Cleaning Composite Decking

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 20, 2009)

Comprised of plastic and wood fiber or wood flour, composite deck components include planks, railings, spindles, post wraps and caps, and deck gates. The decking is made using a mixture of plastic or resin, and wood, wood flour, or other cellulous material. Composite decking is a favorite alternative to wood decking because it is competitively priced, offices a wide array of design choices, and is low maintenance.

Compared to solid wood, composite decking accumulates less mold, mildew, and dirt, making it much easier to clean. Follow these simple guidelines to clean your composite decking:

  • For general cleaning, dry sweep your decking once a week with a regular broom. Check your manufacturer's directions regarding pressure washing, but most composite decking can be pressure washed up to 1200 PSI using a fan tip.
  • To keep mold and mildew in check, use the products recommended by the manufacturer of your decking. Using any other product may void your warranty.
  • Remove grease stains caused by suntan lotions and food stains with OxyClean. If you use a grill on your deck, place a protection underneath your grill so that grease doesn't accumulate on your decking.
  • You can also use OxyClean to remove rust stains, but try to protect your composite decking from rust stains.
  • To remove stamped lettering, chalk marks, and pencil markings left behind form the construction of your decking, use rubbing alcohol.
  • There's no need to try to remove small scratches, since they will weather with time. Treat deep gouges and cuts with epoxy putty and the touch-up pen that comes with your composite decking.
  • Remove bird droppings with warm, soapy water.
  • If you've a light colored composite deck, you can remove deep colored stains, such as caused by wine or berry juice, by diluting bleach with water and scrubbing it into the stain. Rinse completely after washing the stain.
  • When removing snow from your decking, only use a plastic shovel. While you may use snow and ice melt on your deck, do not chip at ice as you may damage your decking.

Keep in mind that composite decking is made partially of wood and wood fibers, so it can rot if you don't maintain it. Cleaning mold and mildew and repairing gouges will help prevent rot. While some composite decking manufacturers tout that their products do not require sealants, studies show that applying a sealing once yearly inhibits wood rot. Always follow the manufacturer's directions when installing your composite decking, else you may void the warranty.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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