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How to Clean a Teak Table

teak lawn furniture set with chairs and a table

Teak wood is a popular choice for outdoor spaces because of its aesthetic appeal and ability to withstand the elements. Harsh exposure to UV rays and natural elements can change the color and texture of teak tables and other outdoor teak furniture, stripping them of their natural oils and dulling their color. Tables, especially, experience lots of exposure to UV light, weather, and frequent use because of their large surface area. As such, you need to know how to clean a teak table.

Teak weathers well, often fading to reveal a silvery-gray patina. Sometimes, the weathering patterns of your furniture can be uneven because of exposure to dirt, rain, and other contaminants. It’s important to remember that getting the perfectly distressed look takes some maintenance. Regular cleaning can ensure even weathering, and specific cleaning processes can help bring out the naturally weathered look of the wood. You can also clean to preserve the natural honey color of the wood, returning some of the oil and moisture to the surface.

What To Know

Before you clean your teak table, here are some important reminders:

  • Teak furniture pieces and tables can have unique reactions to products because of past treatments, natural occurrences in the wood, original manufacturing conditions, environment, and age, so be sure to test a small inconspicuous space on your table if you plan to use a new cleaning product or solution.
  • When using chemicals, like those in solvents or professional cleaning agents, be sure to use gloves and other protective gear to avoid getting any of the solution on yourself.
  • If you choose to sand the wood of your table, always sand with the grain.
  • Clean your table evenly, applying a product, solution, or cleaning agent uniformly across the table’s surface for an even result.
  • Remove old debris, mold, and dirt from your table often, and clean it at least annually to promote durability and even wear.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your Teak Table:

  • Cleaning gloves
  • Cleaning solution of choice
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Sandpaper
  • Teak protector (optional)

Cleaning Your Teak Table

Here’s how to clean your teak table:

1. Test Your Cleaning Agent

If you’re using a new cleaning agent you haven’t used before, test it on your wood to see how it reacts with your tabletop. Ensure it doesn’t bleach or change the color of the wood in a way you don’t desire. You can use a mild soap or detergent and water for a gentler clean. All-purpose cleaners or natural cleaners are often good options. You can also use teak-specific cleaners or harsher cleaning solvents, but make sure you know how the solution will react with your table first.

2. Rinse Your Table

To prepare your table, rinse any dirt, mildew, mold, or debris on the surface. Be sure to get the underside of your table, too, because dust and cobwebs can sometimes collect on infrequently used furniture. Use normal water pressure when rinsing your table. Power washing or rough washing can remove some of the wood’s natural oils and compromise the structural integrity of your table’s joints. Rinse the table thoroughly and move it to an area where you can easily access all sides of the table.

3. Remove Any Old Stains With Sand Paper

For tough to get stains, you can use sandpaper to remove spots from your table. Don’t worry if the sanded section is a slightly different color than the rest of your table. The color should blend easily after some light weathering. Choose fine-grit sandpaper and follow the wood’s natural grain when sanding. Go slowly and stop as soon as the stain you want to remove is gone.

4. Clean Your Table

With your table rinsed and the stains removed, use your wood-specific cleaning agent or regular soap to remove stuck-on dirt and debris. Be careful to perform this step when it’s not too hot and sunny because the soap can dry on your table and leave unsightly marks. Use a sponge or wash rag to scrub your table’s surface, being sure to get hard-to-reach nooks and crevices. You can use clean water to rinse the table and let it air dry.

If you plan to apply solutions or a protectant, wait for the table to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

5. Apply a wood protector

Wood protectors can help preserve the natural color of teak wood, but they’re an optional step. Even without a protector, you can still expect your wood to maintain the quality appearance that’s so desirable on back patios and in gardens. Look at products carefully to ensure they promote the quality you want to keep in your wood. Some protectors help restore the natural light tone of the teak, while others work to preserve the grayed patina look that comes from weathering.

It’s often helpful to have a professional assist you with these processes. They can perform additional services like wood bleaching and color preservation, ensuring your furniture looks as good as possible.

6. Clean Annually

Clean your table regularly to keep it clean and to preserve its exterior. If you use your table frequently, you can use regular soap or an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the surface more regularly. Be sure to remove food scraps, spills, or stuck on dirt to promote even weathering of your furniture. Teak furniture can transform a back patio or garden, and maintaining your furniture correctly can add decades to the life of your pieces. Cleaning teak can help restore the beautiful honey gold of natural wood, and it’s an essential step in maintaining long-lasting and attractive furniture.

Want a Professional to Clean Your Teak Table?

If you’d like to establish a routine service, you can contact us at Teak Master to confirm service in the Los Angeles, Orange County area. We’ll tell you about our specialized treatment options for your microclimate and aesthetic needs. We can help preserve your wood’s natural color or promote the oxidizing effect that produces the beautiful silver effect. Whatever your desire, we can help make it a reality to ensure your tables and furniture look good for years to come.

*Image – Teak Garden Furniture Patio Set by shai aharony is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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