Cleaning dark teak bulkheads - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 07-10-2009
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Cleaning dark teak bulkheads

My hunter 37 has very dark interior wood. All bulkheads and cabinets are oiled and have turned dark after many years of oiling. I am replacing the sole and the new wood is sooo much lighter in color. I am going to varnish the interior with satin finish varnish but would like to clean it first. What to do?? Sanding is my 1st choice but I am afraid there is not much wood in that teak veneer. Bleaching with a clorox solution??/ Oxalic acid or deck cleaner?? I expect some grain raise but can handle it.
I used to use a clorox product called Tackle on my outside teak and did a great job. I think it is marketed as Clorox Clean up now. It does the same thing and cleans decks and wood very well.
How would you handle this job???
Your input is appreciated
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Old 07-11-2009
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You definitely need to get the old oil off before varnishing. I would try either the teak cleaners sold by WM and others or a product called "MEX" sold in hardware stores. Our club had very good luck using MEX to clean the wood paneling in our clubhouse after a kitchen fire. A dilute solutions of Oxalic acid might work also.
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Old 07-19-2009
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I am posting my results in hopes to help someone else clean their boat. Due to the price of boat cleaning supplies, I expected to spend serious monies cleaning 30 years of teak oil from all the interior of my project boat however I decided to try another alternative first.

Well here is the scoop. I used DECK CLEANER by FLOOD, desined to clean outdoor decks. In a wallpaper pan (narrow and long plastic container designed to hold water where you dip wallpaper rolls). I dipped all the loose pieces and let stand for half hour. All the teak turned black. However, half an hour later, I scubbed lightly, rinsed and let dry. To my surprise, when I checked the next day, all the oils and darkness was gone. The teak is back to it's original color. Not bad. And only $14.00 for 1 gallon at LOWES. I did all the bulheads with a sponge and rinsed with plenty of water. It looks brand new.

Two days later, I decided to use DECK BRIGHTENER by FLOOD. 1 gallon makes 5 gallons of brightener. Now this liquid gave the teak a more pleasant color. I did not think I needed it, however after dipping several trim pieces in the brightener and letting them dry. There was a marked difference between the one with 2 coats versus the one with one coat. So, every thing got a second dunking. Now it looks like fresh, just sanded teak.
,
30 years of oil and grunge gone.

WARNING: wear good gloves and protective eyeware. In my rush to try it, I lost several layers of skin on my hands. Decided to wash and try again later with gloves.

Good Cleaning.
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