Easy Way to Clean Teak

Reader Susie Burall sent me this note with an easy way to clean green teak (I’m guessing/hoping it might also work on fiberglass that’s picked up green, too):

Our teak gets very green in the winter and we don’t like to pressure hose it or scrub it.  A good Dutch friend gave us this tip and it works really well. 

Put one part vinegar (I use white or distilled) to three parts water and simply spray on and leave.  

The next visit, just hose down and it will be free of verdigris!  You might want to eat fish and chips at the same time! 

We don’t teak oil the deck because we prefer the grey colour.  We use the same method on our teak garden furniture in the spring.

Susie also sent me this photo of their boat Kerenza (Cornish for ‘much loved’) on her journey back to the UK from Sweden where she was built. The picture was taken in the Kiel Canal. She is a 38ft Najad – the same size and type of boat that Jeanne Socrates sailed single handed round the world.

I love the gorgeous teak decks, but yes, it would be a lot of work to scrub them free of green every spring. I love the idea of just spraying as you’re ready to leave the boat one visit, and then rinsing on the next visit!


She and her David have been sailing/cruising for 25 years out of the UK — first on a 29 foot Beneteau, then a 36ft Sigma, 2 Oysters (one 43 and the other 47 ft) and now the Najad. In 1992 they sailed round Britain and did the ARC in 1999, in addition to chartering in various locations around the world.

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  • Lynne
    Posted at 23 May 2014 Reply

    Would this work on canvas?

  • Soupy Sayles
    Posted at 23 May 2014 Reply

    thank u for that info. i have tried everything else, will giv this a try now. this spring i used comet, a powdered teak cleaner, & finally a 2 part teeka cleaner. scrubbed deck across the grain on my hands & knees, (28 ft.) sure looks good, soft golden , thinking of oiling so won’t happen this fall. would be very interested in how to get green off canvas dodger?

  • Janet Helen Hargis-Roberts
    Posted at 23 May 2014 Reply

    Oh, no. Not teak. After RPL a deck. You better take care of it.

    • Susie Burall
      Posted at 30 May 2014 Reply

      Sorry for the delay but I’ve been out of WiFi contact.
      Lynne – I tried it on canvas with poor results for the effort! We have our canvas professionally cleaned. When we leave the cover up over winter we tie a piece of string round the eye of the zip and leave the zip open about 20 centimetres and attach it to a fixed object at the bottom to stop it flapping. We do this both sides to create a current of air.
      Soupy Sayles – If you teak oil the teak it still doesn’t prevent the green mould.
      Janet Helen Hargis-Roberts – I too don’t know what RPL is or your comment Oh, no.

      • Lynne
        Posted at 07 June 2014 Reply

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. We’ve also been out of internet range. I like the idea of keeping zippers partially open. Lack of circulation may be our problem. Thanks for the tip.

  • Grace May
    Posted at 23 May 2014 Reply

    Janet Helen Hargis-Roberts, what do you mean? I -m not sure what RPL is or the oh no?

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