Teak is a wood that can be allowed to weather naturally from the sun or sealed to keep the original golden color. Every few months, teak furniture should be cleaned of dirt build up especially in outdoor pieces.
When buying the furniture, it’s important to decide whether to keep the golden color or allow it to develop a soft gray patina due to sun exposure. Over time, the natural oils of the teak wood will rise to the surface and evaporate. This creates the silver color of the wood. If the golden color is preferable, the furniture should be sealed using a teak furniture sealant. It will need to be sealed repeatedly over the life of the furniture piece. Otherwise, the teak piece will age and weather to a soft silver.
How you clean the teak furniture depends on whether it’s been treated or not.
All Teak Furniture
Whether treated or untreated, these first steps are the same. Fill a bucket with warm water adding in a drop of detergent with a splash of bleach. Use the soft brush to clean dirt from the furniture. Outdoor furniture can be caked with mud and dirt along the legs. Use careful strokes repeatedly instead of digging into the wood to remove dirt. Rinse soap suds from the furniture and allow it to dry.
If the furniture is to remain untreated to grow even more silvered with age and direct sunlight, the furniture can be set back outside. Some people like the silvered look so much, they will add sealant at this point to keep the wood protected and keep the soft gray look to the piece. After washing, the furniture can be set outside. If it needs sealant, there are more steps before the piece is finished.
Sealed Teak Furniture
Mask or ventilated area
The next step involves teak oils and sealant. Silvered furniture can be brought back to its golden color using sand paper and teak oils specially designed to bring out the color of the wood. Sometimes, the gray color isn’t what the owner wants, and the teak oil will help to restore it.
Teak furniture that hasn’t been allowed to gray can be washed, oiled and resealed in the same way without the initial sanding step.
For a natural, do-it-yourself oil, linseed oil is a great choice, but it can darken the wood considerably. It’s important to note that the oil should be applied before any varnish or sealant since oil can dry and build up to a rubbery consistency. Allow the oil to dry completely before finishing with a sealant. Natural linseed oil with no chemicals added to it can take a long time to dry. It can take from 24 to 48 hours for the oil to dry.
Before depositing the furniture back outside, on the patio or back on the porch, take this opportunity to see if any screws need to be tightened. All screws should be snug against the wood. Don’t over-tighten the screws though. It can cause the furniture to crack.