Spring Cleaning: How To Prep Your Composite Deck For Spring

A composite pool deck in a lush and green property

As winter ends and finally gives way to warmer days ahead, it’s time to give your composite deck the attention it deserves after chilly days through a spring cleaning—you need to take care of your property, after all. 

But if this is your first time owning a composite deck, and you don’t know how to clean and prep your deck for the upcoming spring, nor do you know what will happen if you don’t clean your deck, it might be challenging.

But as always, we’re here to help! In this guide, we’ll teach you how to clean and prep your composite deck properly as the climate transitions from chilly to warm. Read on! 

How To Prep Your Composite Deck For Spring

A composite deck system on an urban-style, minimalistic building

In case you don’t know how to prep your deck for the warmer days ahead, don’t fret just yet. In this section, we’ll teach you all the basics with step-by-step instructions so you can follow through carefully with each step!  

Step 1: Prep Your Deck 

Before you begin to wash down residual snow or dirty melted snow in your composite deck, it’s a must to prepare it beforehand. Grab a soft broom or big brush with soft bristles and a long handle and clear the deck of any elements, such as snow, leaves, dirt, soil, twigs, and other items.

Set aside your plants or furniture if you have any. This clearing process ensures you can properly clean your deck without scratching it. 

Check for Signs of Damage

Before you clean the deck and clear it of elements and furniture, you should visually inspect every nook and cranny of your deck and check for signs of damage.

In case you don’t have a good description of what to look for, you’ll need to look for cracks, warping, and splintering and take a good look if the fasteners, such as nails and screws, are still intact. 

Also, pay attention to whether there is mold growth or any liquid that has pooled in a specific area. Take your time as you inspect the entirety of the deck, and be as meticulous as physically possible. 

Common Issues on a Composite Deck 

Common Issues How to Address Them 
Stains Use a composite deck cleaner formulated to remove stains, and follow the instructions in the bottle as closely as possible. 
Snow and Ice Get a plastic shovel to remove the snow, and use rock salt to melt ice slowly but surely. 
Mold and MildewMix water and mild detergent, pour it on the affected areas, and scrub with a soft brush. 
Oil and GreaseBlot excess grease and oil with a clean, absorbent cloth. Then, use a water and mild detergent solution to clean the area. 
Dirt and DebrisUse a broom or a leaf blower to remove the debris. Hose down the deck if dirt is present and continue to linger after sweeping the deck. 
Hard Water StainsUse a vinegar-water solution and dab away at the stains, then rinse it thoroughly after a few minutes. 
TanninsUse a composite deck cleaning solution, or use a solution of warm water with bleach to remove tannin stains. Rinse afterward.

Step 2: Wash Your Composite Deck 

In this step, you’ll finally wash your composite deck and do a spring cleaning! Now that your deck is thoroughly inspected and cleared of debris and obstacles, you’re now about to clean it.

One of the many benefits of cleaning composite decks is that it not only removes the dirt and makes it aesthetically and functionally pleasing, but it also helps preserve the lifespan of your outdoor space investment. 

Washing your composite deck also allows the material to finally breathe after a period of chilly weather. Composites expand and contract in reaction to specific temperatures, just like every material around. 

Heed these steps and follow through:

What You Will Need 

These are the materials and equipment you’ll need for this step:

  • A composite deck cleaner, mild detergent, or bleach.
  • Water hose or pressure washer (only for the most stubborn dirt and stains)
  • Safety goggles and gloves (optional but recommended)
  • A soft-bristled brush 
  • A water bucket to mix cleaning solutions 

Cleaning Process

Carefully follow these steps as you do the composite deck cleaning process:

1. Create a cleaning solution

Follow the instructions on the composite deck cleaner on mixing it with water with a specified ratio. Do the same for mild detergent if you don’t have a composite deck cleaner.

A water and mild detergent solution commonly works best on a 1:4 ratio, with 1 being the mild detergent. 

2. Apply the cleaning solution

Apply the cleaning solution to the deck surface, paying extra attention to the surfaces with the most dirt and stains. Use the brush to spread the solution evenly.

If you have a spray bottle not in use, you can also use that to spread the solution evenly without potentially scratching the deck. Spraying is also easier than manually applying the solution. 

3. Scrub gently 

With the cleaning solution evenly applied, get your brush and gently scrub the deck surface to remove every dirt, mud, grime, and stain. Apply a bit more pressure to the areas with the most resistance to scrubbing, but pay extra attention not to scrub too hard to avoid scratching the deck. 

Should You Pressure Wash Your Composite Deck?

No, we don’t recommend pressure washing your deck. But you may do so if there are resistant dirt and stains in the deck, and pressure washing may be the only option. If you decide to do so, ensure that you use the pressure washer on its lowest setting and gradually adjust the pressure if and when necessary.

Note that pressure washers can permanently damage your decking, strip off its color, and cause premature color fading. 

What Is The Best Cleaner For Composite Decking?

Since various cleaning solutions are available on the market, we can’t divulge a specific brand as the best cleaner. Instead, we’ll give you some parameters that make a composite deck cleaner a good one.

First, it needs to be non-toxic and biodegradable. Second, it needs to be specifically designed for composite materials only. And lastly, it needs to be potent enough to clean stains as gently as possible without using harsh chemicals.

Step 3: Rinse And Let It Dry

Once you’re done scrubbing and leaving it out for a few minutes to allow the solution to work against the dirt, grime, and stain, it’s time to rinse the solution off. Use your water hose and hose down every part of the deck, starting from one side to the other, ensuring all residue is gone. 

After rinsing the deck, inspect the deck again from top to bottom, right and left, and look for any resistant stains and dirt that need extra cleaning powers. If and when necessary, spot-clean these areas with a more robust solution and scrubbing. 

After all these are done, now you need to step back and let it dry. Ensure there is no foot traffic to avoid potential slips and falls and make sure not to replace the furniture and any other item until the deck has completely dried to prevent water damage to your items. 

Once the deck has completely dried, it’s time to replace your furniture and other items and enjoy the view and result of your freshly cleaned and prepped composite deck! 

How To Keep Your Composite Deck As Good As New

Here are five tips to keep your composite deck always looking as good as new with the help of a once-in-a-while spring cleaning: 

  1. Ensure regular cleaning by sweeping away debris, such as dirt, twigs, dead leaves, and dust. Give it a gentle wash with a deck cleaner or mild detergent at least twice a year. 
  2. Address stains as soon as possible to prevent the stains from getting absorbed by the wood fibers, which makes the stains impossible to remove. Use a deck cleaner and soft brush to clean stained areas. 
  3. Avoid abrasive and material-damaging tools, such as hard brushes, harsh chemicals, and pressure washers. These can permanently damage your deck through surface discolorations, apparent scratches, and even outright splintering. 
  4. Protect the deck from scratches. Don’t drag heavy objects across your deck; don’t let pointed objects lie entirely on top of the deck to avoid cutting and scratching the deck’s surface. 
  5. Visually inspect your deck regularly. Check for any signs of damage in every nook and cranny, and ensure there are no irregularities in the deck’s surface, color, or structure. 

Welcome Spring with Oakio!

All in all, prepping and cleaning your composite deck is as easy as 1-2-3! Just follow our step-by-step instructions, and you’re on your way to see your deck as vibrant as the first day you had it installed!

As you prepare your composite deck for the warmth and vibrance of the spring, trust Oakio decking products as your go-to decking producer! With our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, we offer a range of premium decking solutions to elevate and glamourize your outdoor space! 

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