Vinegar is one of the most commonly used DIY cleaning ingredients. It’s relatively cheaper than any chemical. It’s easy to find. And what’s more, you may have some lying around in your kitchen. So you may have thought of cleaning your deck with vinegar. If you think about it, you’ll save more time and money from using vinegar than buying cleaning products. The question is, is it safe to use vinegar on composite decking? How would it affect your composite decking? And how can you clean your patio with vinegar? We have the answers to all of these questions. 

Is Vinegar Safe to Use on Composite Decking?

Despite a well-known cleaning ingredient, many still doubt whether they should use vinegar or not. The truth is, while very effective, it’s not a suitable cleaning substitute for all materials. But as for composite decking, it is generally safe to use vinegar. However, do not use undiluted vinegar on your deck. 

You also don’t want vinegar on your deck on long periods. The reason behind this is that vinegar contains acid. It’s the main reason why it can remove stains. But if you leave it out on your deck for a prolonged period, the acid can potentially remove the colour of your deck. Some people even use vinegar to turn their decks into a weathered state.  

Using vinegar is a cheap way to clean your deck. You can practically find it anywhere, and it’s safe to use. However, you may still want to research whether the material you’ve bought is compatible with vinegar. You may also want to use a commercial cleaning product once in a while since they are better suited for cleaning decks and patios, especially when you’re dealing with topical stains. 

So, why is vinegar a commonly used and effective cleaning agent? It is because of the Acetic acid that it contains. The acid can dissolve away grime and dirt. It is also effective in removing stains. Research also shows that it can kill a range of bacteria, viruses, and other household pathogens, especially when mixed with baking soda.

 However, it shouldn’t be used as an alternative to disinfectants, as there are stronger pathogens that can resist vinegar. Make sure to use the proper disinfectant when you want to disinfect a surface. 

How to Use Vinegar When Cleaning Decks?

using vinegar on decking

So vinegar is a safe and affordable substitute for deck cleaning products. But the question is; how do you clean your deck using vinegar? What are the steps to take so? Here are some general tips that you can follow to keep your patio clean with vinegar. 

  1. First, gather all the materials that you will need. You will need 1/2 cup of vinegar, either white or apple-cider, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 3-4 litres of water. Mix all of them in a bucket. 
  2. Next, pre-rinse your deck with water. You can use a garden hose to rinse it faster. Doing this can help remove any dirt and debris on the deck. It also prepares the deck by softening the fibres of your boards. Doing so will allow the solution to work better. 
  3. Then, use a soft-bristle brush and dip it on the solution. Gently scrub each of the boards. Never use metal brushes as it can easily graze your deck, leading to more problems. 
  4. After washing all the boards, rinse the deck with water. You can use a high-pressure garden hose to remove the solution on your deck. You can also use a pressure washer to rinse the boards. But make sure that you are using a wide tip, and it’s on the prescribed power setting. You may also want to check on the manufacturers first, whether power washing is recommended.
  5. Finally, check for persistent stain spots. For these, you will need to use a stronger solution to remove it. To do this, you will need to mix two parts vinegar and one part water. Apply it directly to the problematic area and sprinkle baking soda. Leave it for a few minutes for the vinegar to penetrate the stains. Then, rinse it off with water. 

As previously mentioned, vinegar as a cleaning agent is cheap and effective. However, you may want to use a professional cleaning product when it comes to topical stains.