Caring for Teak Furniture
How to Clean and Care for Teak Furniture
Use this guide to help easily maintain and care for your teak furniture.
Teak is an extremely durable wood and naturally requires little maintenance or care, making it an ideal material for outdoor patio furniture. It is typically sold in one of two conditions: finely sanded in it's natural form and treated with teak oil. If left untreated, teak will weather to a silver-grey tone which is preferred by many people. Some prefer to maintain the wood's original golden honey tone. To achieve this look, there are a few easy methods to help you treat your furniture that you can employ. Regardless of the look, teak remains a strong and high-quality material choice for outdoor furniture and accents.
Use this guide to help easily maintain and care for your teak furniture. Teak wood has a natural resistance to mould and rot; however, unsightly mildew can still form on the surface of the wood if not cared for. Regular cleanings will help prevent discolouration on both treated and untreated wood
Cleaning Teak Furniture
Regular cleaning of your teak will help prevent mildew build-up and potential discolouration. A quick wash with mild soap and water and some bleach or vinegar mixed in usually does the trick. Make sure to use a soft plastic brush as metal brushes can scratch and damage the wood's surface.
Some harder to clean stains can be removed with a store-bought teak cleaner. When cleaning your teak, always start with the mildest cleaning solution. If that doesn't work, try something more concentrated.
2 Easy Homemade Cleaning Solutions:
Mix 1 cup each of chlorine bleach and laundry detergent with 1 gallon of warm water
Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water
To begin, clear a space to clean your furniture. For most outdoor furniture this shouldn't be a problem, for indoor teak furniture make sure to use a drop cloth and clean in a well ventilated space. Apply your cleaning mixture to the teak item using a soft plastic brush and scrub into the wood as you apply. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. This cleaning method may not work for teak furniture that has been left outside to the elements for a long period of time. You may find that a more aggressive store bought solution is needed.
Oiling Teak Furniture
Oiling teak furniture is not a method for protecting the wood but rather a way to retain and enhance the wood's natural golden colour. Some people prefer this look to the natural weathering of the wood when left untreated. Oiled teak furniture is best for indoor use as the environment is more stable. If you choose to oil furniture that will be outside you will need to be more regular with the maintenance, by oiling the furniture every 2 to 3 months and keeping the furniture out of direct sunlight.
Tung oil is preferred by most professionals for teak furniture but linseed oil is also common. There are also specialised teak oils for purchase that use additives such as UV blockers and mildew retardants. Only oil teak furniture once it has been completely cleaned. Cleaning will remove any natural oils built up on the surface and applying a new coat of oil that will restore the original character of the wood.
When applying teak oil use a paint brush to paint the oil into the wood in even strokes. A cloth dampened with mineral spirits should be used to wipe up any excess oil as you go. Oil that drips onto other surfaces such as painted wood or fibreglass should be wiped away immediately to avoid staining. The amount of oil required for each teak piece will differ. You should continue to paint on the oil until the wood no longer soaks it in, leaving oil pooled on the surface of the wood. At this point the wood should have a matte finish without any shiny spots.
Oil should be reapplied every 2 to 3 months. With each application the teak furniture should be washed and cleaned and fully dry before you begin.
Tip! When washing your teak furniture, start from the bottom and work your way up to avoid leaving streak marks from any dripping water on the unwashed surfaces.