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How to Restore Teak Wood on a Boat? Quick and Easy Guide

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to restore teak wood on a boat

Are you unhappy with the old look of your teak wood on your boat? There is an excellent chance of making it look brand new if you know how to restore teak wood on a boat.

Teak wood is an ideal material for home furniture. It is popularly used because of the durability and the outlasting performance with which it provides homeowners.

When used on boats, it gives your vessel a luxurious aesthetic on floors and cabinets. Teak wood on boats can require additional maintenance as its location can expose it to saltwater and drastic weather changes.

Restoring teak wood on a boat is easy if you have a step-by-step guide on how to keep its integrity in great shape.

What You Need to Restore Teak Wood


Restoration can take you a day or two, depending on the cleaning material that you will use. Aside from that, the condition of the teak wood also matters. If it looks severely worn out, it can take more time and more cleaning agents for restoration. Here’s a list of materials that you can prepare for teak wood restoration:

1. Cleaning gloves

These gloves will protect your hands from the chemicals of the cleaners. While some would prefer handling these cleaners by hand, it is safe to have your hands covered. A pair or two is enough to last you through this restoration process.

2. Common powdered soap

The first part of cleaning would require regular powdered soap. The usual laundry soap would work out fine. The amount will depend on how large the area your teak wood occupies.

3. Scrub

A regular home cleaning scrub will work on cleaning the teak wood on your boat. This scrub will handle the mildew and the dirt that has stuck on your floor for a long time. Preparing 3-4 scrubs will work, but it will depend on how large the teak wood’s surface area is.

4. One-part Teak Wood Cleaner

There are a lot of teak cleaners on the market. Most of them are dissolved in water, while many are also in liquid form.

These cleaners are explicitly meant for teak wood, so you don’t have to worry about the discoloration that may come out after. Most of these cleaners contain oxalic and phosphoric acid to deter the accumulated dirt on your teak wood.

5. Two-part Teak Wood Cleaner

These are more powerful cleaners and can be hard on your teak. The usage of this cleaner will depend on the condition of your teak wood. Sometimes, people can skip using the two-part teak wood cleaner if they are satisfied with the one-part teak wood cleaner’s results.

If your teak wood has not been maintained for years, you will probably need to purchase your teak wood cleaner and use it in those areas with mottling or discoloration.

6. Sander

Most professionals who have restored teak use a power sander to level off the teak after cleaning. You can also use a high-speed sander or a belt sander to balance off the teak wood.

7. Broom or Brush

Your house broom will keep the residue or dust off the teak after polishing it out. A brush is an alternative if you don’t want to use a broom for the teak wood.

8. Teak Oil or High-gloss Varnish

Oil or varnish will be the final coat on your teak wood. Before getting one, you need to consider the color and make sure that it won’t blacken the teak wood. Get the appropriate number of cans or bottles for your boat’s size.

9. Foam Brush or any recommended Varnish Applicator

Around 2-3 foam brushes may be used to apply the teak oil in your area. These brushes are known to give the best results for the teak wood to absorb the product.

Step-by-Step to Restore Teak Wood on a Boat Successfully


Step 1: Clean the Wood with Regular Powdered Soap

Teak wood on boats is usually on the floor. The first step in cleaning is to wet the teak wood. You can apply the powered soap directly and scrub it on the floor. Thoroughly clean all areas where teak wood is used.

Step 2: Clean the Wood with One-Part Cleaner

With your specific cleaner, follow the instructions on the bottle or can. Most liquids can be applied directly to wood, while some powdered cleaners are mixed with water with a given ratio.

Step 3: Clean the Wood with Two-Part Cleaner

After cleaning with the one-part teak cleaner, it can still leave the teak wood some discolored areas. Sometimes, it can come as mottling in appearance. This appearance signals you that a two-part cleaner can be applied.

Step 4: Level the Teak Wood with a Sander

The scrubbed teak can look uneven after a series of cleaning sessions. Some grains will stick out after it has been weathered over time. At this point, you may use the power sander to level off the teak wood after. Take note to sand the wood once the cleaner from the previous steps has completely dried.

You can skip this step if it’s not necessary. This step is only intended for teak wood with more severe conditions than others. The cleaning agent will also matter as some will leave a residue after its application. 

Step 5: Sweep the Teak Wood with a Broom

After leveling the teak wood with a power sander, you may now sweep the excess dust and dirt cling on to the wood. You can use your trusty house broom. Others prefer to use a brush for more specific teak wood polishing.

Step 6: Coat the Teak Wood

With your teak oil or teak coat of choice, you may now apply it liberally on the entire surface. You should note that some cleaners will need to be dried off in a day or two with the chemicals that it is supposed to apply on your teak wood. Be sure to make this step on the last part of your restoration project.

Use the foam brush on the teak wood for application. You may also use other recommended varnish applicators. You can reapply the teak wood oil or high-gloss varnish as you wish, depending on the finish that you like. Some will require the wood to be completely dry before reapplication.

Be sure to follow the steps provided on these oils or varnishes.

Currently, there is no teak coating that will last for so long. You may need to reapply this coating for another month to maintain the look of your teak wood.


Did you enjoy the simple yet concise steps on how to restore teak wood on a boat? As teak wood outdoors is exposed to different pollutants, it can require you to keep it well-maintained as long as it is used. Cleaning and maintenance can be a hassle, but this will keep your teak wood’s look brand new.

What do you think of this simplified tutorial? If you enjoyed following along these simple steps, you could share it with your family and friends. It may be time for them to restore their teak wood.

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