The most important thing about keeping your teak decks looking new is to abide by the Golden Rule of Teak—do not remove even a smidgen of wood fiber via the cleaning process.
There are numerous products on the market that purport to address the process, and a few others that purport to both abide by the Golden Rule and address the process. But there’s only one product we know of that truly, genuinely, and completely accomplishes the latter: ECO-100 Teak Cleaning Powder from Teak Decking Systems of Sarasota, Florida. Billed as a 100-percent environmentally friendly product, it contains no acid, caustic sodas or phosphates that damage teak or anything else. And, with a little cross-grain scrubbing with a 3M Doodlebug or soft-bristle deck brush, it removes oil stains, fish blood and basic run-of-the-mill grunginess quite effectively, while generally brightening appearance.
Of course, there are a few guidelines to bear in mind when using ECO-100.
First, once you’ve mixed the product with water, apply it to a wet deck only and don’t let the solution dry in the sun prior to rinse-off. (ECO-100 is pretty powerful stuff and it needs to remain in solution to guarantee uniform coloration when all is said and done.) How do you keep the solution from drying? After brushing an area and moving on to the next, occasionally go back and spray water lightly over the first area to keep it wet.
Second, while you indeed need to bear down a bit on your Doodlebug or brush while scrubbing across the grain of your teak planks (never brush with your teak’s grain—it scours away soft fibers and will ultimately reduce the lifespan of your deck), remember to let the chemical makeup of the product do most of the work. Simply apply it (keep it wet), do some scrubbing, and then let it percolate for 10 or 20 minutes. When you rinse off with fresh water you may be amazed at how much dirt goes down the scuppers right along with it.