In the 70s, teak indoor furniture became very popular as the Scandinavian look was in, clean and simple lines, but you had to follow a regime of cleaning and oiling teak to keep it from drying out and retaining that beautiful tone. It easily got a faded orange look to it if you didn’t maintain it.
As years have gone by, teak became very popular for outdoor furniture as it does not rot and basically fades to a nice silvery colour and it can take rain. You see it sold for cottages, and even shower stalls and shower stools as it is resilient to wet just like cedar. You don’t need to really do anything to the outdoor teak furniture if you don’t want to, but if you still own the 70s retro teak indoor furniture, (like I do) then you do have to keep up with some maintenance to keep it nice looking.
The problem with the teak indoor tables and wall units is that they could stain easily and were very susceptible to sun bleaching. So, over the years, you could easily end up with a mottled and dry looking finish to your wall unit, especially if you had picture frames or objects blocking the sun against it.
I realized this when we went to move our teak dining buffet, that the picture frames I had leaning against the back part of the unit had preserved a darker teak colour and when we moved, you could see the mottled effect on the wood.
Also, my teak dining room table was showing some black stains and slightly bleached marks from years of use and many moves. It gave it some character but I didn’t realize that these stains could be dealt with until now.
But after talking to a local Teak furniture expert, I discovered just how to minimize that look, and also cleaning black stained dining room furniture that was in teak as well.
Step 1 – Get yourself a bottle of teak oil. It must say teak oil on it for it to work. You can get this oil at many hardware stores, but if you can’t find it, anyone that sells teak furniture will have it.
Step 2 – Get a box or package of extra fine steel wool. It has to be the extra fine as you don’t want it to scratch too much.
Step 3 – Give your teak furniture piece a good dusting. Don’t use any products, just simply a slight damp clean cloth to take away dust and dirt, and empty the unit if it is housing knick knacks etc.
Step 4 – While wearing gloves, open the teak oil and pour some into a small bowl, then take your piece of extra fine steel wool and dip it into the teak oil and now rub gently into the wood and make sure to follow the grain with the extra fine steel wool.
Keep doing this on the spots that are bothering you, such as the faded lines from sun bleaching, the staining from cup bottoms and any black marks or spills that have stained the wood over the years.
This will not only nourish the wood (most indoor teak furniture was not varnished, simply waxed or oiled and that is why it is susceptible to staining and drying out) as it was most likely drying out, but it minimized and reduced stains and cleans off any old oil or dirt.
I had black marks on my teak dining room table that lifted off when I followed this procedure. I had always used teak oil a couple times of year to protect it and make it look better, but had never used the extra fine steel wool.
This slightly opens the grain and lets the teak oil penetrate and reduce or remove the stain. This worked very well on my teak furniture and it removed a stain that I thought was a bleaching stain (it had gone white).
So cleaning and oiling teak indoor furniture is a great way to preserve the beauty and keep the furniture from drying out and make it last. I managed to totally minimize the squares that had formed on the back of my buffet from picture frames, and now the unit looks amazing and has a warm glow.
I was told you should use a clean cloth and some teak oil at least a couple times of year to protect your indoor teak furniture, but if you do find yourself getting what looks like wear marks or stains, then try this method of using extra fine steel wool and see just how many stains you can get out of your furniture.
If you can’t find this teak oil anywhere, then check online, there are many suppliers out there, and some people do like to oil their outdoor teak furniture. So, if you were hiding any of these retro 70s pieces because they just didn’t look that good anymore, then get them out of hiding and for the small investment in a bottle of teak oil, you can bring these pieces back to life.
They really do look great once they are renewed! Cleaning and oiling teak indoor furniture will give it a soft glow and show off the tone that is special to teak. Retro styling is back in style, and so are some of the furniture pieces from the 60s and 70s. I recently discovered a small “retro store” that sold teak pieces and after she used this method of cleaning them, they sold right away.
Teak can easily look faded and dried out, and for indoor furniture this is not a good look, so take an afternoon and really clean and oil those older teak pieces and put them out front and center!