Teak is a type of tropical hardwood native to parts of Asia, mainly in the southeast. It is known for its durability and is commonly used as a material for building boats. Teak’s natural oils help make its timber resistant from pests and termites, which makes it an ideal material for furniture.
Teak furniture can be bought treated or untreated. Treated teak furniture is coated with teak oil. Buying furniture made of teak is a good investment as the wood requires only little maintenance and is naturally impervious to rot and mold. It can, however, accumulate mildew over time and discoloration may occur if left long enough to the elements.
Cleaning teak furniture only requires dusting and occasional washing using water and mild detergent. Despite being water-resistant, it is not recommended to soak the wood in water or use a pressure washer to wash away stains as this will damage the wood surface. But for tough stains, store-bought teak cleaners may be used.
For a homemade cleaning solution which can be applied to both outdoor and indoor furniture, mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of warm water. Be sure to use a soft brush with a plastic bristle or a cloth to apply the mixture to the furniture. Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
Outdoor furniture can be harder to clean. If store-bought cleaners and homemade cleaning solutions do not work, use sandpaper or steel wool to remove the stain. Avoid using too much force if possible and make sure to only use these on untreated teak furniture.
To preserve teak’s color and retain its golden honey hue, apply tung or teak oil. This should only be done once the furniture is completely clean and dry. A coat of sealant can also be applied to protect the wood. Outdoor teak furniture needs constant oiling (at least every 3 months) to retain its original color.
Adopting teak’s untreated look is also preferable to some. The silver-gray finish naturally appears when the furniture is left outdoors and the graying serves to protect the wood. If a shifting of the grain or a few cracks appear, do not fret. The wood surface will return to its original smooth finish when the weathering process is completed.
Treated or untreated, there is no question on teak’s superiority as the wood of choice for outdoor furniture.
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