How to Protect Teak Furniture


Tectona grandis, or teak, is a hardwood product indigenous to Indonesia. Used in the production of high-end deck and patio furniture, teak was historically employed to construct ship decks because of its durability. Teak is a practical, easy to maintain material that resists shrinking, warping and rotting, making it an ideal material for outdoor furniture. A honey-colored wood, teak develops a silver-gray luster from exposure to the sun, so the method of caring for teak is highly dependent upon the desired finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Fine-grain sandpaper
  • Warm soapy water
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Teak oil
  • Soft cotton rag

Treated Teak Furniture

  • Rinse treated teak furniture that's been exposed to the elements with a garden hose to remove surface dirt and debris.

  • Use warm, soapy water and a soft-bristle scrub brush to thoroughly scrub teak furniture clean. Rinse with a garden hose to remove soap and dislodged debris. Repeat this process if necessary to ensure the teak is completely clean. Allow the furniture to dry completely.

  • Apply a light coat of teak oil to treated teak furniture with a clean cotton cloth when desired. Always apply teak oil to furniture in an open, airy space, as teak oil is toxic. Allow at least 24 hours for the teak oil to be absorbed before using the furniture.

Untreated Teak Furniture

  • Rinse untreated teak furniture with a garden hose to remove surface debris. Scrub with a soft-bristle brush and soapy water. Rinse to remove soap residue and allow the furniture to dry completely.

  • Sand untreated teak wood lightly with fine-grain sandpaper. Avoid this step when looking to maintain untreated teak's silver-gray patina. Rinse with a garden hose after sanding, to remove dust. Allow the furniture to dry completely.

  • Treat the furniture with teak oil using a clean cotton cloth. Always apply teak oil in an open space. Allow the teak oil to absorb for 24 hours before applying sealants.

  • Apply a manufacturer-recommended teak sealant to untreated teak wood if desired. Application of teak sealant can increase teak's lifespan and helps make it more mold resistant. Allow sealants to dry for 24 to 48 hours before using the furniture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Treat teak wood with olive oil for a less toxic alternative to teak oil.
  • Teak is highly weather resistant, so teak wood patio and deck furniture is safe to leave out in the elements all year.
  • Sealing teak furniture can increase its lifespan. Treat teak furniture after six or seven years for the best results.
  • Wear gloves when applying teak oil, which is toxic. Also avoid breathing teak oil fumes when possible.
  • Avoid over-sanding teak wood, as over-sanding can damage the wood.
  • Avoid leaving teak wood furniture by swimming pools, as treated pool water might be harmful to the teak.

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  • Photo Credit empty chair image by Scott Slattery from
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