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Tips for Cleaning Your Teak Garden Furniture

Homeowners love teak for its strength, durability, and beauty. The wood begins with a warm golden hue that can weather naturally into a lovely silver patina if desired. Whether you prefer pristine honey-hued teak or a naturally aged appearance, regular cleaning will help your teak furniture look its best year after year.

Clean Spills Immediately

To prevent staining, spot clean spills on your teak furniture as quickly as possible. Naturally absorbent, teak can soak up liquids quickly if you allow the spill to sit. Wipe away the spill immediately with a cloth or sponge. Grease and oil create particularly troublesome stains. If you’re dealing with this type of spill, begin by absorbing as much of the oil or grease as possible with an absorbent cloth or a layer of cat litter. If you act quickly, you may get the oil up before it stains your teak.

If you see a stain, wipe down the furniture with a mixture of water and laundry detergent. You can add a splash of vinegar or certified organic oxygen bleach for a more powerful effect. A small dab of mineral spirits on a cloth may also help remove stains and oil spots. If this doesn’t remove the stain, you can lightly sand the affected area until you can no longer see the mark.

Dust the Furniture Often

Use a lint-free cloth to dust your teak furniture regularly. This quick and easy task helps the wood stay fresh and clean throughout the year. This is the only routine care that teak requires during the year.

Know When and Where to Deep Clean Teak

Teak typically needs a deep cleaning once a year. It’s best to schedule this task for a warm spring day with a light breeze to help the furniture dry off as quickly as possible. Cleaning your teak garden furniture in spring will help you prepare your outdoor space for the coming season when you’ll use it most. Move the furniture to a shady spot away from direct sunlight for cleaning.

Use the Right Cleaning Solution

You can make a simple DIY cleaning solution for teak using water and mild laundry detergent. Avoid harsh detergents or any product that contains beads to clean the wood. Teak is too delicate for this approach. If you have dark spots on your teak from mold or mildew, try making a cleaning solution with certified organic oxygen bleach diluted with soap and water. Do not use chlorine bleach on your teak furniture, as this will strip away the wood’s natural oils, leaving it dull and dingy.

You may alternately choose to use a teak cleaner made specifically for this purpose. These products usually contain bleach and lye, which deliver more powerful cleaning. You may not need a solution this strong for new teak furniture, but a specialized solution will help remove the buildup of oil and dirt that can occur over a period of several years.

Wash the Teak Furniture Properly

Begin the cleaning process by wetting your teak furniture with clean water. Use a garden hose with normal pressure. Never pressure wash your teak, as this can strip away teak’s natural oils and seriously damage the wood.

Apply a small amount of your chosen cleaning solution with a soft cloth and allow it to sit for three to five minutes. Wipe off the cleaning solution with a cloth or scrub the teak using a gentle brush with large bristles to address a thicker layer of dirt and grime. Work with the grain of the teak. Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed your teak, rinse it off again with a hose.

Allow the Teak to Dry

Leave the teak outside to dry thoroughly before use. Teak furniture takes a minimum of 24 hours to dry completely. However, high humidity levels may increase the drying time.

Shield Your Teak From Future Stains

If you want your new teak furniture to maintain its golden hue, apply a commercial teak protector or teak shield once the furniture is dry. A teak shield will seal the wood’s natural oils to slow the weathering process. These sealants also help to protect the teak from mold, water damage, and UV radiation.

You can apply most products using a lint-free cloth. Apply at least two coats, allowing a minimum of four hours of drying time between coats. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully for the product you’re using and adjust your approach as needed if the product specifies a different method of application.

A teak protector will make it more difficult for stains to seep into your furniture. If you often eat or drink while using your teak garden furniture, you may want to take this extra step to save yourself the hassle of more laborious stain removal if and when spills occur.

Addressing the Patina on Teak Furniture

Over time, untreated teak develops a silvery patina. Some people prefer this naturally weathered look for their teak. If this is the case, you can stick with simple annual cleaning and enjoy how your teak’s patina develops over time. If you want to remove the patina on your teak for a fresh new look, you can sand it away with fine-to-medium-grit sandpaper. Remove dust with a dry sponge and clean the furniture as described above. Apply a teak protector to retain the teak’s golden color and keep it from weathering in the future.

Store Your Teak Properly

Keep teak out of direct sunlight to best preserve its natural beauty. The hot sun can dry teak out, causing it to crack. In cold climates, it’s best to bring teak inside away from snow and ice during the winter. However, you shouldn’t store teak near a heater or dehumidifier, as this will cause the wood to dry out.

Routine care and maintenance will keep your teak looking beautiful for years to come. If your teak has suffered from years of aging and needs a fresh start, contact our team at Teak Master for professional restoration services. We can handle the detailed refinishing process necessary to restore aged teak to a stunning like-new state.

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