How to Clean and Care for Teak Furniture

by G.K. Bayne

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Things You Need:

  • Soft cloth
  • Mild detergent
  • Water hose
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tung or teak oil
  • Mineral spirits

The majority of teak furniture is sold in its natural state and intended for outdoor use. It has the reputation of being easy to care for and lasting a lifetime. With a few simple tips, both of these things can be true. You can either let the patio furniture weather to a beautiful grey-silver state or you can apply oil to preserve the golden brown beauty of new teak. Either way, cleaning and caring for your teak patio furniture is easy.

To Let It Weather:

  1. Dust regularly. Wipe the teak furniture down often, using a soft, clean cloth to remove excess natural oils and dust.

  2. Clean up spills. Wash the furniture when soiled, using a mild detergent, such as dishwashing liquid. Rinse with plain water from a water hose.

  3. Remove stains. Lightly sand away areas that are stained with fine-grit sandpaper.

To Preserve Its Color:

  1. Prepare the surface. Wipe the furniture with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust and debris.

  2. Oil the wood. Dilute tung or teak oil with an equal amount of mineral spirits and wipe down the cleaned furniture, working with the grain of the wood to preserve the finish.

  3. Remove heavy stains. Sand the affected area with fine-grit sandpaper and immediately reapply oil to the area to preserve the wood.

Teak Furniture Care Tips:

  1. Keep outdoor teak furniture covered during the winter months.

  2. Bird droppings can stain teak furniture quickly. Remove any droppings as soon as possible to prevent stains.

  3. Light scratches can be sanded away using 400-grit sandpaper, #00 steel wool, or a copper kitchen scrubby. If the furniture is oiled, apply several coats of tung or teak oil immediately after sanding.

  4. Most teak oil has UV-protecting ingredients in the oil solution. This will help the furniture retain its golden brown color even in full sun.

  5. Never use a pressure washer to clean your teak furniture, as the pressure may mar the wood surface. A garden hose will supply enough pressure to remove any stubborn dirt or grime.

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