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How to care for teak outdoor furniture: a guide
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How to care for teak outdoor furniture: a guide

Are you looking for a way to elevate your outdoor space? Then teak outdoor furniture might be the answer! Teak outdoor furniture is favored by many homeowners for both its natural beauty and long-lasting durability. 

However, it’s essential to know how to care for it properly to keep your teak furniture looking its best. 

In this article, we'll guide you on how to care for teak outdoor furniture by providing the best practices for cleaning, protecting, and restoring your furniture, so you can enjoy its natural beauty for years to come. 

Understanding teak wood

Teak wood is a unique hardwood known for its natural durability, beauty, and resistance to outdoor elements. It is native to Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like India, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Teak wood is a dense and oily hardwood rich in natural oils and silica. This makes the wood resistant to rot, insects, and weathering. These natural oils also make the wood water-resistant, allowing it to withstand exposure to rain and humidity without swelling or warping. One of the most notable features of teak wood is its honey-brown color that gradually weathers to a silver-gray patina over time. This natural weathering process results from the wood's exposure to sunlight and air. 

While some people prefer the weathered look of teak wood, others prefer to restore the wood's original color and shine with regular maintenance. As mentioned earlier, teak wood has a natural resistance to weathering and insects, making it a popular choice for outdoor furniture. For that reason, it's also commonly used in boat building, flooring, and construction due to its strength and durability.

When purchasing teak furniture, it's important to look for high-quality wood sourced from responsibly managed forests. Sustainable teak wood should be selectively harvested to ensure the long-term health and viability of the forest ecosystem while supporting the livelihood of local communities.

Teak outdoor furniture maintenance tips

Proper maintenance is crucial to keeping your teak patio furniture looking beautiful and lasting for years to come.

Tip #1: Clean your teak furniture regularly

Frequently cleaning helps prevent dirt, grime, and other debris from accumulating on the wood’s surface. Clean your teak furniture using a soft-bristle brush, mild soap, and warm water. When rinsing, avoid using high-pressure hoses or any harsh chemicals that may end up damaging the wood.

Tip #2: Keep teak furniture dry

Keeping your furniture dry is key in preventing mold and mildew from forming. Allow your furniture to air-dry completely after cleaning and consider using furniture covers when they’re not in use.

Tip #3: Lightly sand your teak furniture

Sanding teak furniture once or twice a year can help remove any rough spots or stains on the wood's surface. Be sure to sand lightly in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

Tip #4: Apply natural oil

Restore your furniture by applying natural teak oil to revitalize its natural luster and color. Be sure to avoid using high gloss or polyurethane finishes because they can trap moisture and end up damaging the wood. It is also just fine to let your outdoor teak furniture patina to a silvery gray over time.

Tip #5: Use high-quality covers

Even if you don't live in a humid area, using high-quality furniture covers can help to protect your teak furniture from:

  • Weathering
  • Rain & moisture
  • Debris
  • Other outdoor elements

Look for covers made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup.

Tip #6: Avoid harsh chemicals and cleaning tools

You never want to use harsh chemicals or rough cleaning tools on teak furniture. And it’s best to avoid using abrasive cleaning tools, like steel wool, as they can leave noticeable scratches. Also, refrain from using ammonia-based cleaners, which can cause irreversible damage to the wood’s natural oils.

Tip #7: Store your teak furniture properly

When your furniture isn’t being used, be sure to store it properly in a dry, cool place. Also, avoid storing it in areas that are prone to high humidity or extreme temperature fluctuations.

By following these tips, you can keep your teak furniture looking pristine, and with proper care and maintenance, your furniture will remain a beautiful addition to your space.

Step-by-step instructions for cleaning teak furniture 

  1. Remove any cushions or fabric before cleaning the wood.
  2. Wet the wood surface with a hose or bucket of water to prepare it for cleaning.
  3. Apply a solution of mild soap and warm water or a teak-specific cleaner to the wood surface using a soft-bristle brush or sponge.
  4. Scrub the wood surface gently, making sure to clean all the nooks and crannies. Be sure to scrub with the grain of the wood to avoid scratching the surface.
  5. Rinse the wood surface thoroughly with water, making sure to remove all the soap or cleaner residue.
  6. Dry the wood surface completely with a clean cloth or let it air dry. Avoid using heat sources like hair dryers or heaters, as they can damage the wood.

Special considerations

If your teak furniture has mold or mildew, use a teak-specific cleaner that is formulated to remove these types of stains. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid skin contact with the cleaner. 

Scrub the affected areas gently with a soft-bristle brush, and rinse the wood surface thoroughly with water.

By following these best practices and step-by-step instructions for cleaning your teak furniture, you can maintain its natural beauty and prolong its lifespan. Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preventing damage and ensuring that your furniture remains a timeless and durable addition to your outdoor space.

Preventing damage and staining

Despite its natural durability, teak furniture is still susceptible to damage and staining if not properly maintained. Below are some examples of how teak furniture can become damaged or stained, along with tips for preventing these issues:

  1. Weather. Though Teak furniture is excellent for outdoor use and all types of climate, limiting its exposure to the elements, when possible, will extend the life of the furniture. To prevent weather-related damage, consider using protective covers when the furniture is not in use. Also, avoid exposing the furniture to extreme weather conditions for extended periods.

  2. Food and drink spills. Food and drink spills can cause stubborn stains on any surface, including teak furniture. Wipe up spills as soon as possible with a clean cloth or paper towel to prevent stains. Avoid harsh cleaning products or scrubbing the wood surface aggressively, as this can damage the wood.

  3. Scratches and dents. Scratches and dents can occur when heavy or sharp objects are placed on or dragged across the teak surface. Use coasters or placemats to protect the wood surface from scratches, and avoid dragging heavy objects across the wood.

How to prolong the life of your teak furniture

While teak furniture is inherently robust and weather-resistant, exposure to elements can cause it to fade over time. Follow the tips below to help protect your teak furniture:

  1. Use protective covers. Protective covers can help shield your teak furniture from the sun, rain, and other outdoor elements. Use covers made from breathable materials to prevent moisture buildup.

  2. Store your furniture indoors or undercover during harsh weather conditions. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather conditions, it’s wise to store your furniture indoors during periods of heavy rain or snow.

  3. Apply a protective sealant or oil. Applying a protective sealant or oil to your teak furniture can help to prevent weathering and maintain its natural color and beauty. Look for a high-quality teak oil or sealant that is designed for outdoor use and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.

  4. Avoid harsh cleaning products. Harsh cleaning products, such as bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, can damage the natural oils in teak wood and cause it to weather faster. Instead, use mild soapy water or a teak-specific cleaner.

  5. Regular cleaning. Consistent cleaning is important for preserving your furniture’s natural beauty and overall durability. Your furniture can rapidly weather when dirt, grime, and debris build up. Prevent this by cleaning your furniture regularly. 

  6. Sanding and refinishing. Sanding and refinishing the wood surface can help to restore its natural color and beauty. Be careful to make sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratching the surface, and follow up with a protective sealant or oil to maintain its appearance. Sanding can be done once or twice a year.

Restoring teak furniture

If your teak furniture becomes weathered or damaged, it's still possible to restore it to its natural beauty. First, you want to start by cleaning the surface using a soft bristle brush or a sponge and a solution of warm water and soap. 

Next, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or stains on the surface. It can't be stated enough times. It's important to sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratching the surface. 

Once you've sanded the surface, wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth. This removes any lingering dust or debris. Next, you want to apply a teak brightener solution using a brush or a soft cloth. This will help to restore the wood's natural shine and color. 

Let the brightener soak into the wood for the manufacturer's recommended time. This is typically between 15-20 minutes. 

Once it's fully soaked, rinse the surface thoroughly with water and let it completely dry before applying any oils or protective sealants. 

Our teak wood

While it’s important to care for your teak furniture, it’s also important to learn where the material comes from and how it was sourced. Renewable resources, such as teak wood, can be selectively harvested and naturally replenished. However, many companies tend to prioritize cost and profit over sustainability. This leads to mass deforestation and a number of harmful practices. 

At MasayaCo, we’re committed to reversing the effects of deforestation through sustainable resource management and reforestation. Read about our Seed to Seat model here. We’ve replanted over 1.2 million trees to date!

Our dedication and efforts in reforesting deforested land contribute to capturing carbon from the atmosphere, improving water quality, soil restoration, and creating habitats for native species. Our tree farms also provide jobs and economic development in parts of the world where it is needed. In other words, reforestation helps restore the land to its natural state while also providing economic opportunities for the local community.

Where to buy the best teak furniture

Routine care for teak outdoor furniture is essential to maintaining its natural beauty and durability. Regular cleaning and maintenance, including light sanding and oiling, can help to prevent damage and extend your furniture’s lifespan.

By following the best practices for cleaning and protecting your teak furniture, you can prolong its life and enjoy its innate allure for many years to come. When buying teak furniture, remember to choose a high-quality product from a responsible supplier to guarantee that your investment is both environmentally friendly and built to last.

Contact our specialists with any questions or additional advice on caring for teak furniture.

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