General Cleaning and Cleaning Stains on Teak Furniture

Cleaning and Maintaining Teak Outdoor Furniture

The approach to Cleaning Teak Furniture depends on the starting state of the furniture being cleaned, and the end result desired.

1. Cleaning mildly dirty Teak Furniture - to remove pollen, dust, may be some food stains. The Furniture could already be grey (dues to being exposed to the elements).

    1. Create a soapy solution of DIshwashing soap and water with just enough dishwashing soap to make it bubble when agitated.
    2. Rinse surface of teak with a garden hose
    3. Apply the dishwashing soap solution with a cloth or brush and gently scrub along the grain with a bristle brush or even a dishwashing sponge.
    4. Hose off the soap with a garden hose


2. Cleaning very soiled Teak Furniture, furniture has been outdoors and not cleaned for a while. It may have surface dirt, some mold and may be even lichens. The end result desired is clean teak furniture that may still be grey.

      1. Create a gallon of Soapy solution of Dishwashing soap and water. Add a quarter cup of bleach.
      2. Rinse surface of teak furniture with a garden hose.
      3. Apply the soapy solution and bleach mixture with a bottle sprayer or brush. Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
      4. Scrub with a bristle brush
      5. Rinse off with a garden hose.


3. Using a Pressure Washer to clean teak furniture - be very careful.

    1. Many professionals use a Pressure Washer to clean Teak Furniture that has been soiled.
    2. A pressure wassher can be very effective if used properly. If used improperly, it can gouge and damage your teak furniture.
    3. If you are going to use a pressure washer - use it on LOW pressure, and keep the Wand at least 12 inches away with a FLAT spray pattern (not round, definitlely not a jet).
    4. You can use Method 2 above, but instead of the garden hose, use the pressure washer.
    5. Try the pressure washer technique on the underside of the furniture on the solid parts like frames and legs (not slats) to get familiar with the distance required..


4. Removing the Grey Weathered Surface and making Teak Brown again. Restoring the original look of Teak Outdoor Furniture.

      1. This process involves cleaning the dust, dirt and mildew, and then removing the top layer of the wood that has bleached either by manual sanding or by chemical sanding.
      2. If using the Manual Sanding approach, First clean the teak furniture using steps 2. or 3. above. Let the product dry in the sun and then use a sander (120 grit) to remove the top layer of the wood (less than 1/32nd of an inch).
      3. If using Chemical Sanding approach follow the steps below.
      4. You can use a combination of a wood brightener (chemical) and garden hose/pressure washer to achieve the original brown color again.
      5. There are several products on the market that are called "wood Brighteners" or 'Wood Cleaners". They all conatin oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a chemical that dissoves cellulose effectively doing a chemical sanding.
      6. Apply the wood brighterner to the Teak Outdoor Furniture using the manufacturers directions for dilution. Let stand for 15 - 30 minutes and then hose off or lightlly use a pressure washer.
      7. The wood will look brown again - but the grain might be raised a little due to the moisture as well as the oxalic acid eating the cellulose along the grain. 
      8. Wait for the product to dry thoroughly, and if necesssary sand the exposed surfaces that you would normally touch with a quick sanding.
      9. Apply a sealer or UV protector to the wood after it has been cleaned and sanded and dried to preserve its brown color. Please note the wood has to be very dry to prevent moisture being trapped below the sealer and allowing mold to grow.

If you let the food stains remain, they will slowly fade over time with exposure to the elements. The cleaning processes described above are only necessary if you wish to remove the stain quickly or the furniture is heavily solied.

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