Even though you may have a sparkling clean boat or yacht, if you have teak decking which hasn’t been cleaned properly, it can let the whole look down. Teak cleaning isn’t too difficult to get right, however there are some basic steps you must take to get the best finish possible.
First off, it’s time to consider the material you’re working with. Although teak doesn’t rot, it can warp and begin to look dull if not properly maintained. It is however an extremely durable and resilient wood which can be returned to its best in the event that it has been left to the elements for an extended period of time.
A chemical cleaning on a teak surface should suffice to get it looking its best again, unlike other woods used on boat or yacht exteriors which require sanding and scraping. The thing is that you need to be careful with chemical cleaners, because they usually rely on acid to clean teak deeply, which can lead to bleaching on the surface of the wood as well as erosion.
The best thing to do to avoid resorting to using a chemical cleaner altogether is to never allow your teak decking to get into a state where it needs it in the first place.
The First Step
The level of discolouration to your teak will determine how much elbow grease it’s going to need to get it looking right again. Try a mild teak cleaner if the discolouration isn’t so bad – it should do the trick. Give the teak a good scrub with a semi-abrasive pad, ensuring you scrub evenly across the grain.
Once you’ve done this, wet down the area with water, clean with a detergent solution and rinse. If the wood comes out in the right shade, then it’s job done. If it’s still not looking right, then it’s time to go to a more powerful cleaner.
A one-part cleaner should be the next step you try. These normally come in powdered or liquid forms and contain one abrasive acid and one mild acid. Due to these ingredients, they have increased effectiveness over a detergent solution. Be sure to take care when handling – wear rubber gloves and eye protection due to the one-part cleaner’s acidity.
To use the one-part cleaner, simply wet down your teak deck, sprinkle or brush the cleaner onto it, scrub it down
If the above still doesn’t produce satisfactory results, the next thing to do is get hold of a two-part liquid cleaner and use that. These contain powerful caustics and acids, therefore they need to be handled with extra care. They do a great job of brightening even the dullest teak deck, however you should ensure such a cleaner doesn’t end up on your skin or damaging adjacent surfaces.
In order to avoid the latter, wash down continuously with water. It is an absolute essential to wear rubber gloves when wearing a two-part cleaner, as it is to wear eye protection.
To use, wet down your teak deck, apply the caustic part of the cleaner by scrubbing the deck lightly with a bristle brush. Once the surface is a muddy brown colour, apply the second part of the cleaner, namely the acid. Use a bristle brush for this also, however use a new or clean one. Ensure that it is spread evenly. Once the colour starts looking right, it’s time to rinse off and allow it to dry.