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Old 28-09-2015, 08:23   #1
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Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

Short post. I won't say what bone-headed thing I did to spill diesel fuel on the teak decking. On second thought, why not - maybe it will prevent someone else from doing it.

I have two fuel tanks and can switch between them. But, I also need to switch the return flow back to the tank the fuel is coming from. I didn't, and I started returning fuel from one tank to (the nearly full) other tank. Well, eventually the tank filled, and filled, and the fuel ran up the vent line and exhausted onto the teak decking in the cockpit. Won't make that mistake again.

Now, the question is, does anyone know a good way to clean the diesel out of the teak? Of course, it soaked in. Thanks.
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Old 28-09-2015, 08:51   #2
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

We use dawn dish soap and a bit of fabric softener (Calgon) with a soft brush to get diesel out of teak and fabrics. Works OK but you may have to clean it a bunch of times, just don't overscrub. Keep it in the sun too if you can.
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Old 28-09-2015, 09:24   #3
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

Don't get too worked up about it. Gently cleaning it is good, but it will also evaporate over time.
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Old 28-09-2015, 13:48   #4
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

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Don't get too worked up about it. Gently cleaning it is good, but it will also evaporate over time.
Last spring I spilled a bunch of epoxy hardener syrup all over my teak planked bridge deck. I was so mad, and imagined it was the worst possible thing I could have spilled. Tried some serious cleanup with dawn, then mineral spirits, nothing got rid of the dark, subtly sticky staining......

Then, after 3 weeks in the sun and occasional rain, it was gone. No trace.

I've spilled a bit of diesel plenty of times, it seems my tank isn't vented well enough so the fill hose backs up if I'm at a fuel dock with a really fast pump. Never seems to linger around long enough for me to even remember it.
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Old 28-09-2015, 14:31   #5
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

If it isn't slippery where it spilled, leave it alone. Just bucket it out with salt water as part of your normal after sail or pre-sail cleaning. Eventually, it will go away by itself. Teak is really happy with salt water bucketings.

If it is slippery, then I'd use your dishwashing detergent in salt water and a soft toothbrush on it, just to remove the slipperiness, followed by salt water bucketsful to rinse.

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Old 28-09-2015, 17:15   #6
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

Next time keep a big box of baking soda near by. If you spill, cover the spill heavily with the baking soda and let it sit awhile. The baking soda will absorb most of the diesel and you can just sweep it away Any soda left over on the deck can be washed off.
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Old 29-09-2015, 13:30   #7
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

Thank you all. Appreciate the advice!
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Old 29-09-2015, 15:54   #8
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

If it's slippery, what about one of the citrus based bilge cleaners gently rubbed in then washed off? These really eat through the oily bilge gunk.
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Old 29-09-2015, 23:03   #9
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

About once a year I give my long-suffering teak an Oxalic wash (one big tablespoon per quart or litre of warm water; add the crystals to the water never the water to the crystals) and it seems to even out all of the mistakes I've made over the year. Don't use a harsh brush, a soft car-wash brush is all you should hit teak with and do it without harsh sunlight so it stays wet for at least an hour after application. (I do it early evening with a nice wine in hand.) Then wash it off with heaps of water.
As an aside (it doesn't help in unpredicted accidents like yours) I often mix up a sugar-soap water foam that I spread around my fuel filler whenever I'm filling up and my winches when they are having their rare oiling attention and anytime else that I'm using oil and diesel around my deck.
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Old 30-09-2015, 12:41   #10
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

Regardless of what so-called environmentalists would have us believe, a few drops, even barrels, of diesel (which evaporates rapidly from the surface) will not destroy the world. Over 10,000 ships (including 1,554 US merchant ships alone plus over 2,000 military vessels) were sunk during World War II in ever ocean and sea on the planet. All were carrying, diesel, bunker and aviation fuels along with every kind of munition know to man. Not a drop of it was ever cleaned up. Today some of the most pristine water is found in places that saw worst ship losses. Whereas areas that saw no action are some of the most fouled. China and Russia puke more crap in costal waters daily than all the wars in history.
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Old 30-09-2015, 15:17   #11
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Re: Oops! Spilled Diesel Oil on the Teak Deck

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Regardless of what so-called environmentalists would have us believe, a few drops, even barrels, of diesel (which evaporates rapidly from the surface) will not destroy the world. Over 10,000 ships (including 1,554 US merchant ships alone plus over 2,000 military vessels) were sunk during World War II in ever ocean and sea on the planet. All were carrying, diesel, bunker and aviation fuels along with every kind of munition know to man. Not a drop of it was ever cleaned up. Today some of the most pristine water is found in places that saw worst ship losses. Whereas areas that saw no action are some of the most fouled. China and Russia puke more crap in costal waters daily than all the wars in history.
We have also lost over 70% of our reefs and countless species of marine life since then as well.

So-called redneck logisticians are typically devoid of any factual information.
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