How to Clean Your Decking Boards
A deck is perfect for outdoor entertaining, however, it can also require a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good all year round.
Keeping your decking boards clean all year round will not only make them look better, but also keep them protected from weather damage and any other problems that can arise over time.
The key to keeping your deck in pristine condition is regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips on how to clean decking.
Why can’t deck cleaning wait?
The longer you leave dirt and debris in place, the greater the chance of stains, mould and mildew forming. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be to remove.
As seasons change, timber decking also expands and contracts, allowing dirt and moisture to work their way down into the grain, contributing to warping and rotting.
If you live in an area where snow and ice is an issue, you will need to clear the snow off your deck when you do your driveway and paths.
The great thing about composite decking is you get the same stylish look as a timber wood deck, without the ongoing maintenance. That’s right — no decking oil, sanding or painting ever! Composite decking is an ultra-low maintenance product.
However, to keep the pristine look of your deck, it does require occasional cleaning.
What products should you use to clean decking?
Thanks to modern specialised deck cleaning products, cleaning should be a breeze. Some deck cleaners are designed specifically for timber decks, while others are designed for composite. However, there is a great new Australian-made product called DECKWash which can be used for both wood decks and composite decks.
The advantage of using a specialised deck cleaner is its capacity to handle stubborn dirt, mildew and grime much better than dish soap or a homemade solution.
If you’re unable to visit the shops and need a quick solution, you may find you have all the materials you need at home!
Vinegar and bicarbonate soda can provide an eco-friendly solution to grime and debris. To make your own deck cleaner, simply mix equal parts of warm water together with the white vinegar and baking soda.
TIP: Avoid using strong household products like bleach, CLR, or sugar soap, which can cause damage to both timber and composites.
How to clean decking boards
Whether you have a timber deck or a composite deck, the steps for cleaning are the same.
Step 1: Gather the required tools
Start by gathering all the tools required for your clean decking. You may require the following:
- Soapy Water or Deck cleaning product
- Plastic Bristle Deck Brush
- Safety equipment: mask, gloves, eye goggles (if using High-Pressure Cleaner)
- Optional – High-Pressure Cleaner
Step 2: Prepare the surface
Like all cleaning projects, surface preparation is key. Start by removing all furniture. Then make sure you sweep the deck clean of any cobwebs, dirt, twigs and leaves. Don’t forget the spaces between the boards!
Step 3: Washing the deck
Before you start washing your deck, hose it down first with a regular garden hose. Then using a soft broom or deck brush, apply the solution and scrub thoroughly.
Let it sit for a few minutes, rinse, and then re-apply if necessary. Always rinse off any cleaning solution thoroughly and allow the deck to fully dry before placing the furniture back on it.
Whichever deck cleaning product you choose, make sure you follow the instructions carefully! We have prepared a detailed Care and Maintenance Guide for all those who have a NewTechWood deck.
Cleaning your decking in winter
Is it Worth Cleaning Your Deck in Winter? Someone living in sunny Queensland may have a different opinion to someone living in the Snowy Mountains. But our answer is that anything of value is worth maintaining and keeping clean all year round.
Regardless of where you live, winter brings challenges for exposed decks. Although you may not get much use out of your deck during the colder months, it’s important to prepare your deck for winter. Follow these additional tips to ensure your deck is maintained throughout the cooler months.
Cleaning Snow / Ice
If you live in a snow/ice prone region and have composite decking, leaving snow on it generally won’t be a problem. Wood decks on the other hand require more care.
Regardless of the type of deck surface you have, you need to avoid scratching when shovelling the snow. For light snowfall, you can use a broom or a leaf blower. However, for deeper levels, you’ll need a shovel with a plastic or rubber blade.
When dealing with ice, there are a few precautions you should take.
- Avoid using any old hardware store shovel that’s designed for concrete or paving, as it could scratch.
- We also recommend removing ice with ice melts as opposed to road or rock salt. These products can be damaging and be corrosive to metal, which will affect the screws and nails holding your deck together.
- We suggest using Calcium Magnesium Acetate, which is low corrosion as well as safe for pets and plants.
Decking stain prevention
For notorious staining substances, such as red wine and soy sauce, it’s important to flush the area as soon as possible with a warm soapy water cleaning solution. Scrub lightly with a plastic bristle deck brush before it has a chance to set.
Need to Call in the Big Guns?
You can use a high-pressure washer but only with extreme caution. We recommend using a wide fan tip for both timber and composite decking, but only at pressures under 1,500 psi and at a distance of approximately 30 cm above the deck.
To avoid damaging your deck, ensure you don’t aim the washer at any one spot for too long and use long sweeping strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
Still not sure? Contact us!
Still have some doubts and questions on how to clean your composite deck? NewTechWood has got your back!
Our technical experts can provide you with detailed instructions on protecting your deck so you can continue to enjoy using it for many years to come. Get in contact with our team today!.