Products
Choosing suitable cleaning products for your composite deck is fundamental for optimal results and the preservation of its aesthetic appeal and durability. While there are various cleaners available, it’s essential to choose those specifically designed for composite decking or recommended by the manufacturer. This is because there are many different types of decking, so making sure it matches your composite decking is very important.
This section explores various cleaner types, such as manufacturer-recommended products, mild detergents, and eco-friendly options, aiding you in making a well-informed decision.
Using cleaners specifically designed for cleaning composite decking or those recommended by the manufacturer ensures that your deck is cleaned effectively without causing damage. These cleaners are formulated to address common issues related to composite decking, such as dirt, grime, and mildew, without harming the material or its finish.
Examples of highly rated cleaners for composite decking include:
- HLS Composite Decking Cleaner
- Wet & Forget
When using a recommended cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution ratios and application methods to achieve the best results.
Selecting the appropriate cleaner to clean composite decking will safeguard your investment and maintain the aesthetic appeal of your composite deck.
Mild Detergents and Soaps
Gentle cleaning agents, such as dish soap or mild detergent, can also be used to clean your composite deck effectively. Diluted in warm water, these mild cleaning solutions can be used to scrub away dirt and grime without causing damage to the decking material.
Some popular brands of mild detergents suitable for composite decking care include:
- Aqualis Composite Bright Deck Cleaner
- Deck Protect Composite Clean
- 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner
- Wash Safe Spray and Clean Composite Deck Cleaner
When using a mild detergent or soap, be sure to use a soft approach and follow the instructions for dilution ratios and application methods to achieve optimal cleaning results with warm soapy water.
For those who prefer a more natural approach to cleaning, eco-friendly options such as vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice can be used to clean composite decks effectively. These natural cleaning solutions are gentle on the environment and can help remove dirt, grime, and mildew without harming your deck or the surrounding landscape.
To use an eco-friendly cleaning solution, follow these steps:
- Mix the chosen cleaning agent with water.
- Gently scrub the deck surface using a soft-bristled brush.
- After cleaning, rinse the deck thoroughly with water to remove any residue.
- Allow the surface to air dry.
By choosing eco-friendly cleaning options, you can maintain the beauty of your composite deck while minimizing your impact on the environment.
Step-by-Step Cleaning Process
With your composite deck ready and the right cleaning products selected, you can now commence cleaning your deck. This section provides a step-by-step guide on cleaning your composite deck, covering everything from cleaner application to surface scrubbing and deck rinsing and drying.
By following this systematic approach, you’ll make sure that your deck is cleaned thoroughly and efficiently, maintaining its appearance and longevity.
Applying the Cleaner
Begin the cleaning process by applying your chosen cleaning solution to the deck surface. It’s essential to work in small sections to prevent the cleaner from drying out before you have a chance to scrub it into the surface. If you’re using a recommended cleaner or a mild detergent, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution ratios and application methods to achieve optimal results.
Once the cleaner is applied, allow it to sit on the surface for a few minutes to penetrate the dirt and grime. However, be mindful not to let the cleaner dry or evaporate before scrubbing, as this can make it less effective and more challenging to remove.
Scrubbing the Deck
Next, use a medium-stiffness nylon brush to scrub the deck surface, paying particular attention to corners and edges where dirt and debris are most likely to accumulate. Apply gentle pressure when scrubbing to avoid damaging the composite material, and work the cleaner into the surface to lift away dirt and grime.
When scrubbing your composite deck, it’s essential to use a soft bristle brush to prevent scratching or damaging the surface. As you scrub, be sure to rinse the brush periodically to remove any dirt and debris that may have become trapped in the bristles, ensuring a thorough and effective cleaning.
Rinsing and Drying
After you’ve scrubbed the deck, thoroughly rinsing it to eliminate any leftover cleaning solution residue is the next step. Use a garden hose or use a pressure washer with a fan tip nozzle to spray each individual deck board, rinsing away dirt, grime, and cleaning solution. Be sure to hold the nozzle at least 20cm from the board and spray in the direction of the board to avoid damaging the composite material.
After rinsing, it’s crucial to remove any standing water from the deck surface to prevent the growth of mould and mildew. Use a clean, dry cloth or towel to soak up any remaining moisture, and allow the deck to air dry completely. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your composite deck is cleaned effectively and efficiently, maintaining its beauty and longevity.
Special Considerations for Mould and Mildew
While capped composite decking is designed to be more resistant to issues such as mould and mildew unlike traditional wooden decking, these problems can still arise, particularly in damp or shaded areas where composite deck boards are installed.
This section delves into identifying and tackling mould and mildew on your composite deck, maintaining its pristine appearance and preventing potential health risks.
Identifying Mould and Mildew
Mould and mildew can manifest on your composite deck as:
- Discoloured or fuzzy patches
- Patches that may appear slimy or powdery in texture
- Mould typically appears as black or green patches
- Mildew is usually white or grey
Identifying the presence of mould and mildew on your deck is crucial for addressing the issue and preventing its spread.
In addition to visual indicators, a musty odour may also signal the presence of mould or mildew on your deck. By keeping an eye out for these signs and addressing mould and mildew issues promptly, you can maintain the appearance and integrity of your composite deck.
Removing Mould and Mildew Stains
To remove mould and mildew stains from your composite deck, follow these steps:
- Mix a solution of soap and water.
- Dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution.
- Gently scrub the affected area, working the cleaning solution into the surface to lift away the mould and mildew.
- Rinse the area with clean water.
- Be sure to use a brush with softer bristles to prevent scratching or damaging the deck surface.
After scrubbing, rinse the deck with water to remove any remaining cleaning solution residue. Allow the surface to air dry completely, and keep an eye on the affected area to ensure that the mould and mildew do not return.
By addressing mould and mildew issues promptly and effectively, you can maintain the beauty and longevity of your composite deck.
Tips for Maintaining Your Composite Deck
Adherence to a regular cleaning and maintenance routine is pivotal in maintaining the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your composite deck. This section offers tips on composite deck maintenance, covering aspects like regular cleaning, spot stain removal, and seasonal care.
By following these tips, you’ll ensure that your deck remains beautiful, functional, and long-lasting.
Cleaning your composite deck regularly is crucial for preserving its appearance and preventing the accumulation of dirt, pollen, and other debris that can result in mould growth. It’s recommended to clean your composite deck at least twice a year, when temperatures are above 12 °C.
In addition to deep cleaning, it’s essential to sweep the deck regularly to remove dirt and debris, and use a mild detergent or soap to clean the deck when necessary. By following a regular cleaning schedule, you’ll ensure that your composite deck remains beautiful and functional for years to come.
Spot Stain Removal
Addressing spills and stains promptly is essential for maintaining the appearance of your composite deck. To remove spot stains, use soapy water and a soft brush, gently scrubbing the affected area until the stain is lifted.
After cleaning, allow the deck to weather naturally over time. With regular spot stain removal, you can maintain the beauty of your composite deck and prevent unsightly stains from becoming a permanent fixture.
Taking extra precautions during seasonal transitions is essential for maintaining the appearance and functionality of your composite deck. Here are some tips for winter maintenance:
- Remove snow and ice using a plastic shovel, leaf blower, or broom.
- Use calcium chloride to melt stubborn ice.
- Avoid using a metal shovel or snow blower, as these can damage the deck surface.
In the spring, clean pollen and seeds from the deck surface, as these can accumulate and create a breeding ground for mould and mildew. By taking these seasonal precautions, you’ll ensure that your composite deck remains beautiful and functional throughout the year.
Thorough cleaning and maintenance are key to preserving the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your composite deck. By following the manufacturer’s guidelines and using appropriate cleaning products, you can protect your investment and keep your deck looking great for years to come. Remember to prepare the deck before cleaning, choose the right cleaning products, and follow a systematic cleaning process to ensure a thorough and efficient cleaning session.
With regular cleaning, spot stain removal, and seasonal care, your composite deck will remain beautiful, functional, and long-lasting. Embrace the low-maintenance lifestyle that composite decking offers and enjoy your outdoor space with confidence.
In summary, proper cleaning and maintenance of your composite deck are vital for preserving its appearance and ensuring its durability. By following the manufacturer’s guidelines, choosing the right cleaning products, and adhering to a regular cleaning schedule, you can keep your composite deck looking its best and enjoy your outdoor space for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best thing to clean composite decking with?
For optimal cleaning of composite decking, a combination of warm water and household soap (or washing-up liquid) with a soft bristled brush is the best choice. If that doesn’t do the trick, Oxylyse oxygenated cleaning product is another great option.
What should you not clean composite decking with?
Never use bleach, harsh chemicals, or cleaning products containing chlorine bleach on composite decking; always use soap and warm water to clean the deck boards.
Can you use washing up liquid to clean composite decking?
You can use washing up liquid to clean composite decking. To do so, mix a bucket of warm water with the liquid and apply it directly onto the deck. Clean the area thoroughly with a soft bristled brush to remove fatty stains.
Should you pressure wash composite decking?
It is recommended to pressure wash capped composite decking, using a fan tip nozzle. However, pressure washing uncapped composite decking should be avoided as it can cause damage.
How often should I clean my composite deck?
Clean your composite deck at least twice a year, ideally when the weather is a bit more – so beginning of spring and start or autumn for instance.