How to Clean Teak Furniture Properly
- 1. Why Does Teak Change Colors?
- 2. How to Clean Teak Furniture: Best Practices
- 3. How to Maintain Natural Teak
- 4. How to Maintain Weathered Teak
- 5. How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Teak Furniture
- 6. Teak Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid
- 7. How Often Should You Clean Teak Furniture
- 8. How to Store Teak Furniture for the Winter
- The Bottom Line
Few wood types compare to teak due to its strength, weather resistance, and durability. These factors make this gorgeous hardwood species the material of choice for patio furniture. Moreover, premium teakwood is easy to maintain and needs no additional finishes.
Because teakwood is sturdy and naturally hydrophobic, it’s unnecessary to lose sleep over leaving teak furniture out in the open. However, you will want to clean the pieces regularly to preserve their original golden-brown luster.
When left to age naturally, teakwood loses its honey tone and turns into a silver-gray patina. Moreover, wooden outdoor furniture can easily fall prey to mold and mildew, which discolors it further.
There’s no reason to panic. With a simple routine and a little elbow grease, you can keep your teak furniture in top condition for years to come.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of how to clean teak furniture. But first, let’s understand why teakwood changes color over time.
1. Why Does Teak Change Colors?
Unlike other wood species, teak can retain its natural oils and rubber even after being processed. This helps it withstand hard rains, severe snowstorms, and scorching summers with ease.
As the teak is subjected to UV rays, wind, and other elements, it oxidizes and loses its oils. This causes the wood to change colors from golden-brown to silver-gray. Remember, this is a purely cosmetic transformation and does not affect the wood’s structural integrity in any way.
Other factors that contribute to teak weathering include:
- Change in lighting
Teak can take anywhere between a few weeks and several months to weather, depending on where you live. For example, teak furniture usually fades more slowly in drier climates with occasional rainy spells. On the other hand, frequent exposure to moisture can speed up the weathering process.
2. How to Clean Teak Furniture: Best Practices
Before you start breaking into a cold sweat, let us tell you this: it is pretty easy to clean teak. In most cases, you will only require a mild soap and water solution to wash teak furniture. But, of course, you can also use a teak cleaning product for the same results.
First, remove your patio furniture from direct sunlight to prevent the cleaning agents from drying out too quickly.
Then, use a soft bristle brush to apply the soapy water to the wooden surface and scrub gently. Once finished, you can hose down the furniture to remove leftover suds and residue.
Try and make a habit out of cleaning your teak furniture every year if possible. You should also wipe or rinse it off once in a while to get rid of loose dirt and debris. This can save you the hassle of an intense cleaning session later down the line.
Here are a few other tips on how to clean teak furniture:
- Always wear gloves and eye protection when using teak protectors and sealants.
- Test the cleaning products on the underside of your furniture to see how it reacts with the wood.
- Clean up spills before they set into the wood.
- Always use coasters to prevent water stains on your teak table.
- Never sand against the grain.
Teak maintenance tactics vary based on your preferred aesthetics. For example, fans of the golden-brown hue can use specific products to retain the wood’s natural color. On the other hand, if you enjoy the weathered, silver-gray look, you’ll simply have to clean your teak pieces as and when required.
3. How to Maintain Natural Teak
You can easily identify natural teak with its unmistakable golden-brown tone. Therefore, it’s easy to see why a lot of people want to keep it that way.
To help your teak furniture retain its original good looks, you’ll need to protect it from UV rays. Place furniture pieces away from direct sunlight whenever possible. Once the weathering begins, you can use a fine-grit sandpaper to remove the outer layer.
You can also invest in a teak protector to provide an added level of UV protection. Teak protectors create a barrier between the wood and air, minimizing oxidation. Be sure to dry the teak before applying a thin coat of the protector to it. Also, don’t forget to retouch the protective film a couple of times every year.
4. How to Maintain Weathered Teak
Many homeowners let their teak furniture weather naturally. Besides being virtually maintenance-free, weathered teak can add a timeless appeal to any space. Think beautiful, silver-gray chaise lounges on a traditional patio.
If you want to preserve the silver-grayish patina, you can use a manufacturer-suggested product or a 2:1 mixture of laundry detergent, water, and bleach to clean your furniture. Make sure you rinse the surface and let it dry completely.
In this regard, be careful about using bleach on garden teak furniture. Since bleach kills plants instantly, keep it away from bushes and shrubs around your yard.
5. How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Teak Furniture
The water-repelling natural oils in dense teakwood also protect it from mold attacks. However, the mold can latch on to the dirt, pollen, and debris on the wood’s surface. And, if not removed soon, it will eat away at the teak.
The sight of mold may send chills down your spine. But we’re here to tell you it’s not the end of the world.
You can use several household products to remove mold from teak furniture. Substances like bleach and vinegar can kill surface mold in no time. However, if you would rather leave the cleaning to the experts, reach out to a professional teak maintenance services company for help.
6. Teak Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid
While cleaning teak is fairly straightforward, there are a few pitfalls you should steer clear of:
A) Using Steel Wool
You may be tempted to use a steel wool to scrub stubborn stains. However, these abrasive materials can scratch the wood’s delicate finish. Furthermore, small flecks of metal can lodge into the wood and rust over time, discoloring the furniture. Instead, try and use mild sandpaper to gently sand away the stained layer.
B) Pressure Washing Your Teak Furniture
Pressure washing teak furniture is a strict no-no. The fine stream of high pressure can affect the surface of your furniture, causing it to become bumpy and pitted. The only way to fix this is to sand the surface and restore the teakwood’s smooth finish.
C) Using Teak Oil on Outdoor Furniture
You should never use teak oil on patio or garden furniture. To begin with, oiling outdoor teak furniture can lead to a mildew infestation. Plus, teak oil doesn’t do much in slowing down the weathering process either.
Teak sealants serve as a far better alternative to teak oil. For starters, they do not affect the wood’s natural oils or water repulsion properties. More importantly, you can stop using teak sealants any time you like.
7. How Often Should You Clean Teak Furniture
Again, this depends on what you want the furniture to look like. If you want to retain the teakwood’s showroom luster, you’ll have to clean, seal, and protect it every few months. If that sounds like too much work, you can always hire a professional teak maintenance company to take on the job.
On the other hand, homeowners who are happy with the weathered teak can get away with little to no maintenance. However, you may still want to wash your furniture once in a while to prevent mold and mildew formation.
For indoor teak furniture, you’ll only have to dust the wood surface with a lint-free cloth once a week. It’s as simple as that!
8. How to Store Teak Furniture for the Winter
The great thing about teak is that you can leave it outside in any weather. And, although it’s not necessary to cover the furniture, you may want to do it anyway. Furniture covers ward off dirt and bird droppings, which can make spring cleaning less of a hassle.
When choosing furniture covers, always look for breathable, waterproof materials. Avoid plastic at all costs.
In case you want to bring your patio furniture inside for the winter, keep it away from heated rooms. The heat can extract moisture from the wood, causing it to crack.
The Bottom Line
Adding a few teak pieces can help you to jazz up your patio décor. With a little maintenance and cleaning, you’ll be able to keep your teak furniture looking brand-new for years. Only be sure to invest in quality teak cleaning products and follow proper instructions.
If you’re still in the dark about how to clean teak furniture, give Teak & Deck Professionals a call. We can help you treat your teak better so that it lasts a lifetime. Just sit back and relax while we take over your teak cleaning duties. Call us today to know more or request a quote.
First published on: Apr 23, 2021
Updated on: Dec 3, 2021