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TEAK DECK CLEANER: 2-PART CLEANERS & BRIGHTENERS, OR IS THERE SOMETHING BETTER?

Case Studies
DATE: 03 / 04 / 2020 AUTHOR: Matt

We all need a product that does the job effectively and efficiently, is safe to use on teak decks, safe for the surrounding areas, and safe for the crew!

Collectively our team team have spent many years at sea, all across the globe, big boats, small boats, fast boats, and slow boats – generally we’ve all been using the same system for cleaning and maintaining our decks; Biocide, 2-part cleaner & brightener, followed by a sealer or oil if required. We’ve tried to go easy on the 2-part applications knowing this type of product really isn’t good for the wood and the surrounding surfaces (let alone the deck crew!), but when the owners of these yachts expect their decks to look impeccable each and every time they step onboard options are limited! …until now!

Only within the last 12 months did we discover something different, a combined teak deck cleaner and brightener that is not only super effective, but also totally non-hazardous and bio-degradable! We’ve been trialing this product ourselves and we’ve been extremely impressed with it.

Typical 2-part cleaners and brighteners are made up of (you guessed it..) 2 parts; Part 1 is usually Sodium Hydroxide based, and Part 2 has a combination of Hydrochloric Acid, Alcohol, and Glycol. These chemicals are not ideal for use onboard and their certainly not safe to use without strict application processes and high spec PPE!

Part 1, Sodium Hydroxide – Very high Ph – 12.5. Teak Cleaner and Brightener

Part 2, Hydrochloric Acid, Alcohols, and Glycol – Very low Ph – 1. Teak Cleaner and Brightener

Extremely corrosive, very dangerous for the user causing serious issues if inhaled, contact with skin, eyes, or ingested. Damaging to the teak, damaging to the caulking. Harmful to aquatic life, and harmful to the environment. Requires high level of personal protection equipment. Heavily restricted disposal.

  • Inhalation – May be corrosive to the respiratory tract.
  • Skin Contact – Severe skin burns. Redness. Pain. Serious skin burns and blisters.
  • Eye Contact – Permanent damage to the cornea, iris, and/or conjunctiva.
  • Ingestion – May cause burns or irritation of the linings of the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.

By using these harsh chemicals on the wood the rate of deterioration is much faster, constantly stripping the natural oils from the teak, the one characteristic that gives this wood its inherent ability to survive in the marine environment, leaves it more exposed to damage from the elements. Ruining caulking, damaging the fibrous material of the wood, eating away at the pulp and leaving the ‘washboard’ effect. Unless your teak decks are in a truly horrendous state, harsh acid and alkali chemicals (such as these) are just over kill.

None of the above sounds very inviting, we all know of crew members with horrendous feet from exposure to 2 part teak deck cleaner so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but needs must so we’ve all continued to use these products for many years despite the known issues. With this in mind you can imagine how happy we were to find another solution, more so when we tried it out and it actually worked!!

This new single part, combined cleaner and brightener is non-hazardous, bio-degradable, safe for the user, safe for the teak, safe for the surrounding area (paint/gel coat), its environmentally friendly and can be discharged overboard without impacting the aquatic life. And it WORKS!

The application process is quicker, easier, and cheaper being a single part, half the time and effort, and half the consumables. This is one of those products you need to put down and leave to work for 15-20 minutes, the cleaning action of the chemicals is what removes the filth and grime, not the heavy scrubbing with abrasive pads (not great for the teak either as we all know!).

Single Part – Teak Deck Cleaner and Brightener Teak Cleaner and Brightener

Bio-degradable, non-hazardous, environmentally friendly, non-harmful to aquatic life, minimal PPE required for handling or use with no serious effects from coming in direct contact, can be disposed of with ease.

  • Inhalation – No observed effect.
  • Skin Contact – No observed effect, clean with soap and water
  • Eye Contact – No observed effect, wash thoroughly with fresh, clean water for 15 minutes.
  • Ingestion – If the quantity is small (1 mouthful) rinse mouth with water and consult a doctor.

This product is a powerful cleaner and brightener, it will remove ground in and surface contaminants whilst restoring the bright, vibrant look of the woods natural colour – without bleaching. This single part cleaner and brightener will not damage the wood’s fibers, nor will it effect the deck caulking. Its safe to use and suitable for all types of wood, not only teak!

Part 1
Cleaner
Part 2
Brightener
Cleaner & Brightener
CorrosiveYesYesNo
Ph LevelVery High – 12.5
Strong Alkali
Very Low – 1
Strong Acid
4
InhalationCorrosive to respiratory tractCorrosive to respiratory tractNo observed effect
Skin ContactCauses severe skin burns. Redness. Pain. Serious skin burns and blistersCauses severe skin burns. Redness. Pain. Serious skin burns and blistersNo observed effect
Eye ContactCauses Serious eye damage. Causes permanent damage to the cornea, iris, and/or conjunctivaCauses Serious eye damage. Causes permanent damage to the cornea, iris, and/or conjunctivaNo observed effect, wash thoroughly with fresh, clean water for 15 minutes
IngestionMay cause burns or irritation of the linings of the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.May cause burns or irritation of the linings of the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.If the quantity is small (1 mouthful) rinse mouth with water and consult a doctor
PPE RequiredGloves, protective clothing, protective goggles, face shield, respiratory protection in poorly ventilated areasGloves, protective clothing, protective goggles, face shield, respiratory protection in poorly ventilated areasPVC or Latex gloves suitable clothing, any eye protector to protect against liquid splashes, disposable dust half-mask
Damage to TeakYes, destroys fibers of the wood, leaving ‘washboard’ effect on surface off teakYes, destroys fibers of the wood, leaving ‘washboard’ effect on surface off teakNo
Damage to CaulkingCan make caulking and sealers become stickyCan make caulking and sealers become stickyNo
Damage to surrounding surfaceHighly corrosiveHighly corrosiveSafe, just don’t leave it standing for long, rinse with fresh water
Can be used individuallyNo, must be used in equal amounts to part 2 to try and balance out the Ph levelNo, must be used in equal amounts to part 1 to try and balance out the Ph levelYes
Air transportableNoNoYes
Bio-degradableNoNoYes
Non-hazardousNoNoYes
Environmentally friendlyNoNoYes
Harmful for aquatic lifeYesYesNo
Restricted disposalYesYesNo

As you can see from the table above the benefits of the combined cleaner and brightener are really very interesting and given the choice between the two options the combined cleaner and brightener is the clear winner. You’ll have a brilliant product that is great at doing its intended job while protecting the substrate, use and disposal in an environmentally friendly fashion, easy and safe to use and store.

The combined teak deck cleaner and brightener makes up the second stage of our “Ultimate Deck Prep System” You can find further details of this here: Ultimate Deck Prep System!

You can view our recommended teak deck cleaner solutions by clicking here.

*Never use products which were not designed for marine teak decks with caulking. Never use clothes washing liquids or powders, bleach and mould cleaners, and other non-marine teak deck cleaners.

Neptune's Armoury Deck Prep System

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