Teak Decking System: How to Clean Teak


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TeakDecking Systems
7061 15th Street East
Sarasota, Florida 34243
Phone: 941-756-0600
Fax: 941-756-0406

How to Clean Teak
A major portion of TeakDecking Systems business is replacing existing teak decks that have been worn out through improper maintenance. Amazingly, many of these decks were destroyed not through neglect, but because their owners cleaned them too often and too thoroughly.

Overuse, or improper use, of two part caustic cleaners shortens the life of teak decks by actually eating away the teak. These cleaners should only be used when everything else has been tried. If they must be used, follow their instructions carefully. If you need to use such cleaners, protect your skin (hands, arms, bare feet, legs and eyes). The caustic cleaner will also attack surrounding paint. The paint can be somewhat protected by wetting down the surfaces before starting and continuing to flush them during the cleaning process. Remember to flush topsides below scuppers and drains to prevent damage to the paint as the deck drains down the side of the hull. After using a two part cleaner, be sure to rinse the deck thoroughly. Any remaining cleaner will continue to “eat” the deck and surrounding surfaces.

Clearly, we do no recommend two part cleaners except, perhaps, as a last resort. TeakDecking Systems has developed two biodegradable cleaners that are designed to be thorough, yet gentle. The first, TCP 500, is a powdered cleaner for weekly to bi-weekly cleanings. The second, TCL 500, is a liquid designed for deeper cleaning that might be necessary on a monthly basis. These cleaners can be obtaine3d from one of our distributor, or directly from TeakDecking Systems. If you do not have TCP 500 or TCL 500 on hand, a solution of water and mild household cleaner or sudsy ammonia will work reasonably well. DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH in an attempt to bleach the decks. Chlorine will attack most caulking products, turning them to goo.

The wood should be scrubbed across the grain with a 3M scrubbing pad or a polypropylene bristle brush. Scrubbing with the grain tears the soft grain out of the planks, leaving the surface rough. A rough, weathered deck exposes more of the wood to environmental deterioration. On larger areas, us a rotary cleaning machines with dispenser tanks and polypropylene bristle brushes is appropriate.

Even with care, in time the surface of the wood will become uneven. When this happens, the decks should be lightly sanded with a sanding machine to smooth the surface. This will actually increase the life of the deck by exposing less wood to the elements and preventing the grain from trapping dirt or air carried corrosives.

As the deck is drying after having been cleaned and flushed, notice any areas that remain we after the rest of the deck has dried. Wetness may indicate a spot where the caulking in a seam has broken away from the teak, or a bung that has gone bad. If so, these failures should be repaired immediately to prevent water from getting under the deck. Once water is under the teak, a number of things can happen, and none of them area good. If you can’t make an immediate repair, duct tape the opening to seal it temporarily.

Note: This information in this document is supplied by the Vendor. Carver Yacht Group provides this document for your convenience only and claims no responsibility for content