Without proper maintenance, teak furniture can become dull and discolored over time. Cleaning teak outdoor furniture may seem daunting, but using the right techniques and products can be easy and rewarding.
So, whether you have a few chairs or a complete set of teak outdoor furniture, keep reading to learn how to keep them looking new for years to come.
Why Does Teak Change Color?
Teak changes color due to exposure to sunlight and weathering.
When new, it is golden brown, but over time it will turn to patina silver-grey (in about 9-12 months).
This is a natural process and does not affect the quality or durability of the wood.
Some prefer a natural weathered look, while others maintain the original color by oiling the surface.
What Are The Benefits Of Teak Wood?
Teak is an ideal natural material for garden chairs and tables and a popular choice for high-end patio furniture.
It is durable, easy to maintain, has a lovely feel, and looks great too.
Due to the low maintenance required, it is very resistant to changing weather and is close to a maintenance-free garden setting.
Wooden outdoor pieces often have metal fittings. Other types of wood will rust and deteriorate when in contact with metal, but teakwood does not.
How to Clean Teak Patio Furniture
A mild soap and water solution is usually sufficient to clean teak chairs and tables. But, of course, a special cleaning product can achieve similar outcomes.
Basic Routine Cleaning for Teak Furniture
Basic cleaning is easy: hose the chairs and tables off with plain water (no pressure washing) to remove the dust and dirt.
If plain water is not enough, use warm soapy water and scrub with a soft sponge.
How often to do this: depends on your environment and how much dirt your garden pieces take. Generally, a weekly or bi-weekly hosing or gentle scrubbing with a soft sponge is sufficient for basic cleaning.
Note: If you get food spills etc., wipe them off immediately. This can save you the hassle of an intense cleaning later.
To wash with soap, note the following:
- Wash in the shade rather than direct sunlight so the soapy water doesn’t dry too quickly on the surface.
- First, wet the chairs and tables using a garden hose.
- Mix a small amount of liquid dish soap with warm water in a bucket (two tablespoons of liquid dish soap with a gallon of water).
- Dip a soft-bristled brush or a soft sponge into the soapy water and gently scrub the pieces (if you need to shrub harder, do it in line with the wood grains).
- Start from the top and work your way down.
- Rinse with a hose or bucket of clean water (no pressure washing).
- Towel off any excess water and let it air dry.
This method can help remove dirt and grime from the surface without damaging the wood.
Commercial products: If you prefer, you can use a cleaner formulated for teakwood:
- REVITALIZE YOUR TEAK – STAR BRITE Premium Teak Cleaner effortlessly restores the original charm of weathered and gray teak furniture or boat decks without the need for sanding or pressure cleaning
What about the cushions? We have another article about how to clean the cushions of your outdoor furniture.
Removing Stains, Mold, and Mildew
Teak is resistant to moisture. However, it is still possible for it to get affected by mold or mildew.
To get rid of mold or mildew, use a cleaning product like Star Brite Cleaner, which is specially designed for teakwood. Scrub the solution with a brush or scrub pad to remove dirt and mold spots.
- Available in Fine (White), Medium (Red) and Coarse (Black)
- Removable ergonomic grip fits comfortably in your palm for reduced hand strain
Try a Vinegar Cleaning Solution
If you want to clean with a more natural solution, vinegar helps to remove mildew from garden furniture:
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean outdoor pieces with vinegar.
- Spray the solution onto the chairs and tables and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Then, use a soft-bristled brush or cloth with water from a garden hose to scrub the surface in line with the wood grain.
- Rinse with water and let it dry completely before using it again.
Cleaning Teak Wood Furniture with Bleach
Oxygen bleach can remove mold and mildew from outdoor furniture. Oxygen bleach is different than chlorine bleach as it is not harsh. Harsh chlorine bleach is a strong oxidizer that can whiten the surface.
- Work in the shade and not in direct sunlight, if possible.
- Mix up a solution of oxygen bleach and water (stir one cup of powdered oxygen bleach for one gallon of hot water).
- Use a standard hand-pump sprayer to spray the solution to the teak wood. Spray the entire table, including the underside.
- Keep it wet with the solution for around 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use a hand scrub brush with water from a garden hose to rinse the remaining bleach and dirt.
- Rinse the table well and let the table dry in the shade.
Oxygen bleach is readily available online and at some stores:
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Mildew remover for outdoor furniture:
- GET RID OF STUBBORN MOLD STAINS AND MILDEW STAINS: Our instant spray cleaner removes the stains left behind from black mold and mildew. They tend to leave behind ugly staining that can go deep below the surface
Restore Outdoor Teak Furniture
High-quality teak outdoor furniture manufacturers typically advise not to oil the surface. Instead, they advise naturally allowing it to fade to a beautiful grey patina.
If you leave the surface untreated, the natural oil content of teakwood allows it to wear nicely. And you can still easily restore it later.
If you oil it, the mold gets trapped under it, making it harder to restore (the thinking behind this is that all outdoor wood pieces get some mold from the environment).
You can restore your natural teak furniture and remove the mold using a pressure washer. But be careful.
Note: Typically, pressure washing is not recommended for the teakwood as the surface might become uneven.
- Set the pressure washer to the lowest pressure.
- Use the widest nozzle spray and keep the nozzle at least 12-15 inches away from the surface. Use long, even strokes.
- Start on the underside to test the pressure, distance, and technique before you wash noticeable areas.
- Pass over the entire surface with each stroke to avoid unsightly dirt rings.
- Let the pieces air dry.
- Once the surface is dry, lightly sand it with 400 grit sandpaper in line with the grain (this makes an even surface and prevents the wood’s pores from opening, preventing future mold build-up).
How Often Should You Clean Teak Furniture
If the outdoor setting is exposed to harsh weather conditions or is located near a pool or beach, it may require more frequent cleaning.
You can hose it every other week to get the dust off.
If needed, mix dishwashing soap to warm water, scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush, and rinse off with a hose.
Avoid harsh chemicals or pressure washers, as they can damage the wood.
After cleaning, rinse the pieces thoroughly and let them dry completely before using or storing them.
Tips to Keep Your Teak Furniture Clean Longer
To keep your teakwood outdoor furniture clean for longer, you can follow these tips:
1. Regularly hose your pieces, or clean them with a soft-bristled brush and mild soap to remove dirt and grime.
2. Apply teak oil or sealer to protect the wood and prevent it from drying out, cracking, or fading.
3. Keep your chairs and tables out of direct sunlight to prevent them from fading and drying out.
4. Use furniture covers or store them indoors during the off-season to protect them from harsh weather conditions.
5. Avoid placing hot or sharp objects directly on your table to prevent scratches and damage.
- This product adds a great value
- Protects dense woods from moisture and UV rays
- Enhances wood grain by penetrating into wood pores
- Teak oil
- Protects dense woods from moisture and UV rays
How to Store Teak Furniture Pieces
To store teakwood furniture, clean it thoroughly and let it dry completely before storing it.
Then, cover it with a protective cover or store it in a dry area to prevent moisture and dust from damaging it.
Applying a teak sealer or oil before storing is also recommended to maintain its natural color and protect it from the elements.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning garden teak settings is easy if you follow the right steps.
Remember to be gentle when cleaning and avoid using harsh chemicals or pressure washers that can damage the wood.
If you have other types of wood in your garden set, you can read more about cleaning wooden garden furniture here.