Care of teak furniture
Teak furniture is unique in that it produces its own natural oil, making it very easy to maintain compared to other types of outdoor wooden furniture. In addition, teak oil prevents water and moisture from penetrating into the wood, which can cause dry rot.
Teak wood requires virtually no maintenance and can be left on the deck without much more than an occasional dusting to keep it in pristine condition. Below we show you how to clean and care for your teak furniture .
What you need to know about teak wood
Teak is a dense, hard deciduous tree found in tropical regions of the world, such as Burma and Thailand. Tectona Grandis (the real name for teak) is one of the most valuable woods in the world and unparalleled in durability and beauty.
- Teak wood has a high density, so it is not prone to bending, warping or cracking over time.
- Natural oils prevent teak furniture from drying out.
- Teak wood contains a natural resin that is a rubbery substance. This resin acts as a natural repellent against insects and termites. Although it is said that termites do not eat teak wood, the truth is that they do.
- Due to its inherent protective properties, teak furniture costs more than other types of wood or metal furniture.
Cleaning teak furniture
Teak wood is easy to clean. You can clean it with a brush and mild detergent. Always scrub with the grain for best results. You can do this prior to the outdoor summer season. After this you can usually just dust your furniture with a soft cloth.
To remove heavy stains, lightly sand the stains with fine grit sandpaper. Refer to the section below to learn how to sand teak furniture. An easy trick I learned to remove water stains is to use a clothes iron. It's quick and easy and it really works.
Grease stains are a different beast, but you can still get them out. You will need a commercial teak cleaner that you can purchase online or at a local hardware store.
Lightly sanding teak wood reveals a fresh and glossy finish beneath the surface. This will restore the original honey brown glow. Sanding can be a bit more difficult on furniture with hard-to-reach areas, so you'll need to work these areas by hand. Once you've finished sanding and removing the dust, you can proceed to seal the wood to preserve the wood's tones.
Teak oil vs sealer
Sometimes you hear that all you have to do is lightly oil teak furniture once a year. This is not true, as teak oil does not prevent teak from fading and it can cause mold. Remember that teak already produces a natural oil. It is better to use teak sealers as they ensure that your furniture does not lose its original golden color.
How to apply teak sealant
- Leave the furniture in the sun for 2 weeks to open the grain
- Spray the area with sealer
- Rub the seal into the wood with a lint-free cloth
Teak sealant usually lasts a full year. You can find protective sealants to reduce the effects of the sun's rays on your furniture. To apply teak seal, leave your furniture in the sun for 2 weeks to open the grain. This will help the seal adhere properly. Then spray the surface with a steady hand with sealer. Then rub the seal into the wood with a lint-free cloth. Apply an additional coat of sealant for an optimum finish.
It is important to keep in mind that when you apply a teak sealer, your furniture will retain the color it had at the time of sealing. This means that if you seal your teak when it is still its original gold color it will not age to the silver gray look. To maintain the aged aesthetic, you can seal your teak furniture once it develops a grayish patina.
Teak with a clear coat of lacquer
You can apply a clear coat once the sealant has cured to give it a beautiful shine. You must then use a kind of clear lacquer that has been specially developed for teak furniture. To apply:
- Lightly sand the surface and then apply 2 coats of clear coat with a clean cloth.
- Let the first coat dry before applying the second coat. Clear coat should always be applied after sealing and not the other way around.
What not to use on teak furniture
- Teak oil should not be used, because the oil can lead to mold and mildew. It also won't do much to prevent the aging patina from developing. In this case, you will need to keep sanding your furniture to maintain the honey brown finish.
- Varnish can damage and chip the wood. Teak wood should never be cleaned for all purposes. Teak wood is a special type of wood and requires teak cleaners, oils, clear coat, etc.
- Water repellents/sealers are not necessary because teak is naturally resistant to water.
- High-pressure cleaning is good for wooden decks, but not for teak furniture. It can cause discoloration and damage to the wood surface. The surface becomes rough and splinters.
- Do not use steel wool or copper wool on teak. These brushes are too abrasive. A simple Scotch Brite cleaning cloth (used in the kitchen) also works.
Caring for teak in winter
Because of the high humidity, it is best to put teak indoors in the winter. Using outdoor furniture indoors isn't such a bad idea either. If this is not possible, at least make sure that there is no water on your teak furniture and that the legs are not standing in puddles. This can cause your furniture to deteriorate quickly. You can tell if there is mildew as the wood begins to turn black.
You can also use furniture covers to keep your teak protected during the cold winter months. Furniture covers are a good investment that will allow you to get the most out of your teak set. These also have breathable air holes that promote airflow to prevent mold.
Bird droppings can very easily stain wood. It is best to remove bird droppings immediately to prevent damage to your outdoor furniture. This is another reason why it can be a good idea to invest in patio covers. These protect against bird droppings, UV rays and extend the life of your outdoor furniture.
Removing silver patina from teak furniture
Sometimes you can get the original shine back after your teak has turned gray. You can use caustic and acidic cleaners or lightly sand the surface to remove the gray layer and reveal the golden hue underneath.
The gray patina is actually a natural defense against the weather. It is purely cosmetic and does not affect the structural integrity of the wood. It is formed as a result of oxidation by the sun.