Cleaning Your Composite Decking This Spring

Springtime is upon us at last—that joyous season where life and beauty return after a long period of cold and decay. Spring is also the time when many of us catch up on the projects around the house that we put off during the harder, colder months. If your spring cleaning to-do list includes cleaning your composite decking, we’ve put together a few simple tips to help you get the job done right.

Soapy water and a soft-bristled brush work for most stains and spills

The best way to keep your composite decking looking good all year round is to quickly clean spills and stains. Anytime you spill food, clean the spill immediately with soapy water. After a particularly bad storm, clean any debris off your porch. When the pollen begins to collect, make sure to regularly get out there and clean that off, too. All of these issues can not only leave stains on your composite decking, but they can also create a biofilm that helps feed mold and mildew, making it more likely you’ll have such an issue.

If you do develop mold or mildew, those can also usually be taken care of with soapy water (change the water regularly while you clean) and a soft-bristled brush. For extreme cases, you can add oxygen bleach (not chlorine bleach) to your cleaning solution.

After extreme storms, you may want to apply a “brightener” at the end of your cleaning process

After cleaning up behind a storm that has left debris on your porch, you may want to consider applying a “brightener” to your composite decking. Brighteners contain a compound that helps break down the tannins such debris often leaves behind, which can dye your decking brown or yellowish. You can purchase a brightener at your local hardware store in Seattle.

Pressure washers can be used for more stubborn stains

Older composite decking, as a rule, should not be cleaned with a pressure washer. Newer decking, however, often can be, as long as the PSI on the pressure washer is no higher than 3100. If you’re not sure whether your composite decking can be cleaned with a pressure washer or not, do some research online, or ask someone at your local hardware store.

When using a pressure washer, you still should first scrub your porch with soap and water. Then, using your pressure washer’s fan nozzle, you can clean the soap and debris from your decking. Don’t use the “cutting nozzle” (the narrowest stream), and don’t hold your pressure washer nozzle closer than 8” from your decking.

What not to do

Whatever you do, never use a solvent such as acetone to try to clean your decking. Don’t scrape your decking with anything that has a hard edge (use a plastic scraper, if necessary). And, avoid using chlorine bleach, as we mentioned above.

Visit a hardware store in Seattle

If you are looking for a hardware store or lumber yard in Seattle, you can’t do better than Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. We’ve been in business since 1926, and in that time have made our name by providing the best products, expertise and value of any hardware store in the area. Give us a call or come in today!

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