How to Care for Teak Outdoor Furniture
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor | Opens in a new window. |
A definitive guide on how to clean and care for teak outdoor furniture
Teak wood is highly durable and will last for decades, even in cold and rainy weather. It is one of the strongest hardwoods and is naturally resistant to splitting, cracking, mold, mildew, and weathering. Teak is ideal for outdoor furniture because it is long-lasting, durable, and stylish. Not all teak is of the same quality.
Like the wood we use here at Neighbor, Grade A teak is the most durable because it has the highest concentration of natural oils and the least amount of gaps in the wood (which cause warping and cracking over time). Grade A teak is the most expensive but can last nearly 100 years if properly cared for.
Caring for teak furniture is relatively easy. Keep the right products on hand to clean, remove stains, and restore color. Below, we walk through step-by-step instructions on how to care for teak furniture, how not to treat your teak, and what to do when stains and scratches happen.
Teak’s natural aging process
New teak arrives as a beautiful honey color with natural oils that make it water-repellant and rot-resistant. It gradually transforms into a silver or grey patina color as it ages. This color change happens as the teak adapts to its surroundings and is exposed to sun, rain, and humidity. The timeline for aging and color change will depend on the conditions in your outdoor space. Remember, you can clean and restore your teak to its original honey color at any time.
During the first few weeks or months, you might notice oil spots on the surface of your teak, water spots, discoloration, or color bleeding as the color gradually washes out. This is normal and will subside over time. You can speed up the aging process and achieve a more uniform look by washing your teak furniture with soap and warm water and letting it dry in the sun.
Teak oil vs. teak sealer
Teak oil is not necessary for extending the life of your teak furniture—it is used to give the surface of teak furniture a glossy, deeper color and only lasts for a few weeks. Teak oil is not the same as teak’s natural oils. Natural teak oil protects the wood from water damage, rot, and insects and is most present in high-quality teak.
Teak sealer/protector, on the other hand, is helpful for teak protection. Teak sealer/protector helps maintain the golden color of teak by protecting your furniture from UV. If you want to prevent your furniture from aging to a grey color, use a teak sealer/protector on an annual or bi-annual basis.
How to clean teak outdoor furniture
Unlike indoor furniture, you never know what your outdoor furniture will be exposed to over its lifetime. Outdoor furniture will endure everything from food and drink stains to bird poop, mold, and torrential rain. However, with proper care, your teak wood outdoor furniture will remain strong and usable for decades. Here’s our start to finish guide on caring for and cleaning teak.
Protecting the surface
Neighbor teak outdoor furniture arrives untreated. If you leave it alone, it will weather to a grey color over time. We recommend leaving the teak untreated and allowing the wood to adjust to the climate of your space. You can apply a teak shield to prevent surface stains and watermarks and clean the teak with soap and water as often as it ages.
If you prefer to maintain the original honey color of your furniture, deep clean and apply a teak protector when your furniture arrives. Use a cloth to apply an even coat of teak protecter/sealer and dry it in the sun. Depending on where you live, you will need to re-seal your teak furniture once or twice a year. Honey-colored teak is sleek and stylish but requires regular care and maintenance. We often recommend letting the teak age to grey since it requires less overall maintenance.
Removing stains, mold, and mildew
Clean spills as they happen with mild soap and water and a sponge or soft bristle brush. Teak is naturally mold resistant; however, dirt and debris that linger on the product are not. Remove dirt and debris and keep an eye on the surface your teak furniture stands on for built-up water or debris. For annual cleaning or mold, we recommend using a teak cleaner. If the furniture gets very damp, dry it out in the sunlight before covering it to avoid mildew growth. After cleaning your teak furniture, rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry in the sun if possible.
Items needed for at-home teak cleaning and care:
- Mild dish-soap
- A sponge
- A gentle scrub brush
- Fine Sandpaper
- Golden Care Teak Shield
- Golden Care 3-in-1 Care Kit
Storage and off-season protection
Covering your furniture with a waterproof, tear-proof protective cover will significantly prolong its lifespan. You’ll want a cover that has vents for airflow and buckles or cinches so that it will stay in place on windy days. We sell a custom-fit protective cover for all of our teak furniture that is perfect for protecting your furniture investment. When using a Neighbor protective cover with your Neighbor teak outdoor furniture, keep the cushions on the furniture when using the cover.
Again, watch for mold and mildew in shaded areas and humid climates, even when the protective cover is on. If you think your furniture is damp, remove the cover and let it dry out. You might also want to check on the wood underneath the cover periodically. If the furniture is sitting in a snowy, damp, or shaded area, mold growth can happen if the furniture does not have a chance to dry out.
How does Neighbor teak compare to the competition?
Teak trees are native to tropical forests and grown in South America and Southeast Asia in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and India. Teak wood is prized for its durability and density but can vary depending on the tree's maturity. The highest quality of teak wood is Grade A teak. Grade A teak comes from the densest part of the teak timber and contains the highest concentration of natural oils that protect the wood from water damage, rot, and insects.
All the teak we use for Neighbor outdoor furniture is Grade A and FSC-certified, which means our wood comes from sustainable, responsibly managed forests. Neighbor teak is also kiln-dried for increased durability by our manufacturing partners. Because teak timber will naturally expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, we designed our outdoor dining furniture and outdoor coffee table with slats to accommodate these changes as much as possible.
At Neighbor, we stand by our use of sustainably-sourced Grade A teak and want you to be able to enjoy your outdoor furniture for a long time. We genuinely believe teak is a worthy investment for long-lasting outdoor furniture. We like the style and look of both new and aged teak and believe the wood adds warmth and elegance to your backyard, patio, or porch. We always tell our customers to have the right tools on hand to care for their teak when needed. Also, be patient as the teak adjusts to the climate in your area and sheds oil and color in the first few weeks or months of ownership. Protect your investment with a waterproof cover and check on the wood periodically if you live in a particularly damp or humid climate.
If you didn't find what you were looking for in this article, we'd be happy to work with you on finding the best care plan for your teak or walk you through our battle-tested stain removal tips. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or concerns.