Composite decking is an alternative to the traditional wooden deck material. Typically, it is constructed from waste wood and recycled plastic from milk jugs and shopping bags. The materials are weather-resistant, splinter-free, and perhaps most notably, its maintenance simple. If you’re curious about what that maintenance entails, here is a brief overview of how to clean a composite deck.

General Maintenance of a Composite Deck

For general maintenance, thoroughly sweep and then scrub the deck with hot, soapy water. That is all that is needed to sufficiently clean the deck. We recommend doing this once or twice a year as a matter of routine, but more frequently if needed. Begin by sweeping away loose dirt or debris and clearing the cracks between the planks, which will ensure the water drains properly. A sturdy broom is typically sufficient. In extreme circumstances, a slim tool such as a screwdriver or putty knife may be necessary to clear between the planks.

Once the deck is swept clean, scrub it with hot, soapy water. A power washer works well for this, but if one is not available, a stiff broom or a soft-bristled scrub brush will also work. Be sure to consider the weather conditions before cleaning. Scrubbing on a sunny day is optimal as the sun will help the deck dry thoroughly. If the deck must be cleaned without the weather’s cooperation, the deck can be dried with towels.

Stain and Soil Prevention

While composite decking is simple to clean, it isn’t impervious and can be stained. Grease, mildew, or tannin buildup from fallen leaves should be cleaned, removed, or prevented as these types of spills and debris can cause stains. Deep stains usually occur as a result of not cleaning up spills or debris promptly.

Dawn dish soap works well at removing grease, but if the grease is a result of grilling and is likely to happen often, prevention is the easiest, most effective form of maintenance. Laying mats around the grill area will prevent the grease from landing directly on the deck. Make sure they are safe and approved for being near grills and flames!

Tannins are found in things such as tree bark, leaves, and some foods such as fruit, wine, and tea. How the spills and litter are handled determines the ease of cleaning. Leaves, bark, and other litter from nature should be removed from the deck before it has a chance to begin composting. Food or drink spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible.

If you see stains, a solution of hot water and either Dawn dish soap or a manufacturer-approved cleaner might remove them. Time and sunshine may also fade the stains, but unfortunately, stains can be too deep to remove.

What Can Be Used Besides Soap?

Cleaners other than soap are available for composite decking. When choosing one, consult the decking’s manufacturer’s instructions first for approved cleaners. Not all composite decking is identical and using an unadvised cleaner could damage the decking, and in extreme cases, void its warranty.

If there is mold or mildew on the deck, it’s tempting to reach for a bottle of bleach. However, bleach is one substance that should never be used on composite decking, even when diluted. It’s a strong, corrosive chemical that will compromise the integrity of the decking’s surface. This will cause it to become discolored. Because composite decking is porous, bleach seeps into the decking and compromises the interior as well. Be sure to examine the ingredients in cleaners for the pseudonym: Sodium Hypochlorite. If you need to remove mold or mildew, a solution of hot water and soap or a manufacturer-approved cleaner will do the trick.

Enjoy Your Clean Deck

With a little prudence and promptness, composite decking will provide you with a lifetime of more time spent enjoying the outdoors from your deck and less time maintaining the deck. If you’re searching for a deck installer in Ohio, Buckeye Elite services northeast and central Ohio. Our company offers many options, from decking to fencing. Find out more about us and our services at