How To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture in 5 Easy Steps

How To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture in 5 Easy Steps

April 16, 2024

So you’ve invested in some stunning teak furniture for your outdoor space and want to keep it that way. But how do you keep your gorgeous new patio table clean and free of grime and gunk?

The good news is that cleaning your pieces doesn’t take long or require expensive tools. Keep reading to learn all about teak wood and how to clean your outdoor furniture to ensure it looks amazing for years to come.

Table of Contents


What Is Teak Wood?


Before diving into cleaning best practices, let’s talk a little about teak wood. While teak wood is a phenomenal choice when it comes to outdoor patio furniture, you do want to take care when cleaning your pieces to guarantee your outdoor furniture stays like new.

Because of its unique composition, it’s a little different from other types of wood, so it can require some special care.

First of all, teak is a tropical hardwood known for its durability and strength. It also contains natural oils that make it extremely weather-resistant.

That means it can withstand rain, wind, snow, humidity, and even salt spray. You can see why teak wood is a top choice for outdoor chairs, tables, and other furniture.

However, teak wood changes color over time — the golden honey color weathers into a sliver-gray patina. Humidity, changes in lighting, and dampness can all speed up this transformation.

Some people appreciate the aged look of patinated teak, while others prefer the original color. If you’d like to keep your furniture its original shade, you’ll find tips for maintaining the wood with a teak sealer further down in the article.

But first, let’s look at how to keep your outdoor furniture clean.

How To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture

Whether or not you let your teak pieces patinate, you’ll want to keep the dirt off them to maintain their beautiful look. These five steps will do the trick.

1) Gently scrub with soapy water

For routine cleaning, you only need a bucket of warm water and some mild soap. This solution will remove dirt and grime without damaging the wood.

Use a rag to apply the mixture to each piece of furniture. With a little elbow grease, you should get it looking like new in no time.

If you have any stubborn spots, use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the surface. Be careful not to use anything too abrasive that could scratch the wood.

2) Use diluted bleach for mold

While teak furniture is excellent at withstanding humidity, there may come a time when you need to put a little extra care into your furniture to remove any mold or mildew that has appeared.

To get rid of these unwanted guests, mix a solution that’s ½ cup of regular bleach and 1 gallon of water.

Wearing gloves, use a sponge to apply the solution to the affected areas. Let it sit for about five minutes before rinsing it off with water.

3) Apply teak cleaner for stubborn stains

Sometimes soapy water isn’t strong enough to remove a stubborn stain, especially if grease has gotten on your furniture. In that case, you’ll need a special teak cleaner.

You can purchase this product online or in your local hardware store. Follow the instructions on the bottle to get rid of any pesky stains!

4) Rinse carefully

After cleaning, rinse your furniture thoroughly. Any soap or bleach residue left behind could cause discoloration or damage the wood over time.

Use a garden hose to rinse each piece, removing all traces of the cleaning solution. Though you may be tempted to use a pressure washer, don’t. High-pressure water will strip away the teak’s natural oils that protect it from the elements.

5) Let your furniture dry in the shade

The sun’s rays evaporate the moisture washing leaves behind. Unfortunately, if the evaporation happens too quickly, your wood can split or crack.

Let your furniture dry naturally in the shade to keep this from happening. It may take longer, but it helps prevent damage. Once your pieces are completely dry, you can return them to their original location and use them again.

How Often To Clean Your Teak Outdoor Furniture

Now you know how to clean teak outdoor furniture, but how often should you be cleaning it? Keep reading to find out.

Deep clean

To keep your furniture looking its best, do a deep cleaning at least once a year. This should involve checking for mold and mildew, cleaning any grime, and ensuring it dries completely.

Quick clean

While an annual deep cleaning is important, your furniture might need a little extra work before then. Do a spot cleaning any time you notice:

  • Spilled food or drink
  • Dirt or other debris
  • Bird droppings
  • Mold or mildew growth

Use a soft washcloth and hot, soapy water to remove any stains or debris. Then, rinse the furniture carefully and let it dry in the shade.

Final Tips on How To Clean Teak Outdoor Furniture

To keep your teak outdoor furniture looking beautiful, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind.

Prevent water stains

While teak is naturally water-resistant, it’s not completely immune to water stains. Its natural oils can become more apparent when exposed to water, rain, humidity, or other liquids. This can cause the wood to appear darker or uneven in places.

To protect your furniture from water stains, take the following precautions:

  • Use coasters or placemats for drinks on your tables
  • Avoid leaving wet towels or clothes on the back of your chairs
  • Wipe up any spills immediately
  • Remove cushions after a rainstorm to avoid trapped water

If you notice water stains, don’t worry. You can typically remove them by sanding the area with 120-grit sandpaper. Use a light hand and always rub in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damage.

Cover in the winter

While teak wood is uniquely equipped to withstand rain and snow and doesn’t need to be covered in the winter, you may still want to opt for a furniture cover for extra protection if you live in an area that has particularly harsh weather.

If you plan on using a furniture cover, look for one that’s breathable. Otherwise, moisture can build up underneath and encourage mold growth.

Maintain the original color if desired

As we mentioned earlier, without some maintenance, your teak furniture won’t stay brown forever. Over time, it will patina into a beautiful silvery gray.

But if you want to slow this natural color change, you can apply a teak sealer each year to seal the wood and prevent a patina from developing on your teak pieces.

Here’s a quick look at how to use a teak sealer to keep your furniture looking new:

Test your products

Before applying teak sealer you should always perform a spot test. Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours. If there aren’t any adverse effects, you can proceed with the full application.

Always follow the instructions on your product, as different sealers may have varying application techniques. For example, you may need to leave your furniture in a sunny spot for a few weeks before the treatment to help prepare the wood.

Use gloves and goggles

Take precautions to protect yourself when applying a teak sealer by wearing gloves and eye protection. You’ll also want to stay in a well-ventilated area for the application. If you can do it outdoors, that’s even better.

Protect from UV rays

Direct sunlight causes the sealer to evaporate too quickly. For best results, move your furniture into a shaded area after application. It can take up to 12 hours to dry.

Enjoy Ash & Ember Outdoor Teak Furniture

Congratulations! You’re now equipped with the knowledge of how to clean teak outdoor furniture and keep it looking great. Regular cleaning and maintenance will allow you to enjoy your Ash & Ember teak pieces for many years to come.

Whether you’re cleaning an Acadia Grade A Teak Folding Bar Cabinet, a Savannah Grade A Teak Adirondack Chair, or any of our other stunning pieces, the above steps can help you maintain their natural beauty.