Q: Our 4-year-old screened porch has Trex decking. We eat there often in the summer months, and the floor has become stained from food spills. We've tried various cleaners, but nothing seems to work. Do you know what might remove the stains?

— Maureen, Breezy Point, NY

A: Tom Silva replies: The best strategy, no matter what the decking material, is to wipe up a spill as soon as it happens. But when people are enjoying themselves, this doesn't always get done right away.

If you haven't already, try laundry detergent, dish soap, or a degreasing household detergent, such as Formula 409. Other types of stains, such as those left by berries and leaves, can be removed using standard deck cleaners that contain sodium hypochlorite. If cleaning solutions don't get the stains out, lightly sand the area with 80-grit paper. The color of the sanded area will be different from the surrounding boards at first, but eventually it will blend in just fine.
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