What is the best method for cleaning teak?
Like any wood product, cleaning teak has special requirements. If left alone, teak will turn a silvery tone like you may see on park benches, although many of these benches around the world are 80-plus years old.
There are many products on the market today for “brightening” and “cleaning” teak. Most of these products are harmful to the wood, quite harmful to the environment and not too terribly healthy for the user who must handle and breathe these products.
Teak after time will turn dark, mainly from all the dirt that has been ground into it. Cleaning teak tables and marine teak wood products is quite easy however. For a light cleaning of teak, simply wash it with lots of water and a soft scrub brush. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt it will release and how it immediately brightens. Stainless steel wool works quite well also. For a more stubborn job, use a light solution of soap and water.
If your boat is in the water, an environmentally friendly soap is recommended to clean marine teak. For a really tough job, a solution of bleach and water will work well mixed at a 50/50 blend. Should marine teak have been neglected for some time, sanding may be required, but remember this will reduce its natural non-skid properties and reduce its lifespan.
After teak has been cleaned, teak oil can then be applied. This gives teak tables and marine teak wood products a lovely look and also boosts their natural self-oiling properties, allowing them to ward off mold, mildew and many germs. Teak oil can be applied with a rag or most any type of brush. Wipe it with a dry rag upon completion.
Remember always that teak likes the sun. If you’d like it to blend or lighten, give it some fresh air and sun light. Some light marine teak maintenance will help it last a long time.