How To Clean Decking

Written by  Harry Taylor
Last updated: July 5, 2023

Why Do Decks Need Cleaning?

While your well-kept, well-trimmed garden sets the first impression for your visitors, your decking really shows off your lifestyle. Whether you keep this area fancy and decorated with ornaments, or you like it bare with minimum furniture, every decking needs a lot of work, or at least some regular maintenance.

At first glance, your decking may not look like it’s damaged in any way, but over time, deck maintenance becomes a necessity. So, when you get to deck cleaning and maintenance, make sure you clean it using proper methods, ingredients, and timings. Here’s what you need to know about how you ought to treat your decking with a major deck spa!

How Does a Decking Get Dirty?

When you build a new decking, it is properly cleaned, sealed, and polished. However, just like all other outer furniture, here’s what your decking might be exposed to:


Whether you water your garden or rains do the job for you, either way, it can be harmful to your decking. As the sealing cracks and dries out, the water quickly seeps into the base.

This not only ruins the floor of your decking but also weakens the base. If you’ve ever felt like your decking is swollen in some places, it’s because water has destabilized its base.

Mould and Mildew

Since your decking is in a garden, the mould naturally grows around the decking as well. You can’t forever get rid of mould and mildew, especially if you go big in gardening. These two elements also rot this deck flooring. This results in a green, mossy decking and a stale, wet smell.

Debris and Dust

Pollen, flowers, mud, petals, and even insects easily find their habitat in the decking. These aren’t exactly harmful to the decking, but they devalue the beauty of your deck. Despite your best efforts, these can reappear from time to time and need a rigorous cleaning schedule.

When Should You Clean Your Decking?

With a brand new deck, you don’t need to worry about maintenance for a long time.

However, an annual cleaning schedule is bound to keep your deck in top-notch condition for as long as you occupy the house. For an easily manageable deck cleaning routine, here’s a great schedule for you to follow:

Spring is ideally a great time to get on with deck cleaning. These are the days when your plants grow and reproduce. This also attracts insects, which scatter pollen everywhere.

Start with cleaning away the solid waste in and around the decking. Use a putty knife or a scraper to clean between the joists. You can also go for a pole-type groove and crevice cleaner.

Once you get the debris out of the crevices of the decking, you can proceed to sweep across the deck. Use a broomstick, or a small brush, and a dustpan.

After you’re done cleaning and sweeping away all the solid particles, you can proceed to wet cleaning. Before you proceed to this step, make sure to cover all plants, pots, décor, furniture, and all painted stuff with plastic sheets or cling films.

Next, get a chemical cleanser or a pressure jet to clean the decking. If there are stubborn stains on your decking, you might want to use a chemical cleaner. However, make sure you don’t get something too harsh for the decking material. If you don’t want chemicals in your cleaning spree, a pressure washer will do the job just as well. You can buy or rent either of these at modest prices online and in stores.

Make sure that you scrub using clean cloths and replace the dirty ones regularly. If you’re going for a chemical-based cleaner, try to dilute it with water and scrub to get the product evenly across and off all surfaces. Wooden rails, posts, pipes, etc., can get their stains in a much worse condition if you don’t rub them well enough.

After you’ve cleaned and polished the surfaces, it’s time to sand the deck. Use good quality sandpaper, preferably something recommended by a trusted deck repair service. Use the sandpaper to scrub the decking so that the surfaces are perfectly even and smooth.

When all the sweeping, scrubbing, and washing is done, it’s time to seal the flooring. Try to do your deck sealing on a day with dry, moderate weather. This should give the sealing solution enough time to dry and firmly adhere to all surfaces. When you’re picking a sealer, you’ll come across four types:

  1. A clear sealer that shows the wood’s and grain’s natural colour.
  2. Toner-cum-sealer that adds a UV tint to the sealing and protects the decking from sun discolouration. However, this one’s also transparent.
  3. Semi transparency tint that shows off some of the tints.
  4. Solid colour sealing that offers complete coverage of the natural grain and wood colour. This also provides superb weather protection.

Before the sealing, make sure you check for all missing or replaceable nuts and bolts and clear away any unwanted plantation.

Should You Treat Your Decking?

Decks are exposed to quite a lot of weathering and rough use. From spilling your drink to knocking over pots to gliding your roller skates on the floor, these certainly put up with a lot. It’s no wonder why deck treating is so valued in most households. Here’s why you need to treat your decking:

Keeps It From Rotting

If left untreated for a long time, your decking will gradually rot and rust from within. Annual or monthly repairs will help you keep it in shape.

It Isn’t Expensive

Regularly treating your deck is, in the long run, a whole lot cheaper than letting it rust and rot.

It Has a Part In the Value of Your House

The decking is almost always visible to anybody who takes a glance at your house. If it isn’t well maintained, your house will naturally lose a part of its market value.

Cleaning a Wood Deck or Composite Deck

For a wooden deck:

Use a paint roller, brush, and garden hose. Apply the cleaner evenly with the brush, and don’t let it form puddles anywhere. Try to keep the deck moist until it’s time to remove the cleanser. To avoid staining the wooden surface and railings, scrub them diligently.

For a composite deck:

Use a soft brush to gently scrape away dirt. Avoid a pressure washer because it might spoil the composite filling. Use a deck brightener containing oxalic acid to remove rust and plant stains.

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