How to Care for Teak Outdoor Furniture to Keep it Looking Like New


Teak is a low-maintenance hardwood, making it a popular choice among homeowners. Teak is also a favorite for outdoor furniture because of its durability, natural beauty, and resistance to mold and rot. We outline how to care for teak outdoor furniture – which will be especially useful for teak garden furniture – and to preserve its natural beauty for years to come.

When it comes to a maintenance regimen, caring for your chic teak furniture will depend on what appearance you want it to have as part of your patio or garden furniture. You can elect to maintain the teak wood’s honey-colored appearance or allow it to patina with age. Both are normal results of an aging process. If you decide you no longer want a patina to the furniture, it can be reversed.

Teak is one of those rare woods that is like a fine wine – it only improves as it ages. You may allow your furniture to attain a natural weathering. Allowing it to do this makes it maintenance-free while creating a gorgeous, aged appearance.

If you don’t want to generate an aged look with your teak wood furniture, you can keep the teak’s golden hue by using products that will preserve the wood. This involves cleaning your teak patio or garden furniture annually. Furthermore, caring for teak is just as easy over the winter months as it is at other times of the year.

Teak Furniture Considerations

Sunny forest of teak wood trees

Teak wood comes from a hard, dense, deciduous tree from tropical regions like Thailand or Burma. It is considered the most valuable wood in the world and is unrivaled in its beauty and strength.

Teak has a natural resin that resembles a rubber-like appearance. Resin provides a natural repellent against the damage of termites and insects. While there are some myths that indicate termites don’t devour teak, the truth is they do. It needs to be protected.

The natural oils found in teak will prevent it from any dry rot.Teak material is so dense that it resists bending, cracking, and warping as time progresses.

Since teak has so many protective features, it tends to cost more compared to metal or wood furniture.

The Natural Aging Process

Before establishing a maintenance regimen, think about how you want your teak to look. When it is new, the color is honey brown accompanied by a polished finish due to the wood’s natural oils. When left to age, the oils evaporate. Within 9-12 months of being left outdoors, the UV light from the sun will turn your teak into a silverish grey patina.

The good news is the weathering will not impact the teak’s durability, but it does create a more aged appearance. Teak should be tailored to whatever look matches your style whether it is more polished in appearance or weathered.

How to Care for Teak Outdoor Furniture

Once you have decided what type of teak looks best for your outdoor space, you are able to decide what methods are best in caring for it. Weathered teak and polished teak require two different types of regimens to keep it in optimal condition. The good news is that the hardwood is so durable, and so maintenance-free, that these regimens are only required to be conducted annually.

Caring for Weathered Teak

Weathered teak wooden chair with patina finish

Since weathered teak provides an aged finish, it needs only minimal care. This is the main reason that homeowners allow their teak to patina. Allowing it to attain a weathered patina is easy. It occurs naturally when outdoor furniture absorbs the sun’s UV rays for 5-12 months. After this duration, it should have developed a nice patina.

The process can be accelerated by using graying agents or whiteners. This will provide a more silver appearance to teak furniture. It will also assist in preventing a build-up of mildew and dirt.

Caring for Natural Teak

To maintain that beautiful honey brown exterior, protecting the furniture against the sun is a must. Place teak furniture or pieces under shades, covers, or places that do not receive direct sun. Teak oil, sealer, or color guards can be used to prevent the furniture from showing signs of aging.

If a weathering process has already begun, a good teak cleaner or hand-sanding it using a fine-grit sandpaper will remove the patina. It will perfectly restore it back to its original honey appearance.

Cleaning Teak Furniture

Teak furniture, as mentioned, needs to be cleaned annually. You can use a combination of mild, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and stains that may have accumulated. For the best results, always scrub with the teak’s grain. This can be done prior to the summer season where all you need to do is dust it using a soft cloth to keep it clean.

Mildew and mold cleaners are useful in preventing mold and mildew from damaging the furniture. If your furniture serves as an eating area, consider using a stain-shield. Stain-shields prevent stains from permanently adhering to the wood and prevents it from seeping through.

If stains already exist, you can lightly sand the surface using a fine-grit sandpaper. One option is to use an iron to remove water stains, although the results may vary.

While many homeowners feel that teak requires an annual oiling, this may not be true. Teak oil is not useful in preventing the furniture from fading and may cause mildew. Teak already contains natural oils. Using a sealer is better since it protects against the furniture losing its natural color.

As important as it is to know the proper care for teak furniture, knowing what not to use is equally vital. Teak must never be pressure washed. Doing this will roughen and scour the surface of the wood. Steel wool should also be avoided as it generates rust spots.

Does it Need to Be Stored Over the Winter?

Covering the furniture isn’t completely necessary since it can be left uncovered in any type of environment. If you want to properly care for the wood despite its hardiness, select a furniture cover for the winter or for when it is not in use. 

Select a material which allows the piece to breathe while providing adequate protection from the environment. Since you are following the tips for proper care of your teak furniture, it is good to take that last extra step to preserve its natural beauty. 

Final Thoughts

Teak is a durable hardwood that is almost maintenance-free. When it comes to how to care for teak outdoor furniture, it requires very little maintenance depending on whether your intent is preserving the natural color or allowing it to achieve a natural patina. Either way, maintenance is only necessary once a year to keep your teak in its best condition.