Lots of boats use a 2-part teak method to clean their teak which involves the use of stage 1 (a cleaner) and stage 2 (a brightener). This stuff is very effective, does the job and does bring the teak up looking like new. However, this can be a complete nightmare if you aren’t following the right methods! For example, leaving teak “juice”, and the 2 parts on the inboard, outboard and stainless can put you back a day in detailing quite quickly! You need to make sure you have a method down where you have someone constantly rinsing and another washing behind you. If you are a 1 or 2 man team then do small areas at a time. Don’t scrub a huge area in one go. With washing, this can be a metre up on the inboard and all the stainless or a complete wash down to kill 2 birds with one stone.
I remember being pulled back out on deck one day after we had finished work to lean over the capping rail and see huge dirty streaks of “teak juice” down the side of our nice clean blue hull. Safe to say we spent the next day over the side in the baking sun trying to get said stains off!
There are certain MARPOL regulations that’s prohibits washing chemical teak cleaners over the side and into the Ocean so be wary of this. This is where the ECO teak cleaner can come into place and replace the 2-part system. It is biodegradable and safe to deposit into the sea without harming the wildlife and eco system. Not quite as effective as 2 part and requires a bit more pressure and effort when using by hand but it does achieve those results. I have also seen people use washing powder or dish washer liquid before - but I do not recommend trying this!
The obvious deckhands choice of weapon is of course K2R however a lot of boats actually ban this as they feel it leaves white marks and residue which can still be seen. However, using it properly can be really effective. A whole bottle of red wine over teak however is a different story. I’d suggest getting the teak scrubber and Eco teak out for that.
With the K2R: Apply, leave for 15 minutes or so, using the can cap which acts as a brush remove the residue, use a scotch pad with warm vinegar water and giv
e a good scrub, then dry using a chamois mop. If the mark is still there once dry, repeat the process again.
When I say dent, I mean a fairly small dent in the teak where the fibres have not been split. Not a huge hole or crater from where someone has dropped a pole from the mast onto the bridge deck aft.
You can usually save a piece of teak with a small dent if you act pretty fast. First you will need to find yourself a towel, preferably not a guest one. Soak the towel in a bucket of warm water and ring out the excess. Place the towel over the dent and using a hot iron place onto the towel. Make sure to keep moving the iron or you risk burning a mark onto the teak. This method can be a bit hit or miss but has saved me on a couple of occasions.
If you have a really stubborn mark that hasn’t been able to be removed with the previous methods, the last resort is usually sanding the deck. This is far from ideal especially if you are in the middle of a trip so might be worth saving for a down time or yard period. Sanding one part of the teak can also mean a difference in colour which is noticeable to the eye. Make sure to consult your Bosun/Chief before taking a sander to the teak. It may be on the list to do when you next visit the yard anyway so it could potentially wait.
If you do have a teak emergency, you can always head over to various Yachting facebook pages - Post a photo of your issue in the group and the Yachties may be able to help with tips and advice.
Feel free to add any comments or suggestions for your favourite ways to maintain teak. I’d love to hear them!
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