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.

Treated Teak Furniture

Teak is an excellent material for outdoor furniture and decking.
  1. Rinse treated teak furniture that's been exposed to the elements with a garden hose to remove surface dirt and debris.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


  • 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.

About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.