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From Our Blog

Caring for Your Teak Outdoor Furniture

Chelsea / Wainscott Dining from Kingsley-Bate

Teak furniture requires little, if any, maintenance and can be left outdoors year-round to weather naturally. We recommend that you allow your teak furniture to weather naturally this way and simply clean it thoroughly once or twice a year with soap and water.

If you prefer the golden-brown color of new teak, you may use teak cleaner and protector to restore your weathered furniture to its original luster. This process is very simple, does not require heavy scrubbing, and will take about 30 minutes for one bench.

The teak experts at Kingsley-Bate have put together the following tips for caring for your teak outdoor furniture.

How does teak wood weather?

Teak wood furniture, when exposed to the outdoors, will form a handsome silver-gray patina. This process will take approximately nine months, depending on the amount of sunlight and rain exposure. (The weathering process will occur faster in moist climates and slower in dry climates.) The end result is furniture with a timeless appeal.

During the weathering process you may notice “checking” or small cracks that appear in the wood. This is perfectly natural, as wood expands and contracts slightly when left outdoors. Checking is cosmetic only and in no way affects the structural integrity of the furniture. Checking is not covered by warranty.

A lifting of the grain may occur on the top edges of the arms and legs. The grain will return to its original smooth finish after the initial weathering process. To aid this process, simply clean the furniture with a soft bristle brush or sponge as indicated in our cleaning instructions.

Water spots or other discoloration may also occur during the weathering process. These will even out with time and with periodic cleaning, the furniture will achieve a uniform silver-gray.

Do I need to clean my teak furniture before using it the first time?

Yes.  Before placing cushions on your teak furniture, remove any dust from manufacturing by wiping the furniture with a damp cloth. Teak has oil that occurs naturally in the wood. Expect some of this oil to bleed out following the first few rainfalls. In order to protect your cushions, bring them inside before the furniture gets wet. Stains from teak oil are not covered under warranty.  Also, to protect your sling furniture, move sling chairs out from under teak tables for the first few rainfalls. Once the furniture has begun to form a silver-gray patina, it is no longer necessary to bring the cushions indoors or move sling chairs. This information also applies to fabric umbrella canopies used on teak umbrella frames.

How should I clean my teak furniture?

The only maintenance necessary for your furniture is periodic cleaning. First, hose down the furniture with fresh water. Avoid spraying the teak with a high pressure hose, as high pressure can erode the surface of the timber. Next, scrub the wet furniture using a soft bristle brush and a solution of 2/3 cup laundry detergent and 1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of warm water. When finished, rinse the entire piece with more fresh water to remove any remaining cleaning solution.  This procedure is sufficient for general cleaning. For more difficult stains we recommend using Kingsley Bate Teak Cleaner. This will remove the silver-gray patina and restore the furniture to a golden brown color.

How can I protect my teak table from food and drink stains?

Kingsley Bate’s Teak Shield is a completely transparent product that makes it difficult for stains from red wine, salad oil, and coffee to penetrate wood, so that fresh spills can be wiped away with a damp cloth.  Teak Shield can be used on clean, naturally weathered wood, or on furniture that has been treated with our Teak Protector.  We recommend applying it two or more times per year depending on use and exposure.

Do I need to bring my cushions indoors when it rains?

Teak has oil that occurs naturally in the wood. Expect some of this oil to bleed out following the first few rainfalls. In order to protect your cushions, bring them inside before the furniture gets wet. Stains from teak oil are not covered under warranty. Once the furniture has begun to form a silver-gray patina, it is no longer necessary to bring the cushions indoors.

How can I prevent my teak from turning silver-gray if I want to maintain the golden brown color?

If you prefer to keep your teak wood a golden brown color, we recommend using Kingsley Bate Teak Protector. This is a purely cosmetic application.  The product will maintain the golden brown color for approximately one season and can be reapplied as needed. You should wait two weeks before applying the protector to newly assembled furniture. We strongly recommend you try it on a small area of your furniture first–such as the back of a leg or the underside of a chair– to ensure you like the results before applying it to the entire piece.

Is it okay to oil my teak furniture?

We do not recommend oiling teak furniture or the use of oil based products.  If done improperly, oiling can cause mildew or irregular coloring and is not covered under warranty.

How should teak furniture be stored for the winter?

Teak furniture may be left outside all year round without an outdoor furniture cover. Snow and freezing temperatures will not harm the furniture. If you prefer to store your furniture, we recommend doing so in a dry, unheated garage or garden shed.

How should I care for teak if it’s used indoors?

If you choose to use your furniture indoors, we suggest that you periodically apply a thin coat of paste wax, (i.e., Briwax or Johnson’s Wax). Doing so provides the teak with additional protection from natural body oils, dust, and dirt that may come in contact with the furniture.

What are the black dots on my teak furniture?

Although teak wood itself will not mildew, mildew sometimes grows on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the wood.  This occurs more commonly in warm, humid climates.

If this happens, follow the standard cleaning instructions immediately. Do not let the mildew remain on the wood for too long. Doing so could cause stains on the wood that are difficult to remove.

How can I prevent mildew on my teak furniture?

We recommend periodically cleaning the surface of your teak to remove environmental deposits that could promote mildew growth.  Teak Shield has also been shown to impede mildew growth.

Should furniture with slings be stored in freezing temperatures?

Yes, we do recommend storing or covering furniture with slings in freezing temperatures. The upholstery (sling) should not be exposed to snow or ice, as this may result in damage. The best place to store furniture is a dry garage, garden shed, or basement. If furniture covers will be used, they should allow for proper ventilation.