Caring for Teak Furniture

While teak outdoor furniture is considered to be maintenance free due to the unique qualities of the hardwood and the natural teak oils contained in the wood, there are a few things that can be done to help the wood keep its durability for generations to come.  Teak is one of the few types of wooden furniture that does not require stain or paint to resist rot, rust (when coming into contact with metal, teak resists rust), mold or mildew.  Indeed, painting or staining your teak furniture can actually damage the wood and is highly discouraged.

When new, teak is a lovely honey-colored hardwood.  After a season or two in the ultraviolet rays of the sun, the wood develops a patina of a silver or gray color.  This color change does not affect the quality of the wood itself and is cosmetic only.  If you are partial to the honey color of the teak wood, simply buy and apply a teak sealer to the wood.  The frequency of the application of the sealer can be annually or every other year, depending on your climate.  Ask a specialist familiar with teak and the weather near you for the best schedule of application.  Teak can be left outdoors year round, even in the harshest of climates, and will still last for years to come.

When teak is used as an outdoor patio table, there are certain substances that can leave a stain on your teak table.  These are: oily foods, wine, coffee, or various condiments.  These should be wiped up immediately to avoid staining.  For regular clean-up, use a mild soap and water and wipe the surfaces of your table and teak chairs and wipe the soap from the piece with another clean, damp, soft cloth. 

If you have a piece of teak that has been treated with other products, the ability for the natural teak oils to resist mold and mildew is decreased.  Mold on hardwood furniture will appear as dark spots under the finish and requires immediate work to remove the mold and preserve the piece.  The finish will need to be lightly sanded and the mold will need to be treated with a solution of bleach and water.  Always make sure that you use proper protection for your hands and eyes when working with bleach and avoid using bleach on the lawn, as it will kill grass when it comes into contact with it.  After you are certain that the mold is gone, apply teak oils and a teak protector to try and restore the wood.  It may never regain its full durability, but you can lengthen the life of the wood.