How to (Properly) Clean & Protect Teak Outdoor Furniture
There’s nothing quite as exciting as getting a new set of beautiful teak outdoor furniture.
That’s certainly how most of our customers feel when getting their first teak set for the outdoors. But good things come with big responsibility; namely, you need to know how to care for this furniture to keep it as beautiful as it is now.
Want to know how to protect teak outdoor furniture? Most pieces require very little maintenance, as teak is a naturally weather-resistant cut of wood. Despite this, your teak furniture will need frequent cleanings with specialized cleaners or dish soaps in order to retain its original color.
Knowing how to protect your teak furniture can keep it looking good for years to come. Keep reading to find out how!
What Exactly Is Teak Furniture, and Why Is It So Good for Outdoor Furniture?
Put plainly, teak furniture is furniture made from teak wood, a high-quality product that originally hails from Southeast Asia. Over the years, this hardwood has become a staple in furniture craftsmanship—and for good reason.
Teakwood boasts the following characteristics:
Perhaps the biggest benefit to teakwood for outdoor furniture use is its ability to withstand nearly any climate year-round.
Teakwood can be left outside to brave the elements—and win! This is because the wood contains natural oils that resist moisture and prevent the material from warping or cracking.
This durability is also one of the reasons teakwood is commonly used in shipbuilding.
Unlike other cuts of wood, teak only gets better looking with time.
Though some consumers prefer the original honey patina that comes with fresh teakwood, the attractive gray that characterizes aged teak is always in style. This means that your outdoor furniture will look good even if it receives little to no care.
How to Clean Teak Furniture
In order to properly clean teak outdoor furniture, you’ll need to follow these steps:
1. Wet Thoroughly
Before starting, you’ll want to make sure that your teak furniture is completely wet. This will help the wood take in the cleaners and produce the best results.
2. Apply Cleaning Material
Using either a teak-specific wood cleaner or a mild detergent such as dish soap, you’ll want to begin scrubbing the wood with a soft scrub brush or abrasive pad.
Certain areas may require more care than others.
3. Rinse (and Repeat)
Once done, simply rinse off your furniture and repeat if necessary.
Your teak furniture will become lighter during the washing process but will return to its normal hue as it dries.
What to Avoid When Protecting Teak Furniture
Teak is one of the most durable woods out there, but even it has its kryptonite.
For this reason, you’ll want to pay special attention to this when protecting your teak outdoor furniture:
- Never Use Harsh Chemical Cleaners on Your Teak Furniture
Knowing how to protect your teak outdoor furniture involves knowing which materials can and can’t be used to clean the wood.
Teak is durable, yet sensitive, meaning harsh chemical cleaners (anything stronger than mild detergents and wood cleaners designed for teak) can stain your furniture, often with no chance for repairs.
What Is the Best Finish for Teak Outdoor Furniture?
For a natural finish that will provide long-lasting results, consider using teak sealers specifically designed for it.
Unlike lacquer or water-dense paints, these sealers will help prevent the growth of mold, are less flammable, and do not facilitate the entry of water into your teak furniture, which can lead to damage over time.
Teakwood oils may also be a good option for a natural finish, but keep in mind that these oils are highly flammable and subject to spontaneous combustion in hot weather.
Therefore, disposal of teakwood oil cleaning materials must be done swiftly and under given manufacturer guidelines.
Does Outdoor Teak Furniture Need to be Sealed?
Though teak furniture can withstand almost any climate without issue, it does need to be sealed if you want to keep its original golden or honey hue.
Over time, UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun can cause a graying effect in teakwood. If you wish to combat this, you’ll want to seal your teak outdoor furniture early on.
Sealing Teak Furniture
- Allow your furniture to sit outside for at least two weeks. During this period, UV light from the sun will open up the grains in your teak furniture so that they can better accept the sealant.
- Be sure to remove any debris or dust from the furniture before spraying the sealant lightly and rubbing with a clean cloth.
- For best results, you’ll want to apply two coats to the teak, wait for it to dry, lightly sand the surface, and then apply a clear coat with a clean rag. Two coats of teak-specific clear coat, with the second being lighter, will keep your teak golden and youthful looking (just be sure it dries fully before sitting in it!).
You may choose to apply sealant once a year for best results.
How Long Will Teak Furniture Last Outside?
We’ve already mentioned that teak contains a high number of protective oils and oxides such as silica. These oils, combined with proper maintenance on your part, can keep your teak outdoor furniture looking and sitting good for 75-100 years.
Teak outdoor furniture care requires little effort on your part. Still, if you’re looking to get the most out of your teakwood set, it’s important that you follow the information in this guide.
Using this piece as a reference, you’ll know how to protect your teak outdoor furniture and keep it looking as good as new (or distinguished and aged—it’s up to you) for decades to come.