I know as a deck builder I shouldn’t admit this, but I never seem to get around to giving my deck a good cleaning before winter arrives, So if you are like me, when spring finally comes, and the snow melts off your deck, it needs a serious cleaning.If you own a pressure washer, this can be a fairly simple job depending on the type of decking you have. If you don’t own a pressure washer, they can be rented at most Home Depots, it may be worth your while to rent one.
If you have a composite deck with leaf and dirt stains on it, a pressure washing may not be enough. I have had good success using a product called Corte Clean for this kind of job. It is a granular cleaner that is mixed with warm water. It works on pretty much any kind of decking including composite & vinyl. It can be purchased at many hardware stores. The way I usually do this is to mix the cleaner as recommended on the package, brush it onto the entire deck floor, and then power wash it off. That allows the cleaner to sit on the deck for a bit and loosen up any stubborn stains. You don’t need a pressure washer for this, you can wash the deck off with a hose if you want, though a pressure washer will do a better job.
If you have a vinyl deck and you need a real heavy duty clean, go on amazon.com and get some Chomp Pro gutter cleaner. It will come in spray bottles, I usually will spray about 3 or 4 boards at a time, then brush them first across the grain, and then with the grain. Again, do the entire deck that way, then power wash it. You can also use this method without a pressure washer if you wish.
If your vinyl deck is getting a white-ish haze on the surface, you will need a special product for this. This is a reaction in the vinyl caused by exposure to UV rays, and no amount of power washing and scrubbing will fix this. We recommend using Deck Max E2 product for this. It can only be purchased on their website. They will send instructions and supplies along with your order.
If you are looking for advice on spot cleaning a specific type of stain, we have that covered on our Deck Maintenance & Care page.
By Ray Ebersol