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How to Clean Trex Decking Properly

Reviewed by Professional Cleaner Jennifer L. Betts
decks

Learning how to clean Trex decking can seem daunting at first. Since this product is still relatively new to the variety of outdoor deck options, care and upkeep is an unfamiliar process to most. However, rest assured that keeping your Trex deck looking like new is not really difficult at all, no matter what comes your way.

What Is a Trex Deck?

Trex is a best-selling brand of composite decking and fencing that is manufactured out of a combination of wood and plastic particles. The decks are made from recycled materials like sawdust and plastic bags, so it is environmentally friendly as well as beautiful. The plastic components help to prevent rot from moisture damage, while the wood guards the deck against the harmful rays of the sun.

Best Ways to Clean a Trex Deck

There are many ways to maintain the look of your Trex deck. Trex offers tons of guidelines on the "Care and Cleaning" section of their website about the best ways to clean your Trex product.

  • Trex recommends cleaning older products like Trex Accents, Trex Origins, Trex Contours, Trex Profiles, or Trex Brasilia on a semiannual basis with a composite deck cleaner. Follow the directions on the cleaner.
  • One annual spring and one annual fall cleaning are recommended.
  • High performance Trex products like Trex Transcend, Trex Enhance, or Trex Select should be cleaned with soap and water or a gentle pressure washer.
  • If you use a pressure washer, it must have a psi lower than 3100 and you should use a fan attachment to keep the warranty intact.

How to Clean Dirt and General Soiling

Every deck experiences general dirt and grime that comes simply by being an outdoor feature. To clean your deck with soap and warm water:

  1. Remove loose debris by sweeping the deck with a broom.
  2. Spray the deck with a powerful hose. This will remove dirt on the surface of the deck.
  3. You can then use soapy, warm water and a stiff brush to clean grime and debris out of the embossing. You can use any soap, but dish soap with grease-removing properties is ideal.
  4. Use the hose to rinse the soap and grime off the decking.
  5. Allow the deck to air dry before walking on it again unless you have hard water. If you have hard water, dry the deck with a clean cloth to avoid hard water spots.

Homemade Trex Deck Cleaner

You can make a simple homemade deck cleaner by combining powdered oxygen bleach, like OxiClean, with liquid dish soap and water. This cleaner is mild and environmentally friendlier than chlorine bleach cleaners.

  1. Add two cups of the oxygen bleach powder to two gallons of warm water.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of dish soap to the bleach water and mix thoroughly.
  3. Use the deck cleaning mixture as your soapy, warm water for general dirt and soil cleaning.

How to Remove Snow

If you live in a part of the country that experiences cold winters, ice and snow will be a concern with your deck. Fortunately, all you need is a plastic shovel and calcium chloride to get your deck back to new. Cleaning a Trex deck remains simple, even in freezing temperatures.

  1. Use the shovel to lift off any snow.
  2. Use a car snow brush to lift snow off railings or in between balusters.
  3. Sprinkle calcium chloride (or rock salt) around the deck to melt remaining snow, slush, and ice off of the surface.
  4. As soon as you are free from the risk of freezing temperatures, rinse the calcium chloride off the deck.

Cleaning Stains From Trex Decking

If soap and water or a light pressure washer doesn't get the job done, you'll need to target the specific stains. The method you choose should depend upon what sort of damage the deck has incurred.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew on a Trex Deck

During the springtime, when pollen is an issue, mildew and mold can collect on Trex's biofilm. This is why it's important to regularly clean your deck when the weather begins to warm and flowers are blooming. Trex offers a Mold Technical Bulletin on their website that details how you can remove mold and mildew.

  1. Sweep away loose debris with a broom.
  2. Purchase a commercial deck wash that includes sodium hypochlorite, or bleach. Trex recommends Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner or Expert Chemical Composite Deck Cleaner & Enhancer.
    1. Using a deck wash with bleach can lighten the color of your deck. It might also take several washes to completely remove the mold.
    2. If you don't want to use a bleach cleaner, you can use UltraMean, but it will require more scrubbing.
  3. Do not wet the deck. This deck wash should be applied to a dry deck, and you should then follow the manufacturer's directions.

How to Remove Food and Grease From a Trex Deck

If food is spilled onto the Trex deck, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. If you have a stain warranty with your deck, it will become invalid if the food or grease is not removed within seven days.

  1. Rinse the stain as soon as possible with hot water.
  2. If the stain remains, use Pour-N-Restore for older Trex products by following the directions on the packaging.
  3. For newer Trex products, use warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush to remove the stain.

How to Clean Shoe Scuffs Off a Trex Deck

If your deck becomes scuffed or suffers an abrasion from shoes, chairs, or other harsh encounters, give your deck 12 to 16 weeks for natural weathering to absorb the damage. You can also use deck brightener to hasten this process. This also works with water spots and leaf staining.

Trex Decking Cleaning Don'ts

Each Trex product may have different cleaning dos and don'ts, so be sure to read any directions that come with your product.

  • Your Trex deck should never be sanded. This will alter the appearance of the deck's surface and will invalidate your warranty.
  • Pressure washers are not recommended for early generation Trex products. This can also void your warranty and cause irreversible damage to your deck.
  • If you use a pressure washer on your high-performance Trex product, try to keep it under 1500 PSI and more than 12 inches away from the deck surface.
  • When you need to remove colored chalk lines, you should only use Irwin StraitLine Dust-Off Marking Chalk.
  • Never use a metal shovel to remove snow from Trex decking.
  • Do not use acetone or other solvents Trex Transcend or Trex Select railings.
  • If you choose to remove a piece of your deck, you cannot burn or dispose of it in your traditional garbage can. Instead, contact a Trex distributor to find out how to properly renovate and/or dispose of your Trex deck when you're ready for a change.

Transforming Your Trex

If you regularly clean your Trex deck according to the manufacturer guidelines, it should help you avoid major staining or the buildup of tough dirt spots. Treat your Trex with care, just like you would any indoor living space, and you'll be able to enjoy your outdoor living space just as much.

How to Clean Trex Decking Properly