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post #1 of 18 Old 04-19-2012 Thread Starter
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Cleaning Teak

Does anyone have a good solvent or other cleaner for getting very old oil out of interior teak?

The teak oil in my boat has to be as old as the boat - 42 years. It is blackened & stained and I want to get it out of the wood before I sand in preparation for varnish.

I've tried a number of things and, so far, the only thing that's worked is ZEP purple cleaner and degreaser. It works, sort of, but it is not recommended for wood and I really end up getting the wood wet before it gets all the oil out.

For that reason I don't want to use it on the teak ply - bulkheads etc.

Any good suggestions out there?

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-20-2012
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Cleaning Teak

What about using a teak cleaner such as this 1 step cleaner by Interlux? http://a248.e.akamai.net/f/248/21700/1d/content.westmarine.com/images/catalog/full/6862494.jpg. I would apply it according to directions and then rinse off with a sponge and clean water bucket. If that doesn't work, try a 2 step cleaner but that will be more damaging to gel oat and/or painted surfaces.

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Re: Cleaning Teak

We use Teakdecking Systems one part cleaner. But I suspect you will need to use a two part, which will actually dissolve some of your teak. Be careful with it. They do work, but I would say you only get one or two shots at it per deck lifetime. Sanding is the same, can't do it often.

Two part cleaner, then sand and you will have a nice clean deck, albeit marginally thinner. It's okay if it has never been done before.

One tip, if you caulking is standing up proud above the teak, it will be impossible to clean well. It would have to be trimmed down first.


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post #4 of 18 Old 04-20-2012
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Re: Cleaning Teak

Did you try TSP? The black is probably from water not the oil and I don't think you want (or need) to get the oil out before varnish. Teak has natural oils in it that the varnish will seal in. There is lots of information on here and I may be recalling some of it wrong. I would do a search on here for it.
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Re: Cleaning Teak

I read too quickly and missed that this was interior. The black must be mold?


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post #6 of 18 Old 04-20-2012
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Re: Cleaning Teak

If the 'black' is because someone spilled used motor oil and it soaked into the wood cells, then this is due to microscopic carbon particles that have migrated into the teak cellulose fibers, there is no way to remove them other than to either sand away or replace the teak.

If this is a water stain that has turned black due to mildew/fungus penetration then there are two methods:
1. soaking with TSP or other strong caustic which dissolves the fungal cells but also dissolves some of the wood cells which will also change the 'color/hue' of the wood; followed up by bleaching (oxalic acid and/or chlorine bleach) and then 'tinting' the wood with successive 'washes' of dilute 'stain' to slowly 'work back' to the correct color.
2. replacing the wood with a close match of grain ... depends if 'wild' teak or 'plantation' teak, then 'tinting' to its best color match. Or deep sanding.
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Re: Cleaning Teak

Just to clarify, the "black" is not a stain - engine oil or anything, nor is it mould, it is simply old, filthy teak oil with decades of grime, handprints etc. added in. Where I have cleaned it, it came out nice, only needing sanding with 180 grit to bring the natural colour back to the wood.

I was just hoping for something that would "wipe" the old oil off - the ZEP requires a lot of work, repetition and scrubbing.

I completely forgot about TSP - I'll try that.

Thanks.

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Re: Cleaning Teak

OK. Yes an oil finish will eventually 'go dark/black' with age. If you use TSP, use 'the most diluted' solution of it so that that it 'just' lifts the old oil; if too 'strong' you will extract tannins, etc. from the wood and the future bleaching & color matching will be much more difficult.
Soak time is the key for lifting the blacks with TSP, you can extend the 'soak time' by covering the TSP/wood by covering with plastic film (Saran, etc.).
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Re: Cleaning Teak

We use Teaka A & B for cleanup of our old teak interior - solid and veneer parts - and then a light sanding with some 150 or finer. Then start the varnish coats.

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post #10 of 18 Old 04-20-2012
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Re: Cleaning Teak

1 part teak cleaner = oxalic acid = "Bar Keepers Friend"
Cheaper then the marine version.

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