Cleaning a composite deck requires the correct cleaner and cleaning methods to make sure your composite deck looks great. It can be very confusing with all of the cleaning products on the market especially when you have never cleaned your deck before. Decks are a great place to entertain and have family and friends over to relax or just having your morning coffee. You have invested the money on your composite deck so you definitely want to keep it looking great.
When cleaning a composite deck you should use extra care and the right cleaner:
Composite decking is a blend of plastic film and wood fibers. The plastic film that goes into composite decking can include polypropylene or polyethylene. The manufacturers of composite decking recommend that you should use a cleaner that does not contain bleach. Bleach is corrosive and can damage the color of your deck and also harm your landscaping and clothing. Using bleach to clean your deck especially in direct sunlight can harm it as well.
Do not use high pressure to clean your composite deck:
Manufacturers of composite decking recommend using no more than 3100 PSI with a fan tip. Pressure washers are a great tool to use when cleaning your deck but using too high of pressure can damage the surface and you can easily cut into the boards. Manufacturers recommend staying away from the surface at least 8 inches (203 mm). You don’t have to use a pressure washer when cleaning your composite deck. You can clean your deck using a good cleaner like Kleeners Choice® along with a good soft brush and garden hose.
List of items to use when cleaning your composite deck:
- Safety glasses and gloves
- Broom or leaf blower to remove any debris
- A pressure washer with a wide fan tip no greater than 3100 PSI
- A Soft brush we recommend our soft bristle brush
- Garden hose and Adjustable garden nozzle
- Kleeners Choice® multipurpose cleaner
- Five-gallon bucket and Hot water to mix Kleeners Choice®
Let’s get started cleaning your composite deck
Remove any debris from the surface:
Make sure that when you start this project it’s early in the morning or late evening when the sun is not as hot. When the sun is at its highest temperature it can dry out the deck too fast while you are cleaning and you want the cleaning solution to dwell and work when temperatures are not as hot. Plus when the sun is cooler out it’s much easier to work on your project.
Before you start to clean your composite deck make sure you remove any heavy debris like leaves, sticks, and dirt from the deck. You can use a broom or leaf blower to remove any debris from the surface. Removing any debris makes it easier to clean the surface without any debris so that you can get right into cleaning.
Look over head and make sure as well that there are not hanging branches. Any hanging branches need to be addressed and trimmed up. Most low hanging branches provide a lot of shade and sometimes this can be good but at the same time you are not getting as much sun light and if your living in a humid climate algae can grow in more shaded areas. If you need to do any trimming now is the time to do it before you start all of your cleaning.
Pre-wet the deck with water | check for any electric outlets by deck:
Before you rinse the deck with water make sure all electric outlets if any are not open. We don’t want any water getting exposed to any open electric outlets. Most up to date outdoor electric outlets have a cover to close off the outlet. If your deck is close to your home make sure all windows are shut. Also if you have any vehicles close by make sure to roll up the windows and that they are away from the area you are cleaning.
Use your garden hose and garden hose nozzle to soak the deck to get it ready for cleaning. You can use your pressure washer on this step but make sure that you use a wide tip and stand back to rinse the deck. You don’t need to be close to wet the deck just back enough that you can saturate the deck with water.
Applying and mixing Kleeners Choice® to your composite deck:
Kleeners Choice® does not contain any bleach and will not harm your deck nor will it harm your landscaping or your clothing. When Kleeners Choice® is mixed into hot water it breaks down and releases an oxygenated cleaning solution to help lift stains from the surface. Kleeners Choice® is great for cleaning surface stains but it will not remove rust or oil stains. Its best suited for dirt stains, leaf stains, and green algae stains.
When mixing kleeners Choice® its best to mix into Hot water, not cold water. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the powder is dissolved. You can apply Kleeners Choice® by using a pump-up sprayer, a roller, a brush, or a mop. It’s best to use a pump-up sprayer that has a safety release valve on it to help evenly coat the cleaner. Once applied let it dwell for up to 15 minutes if the surface is not as stained. With heavy stains, you can let it dwell for up to 25 minutes but make sure the surface doesn’t not dry and keep it damp. Start out cleaning small areas at a time so that you do not let the cleaning solution dry.
Use a soft brush to clean the area and make sure you start out cleaning small sections at a time. It’s easier to pace yourself and clean small sections at a time so that you can keep the area your focusing on damp and saturated with Kleeners Choice® You may need to add a second coat of cleaner for more aggressive stains.
Rinsing the deck using a garden hose or pressure washer:
If your using your pressure washer to rinse your composite deck keep a wide spray tip and no greater than 3100 PSI. Using the pressure washing gun keep back at least 8 inches and start out rinsing in small sections at a time. If you look close you will see any dirt, algae or debris coming off of the surface. Some aggressive algae sometimes can stick to the surface so be careful and just work the pressure washing wand back and fourth until it comes clean. Look in between the boards because algae can grow in these grooves and you want to make sure you remove it. It can be stubborn sometimes to remove because of its location so you can use your soft brush to go in between the grooves.
If you have any hand rails and spindles be extra careful on these. With the height of the handrail if your a shorter person it can be tough to reach with the pressure washing gun. Use your soft brush and clean across the tops of the handrails and spindles and stand back and give a quick rinse.
When rinsing with your garden hose make sure you have the garden hose nozzle set to help rinse off the debris and dirt. You will have to use your soft brush just like you did with the pressure washer. Rinsing with the garden hose will take longer because with the garden hose you are going by low PSI and larger volume of water. The PSI from the pressure washer helps to rinse faster but if your just going about this with your water hose just be patient and rinse well.
Make sure you rinse very well and remove any of the cleaner and dirt that may be on the surface.
Let the deck dry before placing items back on:
Once the composite deck is dry make sure you wait at least 24 hours before putting any outdoor furniture or grills back on. When using foot mats or welcome mats keep in mind that when these lay on the deck over time its blocking out the sun and will create a faded look. Its best to keep mats off of the deck and just rinse off the deck with a garden hose if any dirt gets back on the deck. Enjoy your deck and take care of it and it will bring you many years of enjoyment.