How To Clean And Refinish Teak Furniture

Teak is a beautiful wood and is frequently used in high-end outdoor furniture. Teak resists rotting, warping, and weathering much better than many other kinds of wood. Still, this tough wood eventually shows signs of aging and needs occasional servicing to maintain its luster and beauty. So, how do you clean and refinish teak furniture?

To clean teak furniture, you must remove the weathered layers of exposed wood, either by sanding or power washing. Follow that with a suitable chemical cleaning, and scuff sand the surface again with a fine-grit sandpaper. Finally, finish with a layer of sealant with or without stain.

Teak wood is strong, tough, lustrous, water-resistant, and highly durable. It has a fine, straight grain and is resistant to decay, insects, and fungi. In fact, teak furniture is noted for its ability to last for decades without any deterioration. This article will show you how to keep your teak furniture looking its finest for many years to come.

How Can I Clean or Refinish My Teak Furniture?

Woman painting wooden exotic wood table in the garden with a brush

A newly finished wooden furniture piece is bright, gold-colored, and shiny because of the natural oils within the wood. Teak wood is saturated with these oils, making a waterproof protective barrier and preserving the wood from cracking or splitting.

Unfortunately, over time the exposed outer layer of teak loses the oils to sunlight and everyday use and begins to fade in color. Eventually, your bright gold teak furniture turns into a grey, weathered shade. But don’t worry. You can easily clean and restore your teak to its golden glory.

Teak restoration is a three-step process. If you have some DIY skills, the process is quite simple.

Step 1: Sanding down the weathered surface

Bring your furniture to a well-lit and ventilated area. We recommend using an electric sander since it’s faster and neater than manual sanding.

Of course, you need proper protection. So don’t forget to wear eye goggles, dust masks, earplugs, and work gloves.

Use an 80 grit coarse abrasive paper, and make sure to go with the grain. If your teak furniture is very old, you may need to sand it down a little more.

You may need to sand some tricky areas manually, like the corners. After sanding, remove all the dust with a clean cloth or soft brush, then rinse the furniture with water.

Step 2: Cleaning the furniture

The second step involves using a good cleaning agent. The cleaner will remove fungal or algal spores, dust, and dirt. Many cleaning agents use bleach and hydrochloric acid.

They actually damage the wood over time, so strictly avoid using such chemicals and use cleaners specifically made for teak.

If your furniture isn’t in too bad of a condition, you can skip step 1 and just clean the surface with a natural cleaner.

Use a clean cloth or a soft brush and apply the a cleansing agent like Golden Care Teak Cleaner (on Amazon) while the wood is still wet. Then, using a scourer or soft brush, work the chemical in a circular motion. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with water and wipe dry. Don’t forget to wear gloves since these cleaners are caustic in nature.

Go over with the sander once again. This time use a fine 100 to 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out marks and scratches.

Step 3: Applying the teak sealer

This is the most crucial step – a sealer will protect your furniture from UV penetrating the wood and will also create a water barrier. You can find a lot of “teak oil” in stores. It’s widely branded as a teak sealer, but it’s actually linseed oil and doesn’t last very long.

So, we don’t recommend it. Instead, opt for a good-quality water-based teak sealer (on Amazon). They are easy to use with a brush, foam roller, or spray gun.

Sealers come in different stain colors or transparent finishes. So you can match your furniture to other elements in your home. Allow the sealer to dry for several hours before using the furniture.

What is the Best Way to Clean Teak Furniture?

There are so many ways to clean furniture that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Teak is a hardwood, so you get the liberty of using different cleaning methods.

Here you’ll find the best and safest ways to clean and refinish your teak outdoor furniture properly.


Sanding is by far the best way to refinish teak furniture. Sanding removes the worn-out layer that has lost its oils in the sun, leaving you with a fresh layer with the original oils intact.

You won’t need to apply additional oils or wax to the furniture after sanding.

Cleaning agents

Special teak cleaners are available to remove spots of dirt and even preserve against mold and mildew. Moreover, they can quickly bring the brightness back.

For example, the recommended Golden Care Teak Cleaner (on Amazon) that we referenced earlier is an eco-friendly water-based cleaner – it cleanses and shines teak with its unique formula and without leaving behind any oil or wax.

Power washing

Power washing is another good way to remove all sorts of dirt quickly. This method is a bit tough on the furniture, but it does a great job of removing dirt and mold out of the wood.

But you need to be careful with the washer, as too much pressure can create streaks and uneven surfaces. Practice in an inconspicuous area first and start in an upward direction.

How to Make My Old Teak Furniture Look New

Teak looks old when the outermost layer loses its oils due to the elements’ wear and tear. As a result, it turns into a greyish color with patches of dark spots.

This can be fixed by removing the worn-out layer and bringing out the fresh wood outside. As we mentioned above, there are two methods to do this: sanding and pressure washing.

If you want to refinish teak furniture, then sanding is the best way to get rid of unwanted layers. This method doesn’t only bring back the original color and luster, but it also fixes any streaks or roughness in the wood. However, sanding is a bit time-consuming and requires a lot of elbow grease.

If you’re in a hurry to fix your outdoor teak furniture for an upcoming party or event, then power washing is your best option. This method is quick and easy for removing stubborn stains on your furniture.

However, this method can be damaging if you’re not careful, so you need to know what you’re doing. Follow the abrasive session with a good quality teak cleaner. It’ll leave a shiny clean surface that’s ready to be sealed or stained.

To get the golden teak hues and save your furniture from UV damage, seal off the cleaned wood with teak sealer (on Amazon) with stains or use any wood waterproofing agent.

Be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow all safety precautions indicated by the manufacturer. Usually, they can either be applied with a brush or simply sprayed on using an air compressor.

With these basic steps, you can easily revive your furniture and get back to enjoying your outdoor space.

How to Restore Teak Furniture

Sanding a wood with orbital sander

Teak is a beautiful, natural wood that has become very popular for furniture. Unfortunately, it is also expensive, so it’s tempting to restore it rather than replace it when the furniture gets worn out.

As discussed above, you can get rid of the old worn-out finish by sanding away the top layer and then restoring the sheen by applying a new stain or sealant. Let’s go over our steps one more time.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Restoring Teak Furniture: 

  1. Sand your furniture with 80 grit sandpaper. We recommend using an electric sander for a faster job. Alternatively, if you have a power washer, you can use that to strip away the dirty, old surface. If you’re using a power washer, make sure not to get too close, or the high pressure could damage the wood.
  2. Clean off all dust and debris from sanding with a clean brush and then rinse off any remaining particles.
  3. Apply a good quality teak cleaner on wet furniture. Cover the entire surface with the cleaner and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse it off thoroughly and allow it to dry.
  4. Let it dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
  5. Scuff-sand the furniture with 100 grit sandpaper. This will further even out the surface and eliminate any remaining streaks, leaving the wood ready for the next step. Finally, brush off the remaining dust.
  6. It’s time to apply the stain to give the color and shine you’re looking for. Use a quality brush and apply the stain evenly in the direction of the wood’s grain. Do not over-apply. Thompson’s waterproofing wood stain (on Amazon) or Teak Care Teak Protector are good options.

    They come in different colors to match your furniture and can be used with a sprayer, so the application is quick and easy. If you prefer to use a clear sealer, you can skip this step or opt for Teak Patinizer to keep the weather grey appearance for your furniture.
  7. You have to preserve your new surface by applying a good quality sealant to the wood. There are many options available in different finishes. Choose one to suit your needs and let it dry thoroughly. The Teak Care Teak Sealer Shield is a good example. It provides protection against dirt and spills and enhances the wood’s appearance. Use a sponge to coat the surface and leave it to dry evenly.

What is the Best Stain or Sealant for Teak Furniture?

Teak wood is popular for its beauty and durability, so it’s no surprise that there are exclusive products devoted to refinishing and restoring teak furniture. Teak is a remarkable wood with lots of natural oils and fine grains, so its maintenance is focused on protecting these features.

So many products on the market guarantee to bring back the shine of your teak furniture, but Teak Care products have actually gained the trust of thousands of customers. Many bloggers recommend them, and you can read raving reviews from buyers.

Teak Care is bringing back the beauty of old teak by restoring the wood and protecting it from damage and wear. The Teak Care line includes four awesome products.

Teak Cleaner: A high concentration cleaner that cleanses and brightens the surface in one step. It also removes all the mold and spores to prevent future damage.

Teak Protector: A top-quality sealer that seeps into the wood and prevents excessive weathering. Unlike oil sealants, it leaves a beautiful golden brown finish and lasts for years.

Teak Patinizer: If you want to revive old teak furniture but also like to keep the weather patina grey finish, this patinizer is exactly what you need. It seals the finish and protects it from further damage without staining the surface.

Teak Sealer Sheild: A coat of sealer shield will protect the wood from any water damage. It also works as a dirt-repellent, so your furniture won’t be stained even if you spill coffee or lemonade on it.

All these products are specifically made to clean and protect teak furniture. So if you aim to make your furniture look new and last for a long time, these are the best solutions.

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