Maintenance Tips: Basic teak deck cleaning & care.
“Are teak decks a lot of work?” The tendency is for people to “over maintain” teak decks, scrubbing them frequently, using 2 part teak brighteners etc. that cause notable wear to the wood. Two part cleaners are also hard on the Thiokol (that’s the black stuff in the seams) causing it to lose its flexibility, crack, and pull away from the teak earlier in its life span than it normally would.
How long will my teak decking last?
Properly maintained teak decks can last up to 40+ years. Like anything, it really depends on how well you maintain your decks. I have also seen teak decks on boats that were ten to twelve years old that needed to be replaced because of extensive scrubbing and the use of harsh cleaning agents.
Preserving teak deck tips:
- Accept the natural light wood gray patina that raw teak will attain vs. the fresh cut teak look that heavy scrubbing and teak brighteners will give you.
- Primary tool for the wash down of all your wood and fiberglass surfaces – Buy the best cotton mop you can find, (buy 2 or 3 when you find them, the really good ones are hard to come by)primary tool for the wash down of all your wood and fiberglass surfaces.
- Use only single part teak cleaners/soaps on your teak. The best alternatives to these are Barkeeper’s friend or dishwasher detergents e.g. Calgon and Bon Ami (the powdered soap you can get at the grocery store) Bartenders keep & Bon Ami has fewer and far finer abrasives in it than other powdered soaps. If using dishwasher detergents dilute them thoroughly as they do have some chemicals in them, just a 1/4 -1/3 cup in a ½ bucket of water.
- Removing localized stains – use a bit of dish detergent full strength on a piece of terry cloth, rub in with your fingertips, and then rinsing will remove most small stains.
- It may be reasonable to do deeper cleaning with a SOFT nylon bristle scrub brush or a Scotch brite pad. While using them, only scrub across the grain of the teak. AVOID using the hard white bristle poly brushes.
Removing the Mildew in the grain of the teak – best approach to preserving the teak would be to use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. If you feel you must use bleach (I urge you not to) at most use a cup in a ½ bucket of water and rinse very thoroughly before the decks dry.
There are no doubt numerous other tricks/products for easily maintaining teak decks (by the way please e-mail us with them if you have one) but by following the above list you’ll spend a lot more time enjoying your boat than cleaning her and your decks will last a lot longer too!
Please feel free to email us any questions regarding your decking or other marine questions.
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