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How To Clean and Maintain Your Teak Furniture

Teak is a tropical hardwood that’s widely used in outdoor furniture because of its extreme durability: it has a natural weather- and rot-resistant quality. Valued for its high resistance, it’s often times used for boat decks, construction, veneer, and patio furniture. Known for its rich golden honey color when it’s new, teak will develop a silver grey patina over time if left alone. If kept regularly cleaned, it’ll stay the golden honey color longer, as cleaning will prevent mold and mildew build-up. Here’s how you can keep your teak clean.

Starting With The Least Aggressive Solution

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. Before trying anything else, sometimes doing a quick wash with mild soap and water is all that’s needed. Other times, a deeper and more aggressive method is called for. You can either buy a store bought cleaner or use your own DIY solutions, which can include the following:

  • One cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water
  • One cup of bleach and one cup of laundry detergent with warm water
  • If your teak is especially stained, mix in two teaspoons tri-sodium phosphate cleaner

Applying Cleaning Solution

When applying the solution, use either a spray bottle or a garden sprayer. A garden sprayer is recommended as it works well and requires less effort with your hands, and it evenly distributes the solution well. Do this in a well-ventilated area and spray the teak solution all over to soak the furniture. Keep it wet with solution for at least fifteen minutes.

When scrubbing, use a nylon plastic scrubbing brush and a garden hose to rinse it off. One important tip to remember is to do all of this cleaning in the shade, as you don’t want the sun to dry out the solution too quickly. After cleaning, wait twenty-four hours before eating off of it, and if the teak is still wet, try mixing oxalic acid with warm water and cleaning the teak again.

Applying Oils

If you want to apply oil, first wait twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the initial cleaning. You can also decide whether or not you want to sand the furniture. Sanding is usually a better solution when the teak has already experienced some discoloration; otherwise, sanding is unnecessary. After completely wiping the table clean, you can begin oiling your teak. Remember the following tips:

  • A sponge is the recommended way to apply the oil because it’s easy to control
  • Don’t apply too much oil in one space at one time, as it’s difficult for liquids to soak into teak and it will cause too much stickiness that is hard to clean up
  • The oiling may seem to be making the teak too dark initially, but it will lighten up over the summer
  • Avoid pools of oil; take your sponge and spread it out for a nice uniform coating
  • Do two to three coats, and for regular maintenance, you’ll have to do it once a year

By cleaning and maintaining teak furniture, not only will your furniture last longer, but it’ll maintain its beauty for a long period.