Best Composite Deck Cleaners

A deck can be one of the most delightful parts of any home. It can be anything from a work area to a recreational area, and it offers a way to enjoy the fresh air at your leisure. Of course, decks come with a little bit of maintenance. If they are not periodically washed, they will often have a tendency to grow mold and/or mildew.That’s when you need a good deck washing solution to make it gleam like new again. Let’s continue with this list of my picks for the top five best composite deck cleaners.

Deck Cleaning
Deck Cleaning. Photo: 123rf.com

Best Composite Deck Cleaners in March, 2024

Stain removerVolume
1Olympic Deck Cleaner
Editor's Choice
1 gal Check Price
2Mold Armor Deck Wash 1 gal Check Price
3SIMPLE GREEN Washer Cleaner1 gal Check Price
4Briggs & Stratton Cleaner1 gal Check Price
5Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner2 lbs Check Price

Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner – Strong but Gentle Cleaner

Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner
Photo: Amazon

This product is a deck cleaning solution that many people have found to be excellent. Like all of the products on my list, it is meant to be sprayed in place and left for 5-10 minutes. After that, you just take the garden hose and rinse it away. Surprisingly, you don’t have to scrub or scrape for this stuff to do its job. That being said, you might want to do a little scrubbing and scraping just to make sure that you get your money’s worth.

This stuff is labeled as being suitable for both natural wood and composites. Since composites are the focus of this article, that is a good thing indeed. This cleaner does a good job of killing mold and algae, but most users report that it did not kill plants or grass when spilled on the ground. If it doesn’t pose a danger to plants, it probably isn’t dangerous to most animals, either.

Contains Bleach

A lot of reviewers remarked on the bleach-like smell of this cleaner. Because of this, we can see that it must contain bleach. Because this stuff isn’t dangerous to most plants and animals, we can safely assume that it is not pure bleach. There couldn’t be too much of it, but bleach is definitely one of the active ingredients. Thus, there must be some degree of toxicity here.

Some users have also reported that this product will have a bleaching effect on the wood of their decks if left too long. When using this cleaner, you definitely have to be careful not to leave it in place for longer than the recommended time.

Pros
  • Works with natural wood and composites
  • Poses no danger to nearby plants and animals
  • Kills algae with no problem
  • Very good reviews overall
Cons
  • Some claim it doesn’t clean deeply enough
  • Can have a bleaching effect

Mold Armor Deck and Fence Wash – The Bargain Bottle

Mold Armor Deck and Fence Wash
Photo: Amazon

This one is amazingly cheap when you consider that it offers the same amount of cleaner as the others. Like our first option, this seems to be a bleach-based formula, but it performs differently. This one seems less likely to overbleach and more likely to under clean, although that might be the best option overall. If you want to be extra careful about the risk of damaging your wood, it might be good to choose a gentler option like this one.

Apart from whitening, this cleaner is meant to restore the original look of fresh wood, and most people seem to agree that it does that. While it may not perfectly restore the look and feel of freshly-cut wood, it will come so close that very few will ever tell the difference. Several reviewers have attested to its effectiveness on composite decks.

I like the fact that the ingredients are clearly declared (though not on the front label, for some odd reason). This makes it a lot easier to know what you are doing and what risks you might be taking. When it comes to chemicals, good labeling is vital, and a lot of manufacturers fail to disclose the contents of their products. Their desire to prevent product misuse has led to a situation where most people don’t even know what they’re using anymore!

Some Issues

Most reviews seem to agree that this product isn’t very strong. While this can be a good thing for jobs that require a gentle touch, it is normally not a good thing. When you use a product like this, you want something that is powerful enough to do the job, and this isn’t that powerful at all.

We should clarify that this product is not weak. It should do a good job of removing most stains and discoloration. However, a lot of users have said that multiple treatments were required in order to get rid of the worst stains. I think they could have mitigated the need for that second treatment by using a little bit of elbow grease, but hey, what do I know?

One final thing that I should mention about this product is the fact that it dries very quickly. This can make large jobs a little bit problematic, as the cleaner will dry before you can rinse the entire surface. To prevent this problem, I recommend that you use this cleaner in small areas. Instead of doing the whole deck at once, divide it into four quadrants and do each of those separately.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Meant to restore the look of fresh wood
  • known to work on composite decks
  • Ingredients are clearly declared
Cons
  • Not all that strong
  • Dries too quickly

SIMPLE GREEN Oxy Solve Deck and Fence Pressure Washer Cleaner – The Peroxide Cleaner

SIMPLE GREEN Oxy Solve Deck and Fence Pressure Washer Cleaner
Photo: Amazon

This is a concentrated deck and fence cleaner that is meant to provide a lot of value in a single bottle. From this one gallon of concentrated cleaner, we are told that we can get 21 gallons of deck cleaner. If true, that would make it the best value on this list. However, we should take a closer look before we give it the crown.

The most unique thing about this product is its use of hydrogen peroxide as a surface cleaning agent. While most of these cleaners make use of bleach as their primary ingredient, this one must be different. As you might know, you are never supposed to mix hydrogen peroxide with bleach, as dangerous fumes are likely to result from such a mixture. Because of this, I can assume that this product contains little to no bleach.

That gentler formulation might be the reason that this product has a stamp of approval from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Peroxide is definitely less harmful to the environment than bleach, although that isn’t saying a whole lot.

Concentration

In this case, I see only one problem. However, it seems to be a large and consistent one. Overall, the majority of reviews for this product were positive. However, all of the negative reviews said the same thing: That this product was too weak to remove stains, dirt, grime, and mold from their decks and fences. A lot of people said that it was no better than water.

I think this can be explained quite easily. On the bottle, it says that this concentrate will make up to 21 gallons, but that is probably an overestimation. In order to make their product more appealing, they overestimated the yield a little bit, causing the product to be less effective. They might also have had to give those numbers for EPA approval.

Pros
  • Extremely good value
  • Uses peroxide for extra cleaning
  • Approved by the EPA
  • Great for use in pressure washers
Cons
  • Some claim that it’s weak

Briggs & Stratton Wood Surface Cleaner Concentrate – The Yellow Bomb

Briggs & Stratton Wood Surface Cleaner Concentrate
Photo: Amazon

Briggs and Stratton is a pretty trusted name when it comes to outdoor products in general, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found this product. It’s a concentrated product that is meant to be watered down. In fact, it isn’t really safe to use this stuff in its pure and concentrated form. To do so would be to risk damaging your deck, harming your health, and harming the local environment.

By all accounts, this is a powerful cleaner. Most reviews remarked on its ability to blast away everything in its path. I found virtually no complaints about this aspect of the product. Unlike some others, this product leaves the customer to dilute the product as they see fit, and most of them don’t seem to be diluting it very much. Still, that’s the price you pay for a highly effective solution.

This solution surprisingly contains no bleach at all. I couldn’t seem to find out what its active ingredients were, but it’s a good thing to see that it doesn’t contain bleach. Bleach is not really preferable here because it is so cheap and readily available. If you are going to offer a cleaning product that is basically just watered-down bleach, people might as well just buy some bleach and mix it with water.

Pressure Washer Needed

As you may have noticed (if you looked at the advertising), this product is meant to be used from a pressure washer. Its well-documented effectiveness would probably be dulled if you used it without a pressure washer. It would certainly be better than nothing but would be unlikely to get the same level of cleaning power that it could otherwise have.

I also can’t help but worry about the possibility of people using this stuff in an unmixed form. It’s not a good idea, but the labeling and advertising don’t do a good enough job of informing people here. Or maybe people just don’t care enough to listen.

Pros
  • Super-concentrated
  • Respected manufacturer
  • Lots of cleaning power
  • Contains no bleach
Cons
  • Not so good without a pressure washer
  • Can be dangerous if not mixed

Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner – The Economy Composite Cleaner

Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner
Photo: Amazon

This one is a little different from the others. First of all, it’s sold in a bag rather than a bottle or bucket. It’s a concentrated cleaner, but it’s not quite as concentrated as some of the others. This one bag (2 pounds) is supposed to make five gallons of cleaning solution. Unlike one of our other options, this one doesn’t seem to be watered down.

It is labeled as being 100% safe for the environment. That’s a great thing because these cleaners often do tend to end up in the soil. That’s probably why many companies have moved away from the old bleach-based products. On an unrelated note, I also know that this product is suitable for composite decks, as the advertising mentions it specifically.

Bag Container

I only see two small problems with this product, making it (probably) the least problematic of all our choices. For one thing, bags just aren’t as durable as buckets, bottles, or jars. It would be nice if this stuff came in a more durable container, but this is a minor complaint. After all, one can always pour the contents of the bag into a larger, more durable container.

The other problem is the fact that this cleaner is a little bit hard to mix. Some customers say that the crystals are very hard to dissolve, and require a ridiculous amount of stirring before they finally mix.

Pros
  • Very good value
  • Can be used to prep wood for painting, varnishing, or staining
  • Considered “100% eco-safe”
  • Perfect for composite decks
Cons
  • Comes in a bag
  • A little hard to mix

Conclusion

When it’s all said and done, I hope that you will be able to enjoy a nice, beautiful, freshly-cleaned deck. Any of these products should be good enough to do the job, but I hope that my work has given you the knowledge to choose the best one for your specific needs. If so, feel free to check out some of my other work. Either way, thank you for reading all the way to the end.

William Stewart

The proud owner and lead writer of WoodImprove.com. Started writing in 2018 and sharing his love and passion for wood treatments and crafts.

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Roseanne McCampbell
Roseanne McCampbell
2 years ago

Thank you for this comprehensive study on deck cleaners. I found your critiques very helpful since I absolutely do not want to damage my deck! I’m leaning in the direction of the last option of “Restore a Deck” since I do have a composite deck, do not want to take a chance on a cleaner that contains bleach.

Thank you again.

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