5 Common Mistakes to Avoid: Composite Deck Cleaning

About The Author

Picture of Jay Beswick

Jay Beswick

Jay Beswick is the visionary founder and owner of Majestic Outdoors, a leader in crafting exceptional outdoor living spaces in Raleigh, NC. His dedication to innovation, client satisfaction, and industry advancement makes him a respected voice in the deck-building community.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid: Composite Deck Cleaning Like a Pro

While composite decks need minimal maintenance, they do need some. It’s important to keep your deck clean. Composite deck cleaning does not have to be difficult. However, avoid common mistakes when cleaning your deck so it will last a long time and maintain its appearance.

Here are five frequent errors people make that will ruin their composite decks and how to prevent them:

  1. Using Abrasive Cleaning Tools: Wire brushes, abrasive scrub pads, and high-pressure power washers can scratch, scuff, or damage the composite decking’s protective surface. Choose soft-bristle brushes or non-abrasive cleaning pads instead.
  2. Using Harsh Chemical Cleaners: Chlorine bleach, acetone, solvents, and cleaners containing sodium hypochlorite can discolor, damage, and degrade composite materials. Stick to mild, non-abrasive cleaners like dish soap or composite deck cleaners designed for this purpose.
  3. Incorrect Pressure Washing: A pressure washer can be beneficial when used cautiously. Excessive pressure or holding the wand too close can etch, chip, or damage the composite surface. Keep the pressure low (under 1,500 PSI) and maintain a distance of at least 8 inches from the deck.
  4. Neglecting Regular Cleaning: Dirt, debris, and spills can accumulate and become difficult to remove if not addressed regularly. Frequent sweeping, blowing, or rinsing helps prevent buildup and keeps the deck looking clean.
  5. Using Improper Tools: Stiff-bristle brooms, metal shovels for snow removal, or other abrasive tools can scratch the deck surface. Use soft-bristle brushes, plastic shovels, and tools specifically designed for composite decking.

By steering clear of these common mistakes, you can maintain your composite deck’s appearance and extend its lifespan.

Composite Deck: How to Clean it Like a Pro

TimberTech composite deck with outdoor furniture

Following a few efficient steps can make maintaining your composite decking much simpler and more effective.

At Majestic Outdoors, we prefer to build custom decks with TimberTech decking materials. Here are five tips for cleaning composite decks based on TimberTech’s cleaning recommendations:

1. Clear the Deck Space

The first step to cleaning composite decking is to clear the deck space by removing all furniture, plants, and other items. We need to ensure the entire surface is accessible for cleaning.

Start by moving chairs, tables, and planters off the deck. Once everything is out of the way, sweep away loose debris like leaves, dirt, and twigs. This will make it easier to apply the cleaning solution later.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to cover nearby items like grills or outdoor heaters to protect them from splashes. By thoroughly clearing the deck space, you set yourself up for an efficient and effective cleaning process, ensuring every inch of our decking gets the attention it needs.

2. Prepare Cleaning Solution

After you clear the deck, prepare the cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer. Grab a bucket and fill it with water, following the dilution instructions on the cleaner’s label. After adding the cleaner, we’ll mix it thoroughly to ensure it’s evenly distributed.

Using composite decking-specific cleaning products is important to avoid damaging the material. (You can also use a mild soap mixed in warm water.)

Next, get a soft-bristle brush, a mop, and possibly a garden sprayer if the cleaner’s instructions suggest it.

3. Section Off the Deck

For efficient cleaning, section off the deck into manageable areas to prevent the cleaner from evaporating too quickly. By dividing the deck into smaller sections, you can focus on cleaning each part thoroughly. Working in small areas also makes it easier to monitor your progress.

4. Thoroughly Clean the Deck

Pay extra attention to corners and edges when cleaning your deck. Dip the deck brush into the cleaning solution and scrub in the direction of the grain to lift loose dirt and grime effectively. You will likely need to apply more pressure in high-traffic areas where mold or mildew might be present.

Take your time and cover every inch, including the spaces between the deck boards, to prevent buildup. By using a soft-bristle brush, you will avoid damaging the surface while still achieving a deep clean.

Clean around railings and posts, maintaining a consistent cleaning pattern throughout the deck.

5. Rinse and Air Dry

After you have scrubbed every inch of the deck, it’s time to rinse off the cleaning solution or soapy water. Use a garden hose or a gentle pressure washer to rinse off the deck with clean water.

Make sure every bit of the cleaning solution is rinsed away to prevent any residue from affecting the deck’s appearance or longevity. When done rinsing, let your deck air dry.

That’s it. That’s how to clean composite decking. 

Follow These Regular Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Deck Looking Like

composite deck with walkway and steps with in-step lighting.

Here are some maintenance and cleaning tips:

Do You Wish You Had a Composite Deck to Clean?

So, that is how to clean a composite deck and keep it looking good. If you don’t have a deck and would like one, or if you have an old one that a deep cleaning won’t cut it, we can help design a new one for you. Contact Majestic Outdoors for a free estimate. Plus, we’ll tell you why we like TimberTech and AZEK so much.