Cleaning composite decks

We’ve had our composite deck for a little less than a year, and I’ve not done a lot to clean it. I’ve washed it with a mop and hosed it down a few times, but it has some “ground in” dirt that I’d like something more effective for. Of course, cleaning composite materials is different than cleaning simple wood, and I want to try to do it “right”, so I started doing some research.

One thing I learned is that some composite decks, noticeably the Trex brand, are not so good when it comes to mold issues. Fortunately, our deck isn’t Trex, it is TimberTech. But from the discussion regarding Trex, I picked up some helpful information about what *not* to do:

Chlorine Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite (active ingredient in Chlorine Bleach) based deck cleaners that the uneducated recommend may appear to quickly remove mildew (white in color) and mold (black and other colors) fungus from Trex and other Composite Decking. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) DO NOT RECOMMEND Chlorine Bleach for Mold (Mildew is a species of Mold) remediation on porous surfaces such as Trex and other composite decking.

The conclusion: bleach or anything bleach derived is right out: that doesn’t surprise me, but it is good to know. I had already been looking at a cleaning product specifically for composite decks called “Corte-Clean”, and it was also recommended in the Trex discussions (plus a few others), so I decided to focus my efforts there. Interestingly, when I followed up by checking on TimberTech’s website, I found that they recommend Corte-Clean as well.

And now the fun starts. Apparently no one in Canada sells Corte-Clean- in fact, neither Rona nor Home Depot have *any* of the recommended products for composite deck cleaning. The nearest retail store selling Corte-Clean is in Bellingham, Washington, so I may as well order it by mail. And of course the Corte-Clean website doesn’t know how to ship to Canada. Ah well, I didn’t really want to clean my deck anyway…

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