How to Clean Teak Wood. As you may already know, teak wood is one of the finest, richest and most durable materials for outdoor furniture. Teak is not only weather resistant; it is also insect resistant and can last for generations! Teak is my choice for outdoor furniture because of look, quality and durability.
Although teak wood is the brawn among all furniture material, it still needs to be cleaned and maintained so that you can stretch the life of your teak furniture for as long as possible. Using proper techniques to clean, maintain, restore, preserve and enhance teak is pretty easy and will not take up too much of your time. In fact, because teak is a low maintenance type of wood, you should only need to do a single round of cleaning on your teak furniture (outdoors and indoors) once a year.
Over time, teak's rich yellow-brown hue will turn slightly silvery or grayish. Sometimes, outdoor teak furniture might even develop some tiny hairline cracks on the surface. Teak may be strong, but they are not immune to surface erosion, discoloration, mildew, graying, roughness or cracking. The environmental conditions where your teak is located will certainly be a factor in the maintenance requirements of your furniture.
If you want to extend the life of your Teak furniture, it is important to understand how to properly care and maintain your wood. Here are some cleaning suggestions that should help you in your maintenance program.
How to go about cleaning teak furniture (and Teak on Boats)
First, you will want to wash the teak furniture well to remove any dirt and build-up. You can certainly find specialty teak cleaners in your local hardware store, or you can even use a strong detergent. I've used all types of teak cleaners, and have spent countless hours scrubbing the teak with special brushes and pads. The cheapest and easiest way that I have found to clean teak is to use a product called TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate). It's a dry product that you can get at most Home Improvement stores, like Lowes and Home Depot.
If you use the TSP, you'll need a bucket, a stiff scrub-brush, and perhaps some rubber gloves. The TSP will be mixed with water, so you really won't need anything else. I've cleaned so much Teak that I can easily gauge the amount of TSP to add to water (depending on the severity of the cleaning job). As you start out, you'll want to follow the instructions on the box when determining the amount of TSP per gallon of water, and probably experiment on a small area of your wood. Honestly, I've never had a problem with the TSP, so I don't think you will have much of a problem. Of course, ALWAYS adhere to the instructions on the label when using chemicals.
If you have severely weathered Teak, or cracks in the wood, you will probably need to clean a couple of times in order to remove the dirt. Using a stiff bristled brush always makes the job easier. I certainly do not recommend using a wire brush, as it may damage your wood. If you are cleaning the teak on your boat, you'll also want to be careful not to scratch the hull. GAgoogleFillSlot("Homefamilyrectangle");
Once you have cleaned your wood, let it dry completely before proceeding. Once it is dry, it will be very easy to notice if there are any areas that may need additional cleaning. You'll certainly want to take care of those areas before proceeding. Some people suggest waiting several days (or even weeks) before proceeding; however, I've never been able to resist completing the job while it is on my mind (and on my schedule) so I really am unable to recommend a long wait period. As long as the teak is completely dry, you will not have any problems with the next steps.
Applying a Teak Sealant or Teak oil
After cleaning the teak furniture to your satisfaction, the next thing you should do is to use Teak Sealer, or perhaps a Teak Oil. There is a large variety of specialty teak finishing products on the market, so you can certainly find the best solution for your wood. If you're not sure about which brand to use, you may wish to ask an expert in the Home Improvement store, furniture shop, or boat supply store.
AgainMake sure the teak furniture is completely dry before you attempt to apply teak sealant or oil on it. Failure to do so will cause an uneven blotchy appearance on your teak furniture after you apply the sealant. Also, if there is moisture the sealant won't hold well and won't last.
You can apply teak sealant using a plastic spray bottle, foam brush or a simple rag cloth. The choice is yours, and depends on the surroundings you are working with. If you are on a boat, you certainly will not want to use a spray bottle that will disperse sealant all over the hull.
Really, it doesn't make too much of a difference the kind of medium you use, as long as you follow a few guidelines in how you apply the sealant. You'll need to apply several coats of the teak sealant. For the first coat, apply liberally literally everywhere on your teak furniture. Most of the teak sealants out in the market today are not sticky at all, so, apply liberally and then wipe off any access with a dry rag cloth. With the first coat, you won't have to worry too much about how you applied the teak sealant; let the sealant set in and dry for about 1 to 3 hours.
The second coat of teak sealant has to be applied on the same day, so, after a couple of hours, apply the second coating. If you want it to look professional and good, apply with gentle, even strokes. And in another couple of hours, the teak sealant would have been completely dry to the touch and ready for use. 2 coats of sealant are all you need to keep your teak furniture in tip-top condition.