How to Properly Clean a Deck

Deck Cleaning Charleston SC should occur every year to remove built-up dirt and stains. Before beginning, cover nearby plants and greenery with a tarp to prevent cleaning solution spills from damaging your landscaping.

Use a cleaner formulated for composites and follow the dilution instructions. Avoid chlorine bleach, which will damage the wood and kill plant life. Instead, choose a product that contains oxygen bleach that doesn’t harm plants.

During normal use, debris can build up on your deck. This can come from leaves and other plant matter that falls on the deck, food and drink spills, or dirt tracked onto the deck by kids and pets. Debris can also collect in the spaces between the deck boards. If this debris is not removed, it can cause the deck to rot. Fortunately, it is easy to remove debris from your composite deck using a simple soap-and-water solution.

First, clear the deck of any furniture or grills to make it easier and safer for cleaning. Aim to sweep the entire deck area to remove any loose debris. Next, rinse the deck with a hose or pressure washer to loosen and remove any stuck-on dirt or grime. Depending on the type of stain or discoloration you are trying to eliminate, you may need to scrub the deck with a brush. Typically, a medium-stiffness nylon brush is recommended for TimberTech composite materials. After rinsing, you should be able to see a dramatic difference in the appearance of your deck!

If you’re using a store-bought deck cleaner, follow the instructions for application. For a homemade cleaning solution, mix water and white vinegar. Be sure to check that the vinegar is compatible with your deck’s surface material. Always wear rubber gloves when mixing and applying the cleaning solution to protect your skin, eyes and lungs.

After the deck has been cleaned, you can start to see your hard work pay off! Your deck should look much cleaner, with less stains and discoloration. For best results, try to clean your deck at least once per year. If you can do it more often, you’ll be able to enjoy your deck even more and prevent the need for a major cleanup in the future.

After the deck has been cleaned, it is important to take some time and inspect it to be certain that it is safe for use. Look for any tripping hazards, such as nails or screws sticking out of the wood. If there are any issues, you should address them as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the deck.

Stains and Mildew Removal

As the hub of outdoor living, decks host a season’s worth of grilling, dining, and entertaining activities. These events can leave behind greasy food or drink spills, mildew and soot, tree sap, dirt, leaves, and even rusty furniture. These stains and grime can cause your stain to fail and attract mold growth, and they also leave behind unsightly spots on the wood.

You can clean most stains with simple cleaning solutions that you may already have in your home. Liquid dish soap works well for lightly soiled decks, and it’s safe to use on stained wood. Mix a solution of one gallon of water with a quarter cup of liquid dish soap, scrub the deck surface, and rinse thoroughly.

To remove more stubborn stains, you can use an oxygen bleach solution of one cup of oxygen bleach ($9, Target) and one gallon of water. Scrub the area with a brush and let the solution sit for about 15 minutes before scrubbing again and rinsing. The oxygen bleach solution will also kill mold spores and prevent future growth.

Another way to keep your deck free from mold is to sweep and clear away leaves, small twigs and debris regularly, especially in shady areas. This will keep the debris from collecting and moistening on the deck, and it will make it harder for mildew to develop.

A simple solution of one gallon of water and a cup of white distilled vinegar can also be used to clean the deck. Vinegar will remove mildew and algae, and it will also kill mold spores and remove the smell. Then, after you have cleaned the deck with a mild cleaning solution or a deck cleaner, letting it dry in the sun will also help kill any mold or mildew that is still alive and will prevent them from returning.

When you are ready to reapply your stain, be sure to work in a cool or shaded area and avoid direct sunlight as the sun will heat up the stain and increase the drying time. Apply the stain in small sections and then allow it to dry between each application. This will ensure that the stain absorbs evenly and does not leave any unsightly streaks or blotches.

Cleaning the Underlayment

Keeping dirt and debris from under the decking is crucial to a long life. The best way to do this is by sweeping and removing leaves and debris before they’re allowed to settle. You can also use a leaf blower to remove loose debris from hard-to-reach corners and nooks. Once your deck is free of all debris, it’s a good time to determine if it needs to be sealed. To test this, simply sprinkle a small amount of water on the surface of your deck. If the water beads up and spreads around, it’s time to reapply your deck sealer.

Before you start cleaning your deck, make sure to cover any nearby plants and greenery with a tarp to prevent them from getting spattered with cleaner or stain. You’ll also want to move any outdoor furniture and other items off of the deck. Leaving them in the same place for too long can result in uneven fading from sunlight exposure.

A wood deck requires special care to keep it looking its best. For the best results, choose a cleaner that’s safe for your deck’s material. If you prefer, you can also make your own home-made cleaning solution from white vinegar and water. However, make sure you only use it on a dilution ratio of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. If it’s used undiluted, vinegar can leach the color out of your decking.

Once you have your cleaner and deck cleaning tools ready, it’s time to start the process of restoring your deck to its former glory. Start by sweeping the deck thoroughly, paying particular attention to the nooks and crannies where dirt and dust often collect. This will help to ensure that your cleaner gets in every nook and cranny to effectively clean the deck.

If your deck is made of composite materials, work in small sections so that the cleaning product won’t dry before you’re able to scrub it. Using a brush specifically designed for your deck’s material (one with medium stiffness for TimberTech, for example), apply the cleaner and rub it in with the grain of the boards. Be sure to scrub in between the boards as well.


Regular oiling of timber decks is a great way to protect the surface and help it retain its colour. When the weather is dry and you have swept away all the debris, apply your chosen decking oil. As a rule, it is best to use oil that is safe for your particular type of timber (check with your supplier). It is important that the deck is clean and dry before applying the first coat of decking oil. This will help to open up the pores of the wood so it can absorb the oil, and it also helps prevent moisture trapping under the oil which could eventually lead to rot.

During the cleaning process, a scrubbing brush will be necessary to scrub the surface of the deck. It is important to use a brush that is specifically designed for decking, or one with soft bristles to avoid damaging the wood. If any areas of the decking are particularly dirty, try using a small amount of bleach mixed with water to create a more powerful cleaning solution. Once you have scrubbed the deck, rinse it with a hose or pressure washer to remove any remaining grime. You should then leave the deck to fully dry before continuing with the oiling.

When you are ready to start applying the decking oil, it is important to work in a well ventilated area, and to wear protective gloves when mixing and using the cleaner. Some cleaners and boost agents can cause skin irritation, and the combination of these chemicals with bleach can also produce toxic chloramine gas, so it is essential to take care to minimise exposure.

If you are using a natural wood stain, it is best to patch-test your chosen product on a small part of the deck before starting on the whole surface. This will help you determine how much oil needs to be applied and ensure that the deck will look consistent when finished.

If you are using a commercially available decking oil, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and application. It is also advisable to apply a second and even third coat of oil, allowing the first to dry between each application. If you are using a pre-mixed product, the colour may vary slightly between batches. Always apply a thin coat, as too much oil can gum up on the surface and make it hard to wipe off.