Long valued for its beauty and durability, teak is a go-to hardwood for indoor and outdoor furniture such as patio sets, mirrors, shower stools, bathroom vanities, and more. For centuries, the material has been used for everything from shipbuilding to home flooring. The wood is very dense and contains natural oils that repel water and make it unfavorable to pests and insects, including termites.
When exposed to the elements or placed in direct sunlight, teak will slowly turn from its original golden honey color to a soft, silvery gray. This patina process is completely normal. A low-maintenance material, teak requires very little upkeep to make your furniture last decades.
Day-to-day cleaning can be accomplished with warm water and a soft sponge or brush. To remove stains, you should use a cleaner formulated specifically for teak wood, such as Monocoat Natural Soap Spray. For a homemade cleaning agent, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water.
Before cleaning, dampen the surface with clean water. Any cleaning solution should be applied evenly using a soft cloth or sponge and allowed to soak into the wood for 10–15 minutes. Clean the surface using a sponge, scrubbing in-line with the grain of the wood. Avoid using any metal scrubbing pads, metal brushes, or rough sponges which can scratch or splinter the wood’s surface. When finished, lightly rinse the furniture with clean water. Pressure washers should never be used on teak, as it will damage the wood and cause discoloration.
To protect the teak from staining and discoloration, a wood protectant such as Monocoat Refresh Wood Protectant can be applied to the surface. A product such as Teak Guard sealant will protect your teak from UV rays and mold growth, and will infuse a long-lasting honey-colored finish to your wood. If left outdoors, extreme weather changes can cause the wood to crack, so it is recommended to cover the furniture or bring it indoors when not in use.
Many people choose to preserve the golden-honey pigment by applying a teak sealer. Doing so is optional and will not affect the durability or longevity of the wood but will help to preserve its color by slowing down the patina process. A proper teak sealer will protect the wood from the sun’s UV rays, and inhibits the growth of mildew. If you choose to seal your furniture, be sure that you use a sealer that is environmentally friendly and designed specifically for teak. Before sealing, clean the surface with a teak cleaning agent. Apply the sealer with a soft cloth; using a brush is not recommended.
Learn more about caring for teak by visiting our guide on How to Care for Teak Furniture.