Teak Cleaner and Maintenance

At Indian Ocean we have been asked many a time as to what the best treatment is for teak furniture. Two questions before I answer that are:

  • Would you like to do it the easy way in the hope that your furniture will last for at least some period of time or
  • Would you like to do it properly so that it may last many years to come and in some cases, customers have sold their property with the value of the teak furniture included in the price.

Both ways are easy really and it just needs to be a habit like mowing the lawn to maintain your furniture although you will not need to do it so often.


  • Teak in itself contains a high level of natural oil and characteristically is the best timber to withstand heat, cold, rain and temperature changes.
  • Because of the “photosensitivity” of teak, the appearance will after some months turn to a “silver grey”. This is only the loss of colour in the exposed surface of the wood and is caused by light, moisture and oxygen.
  • To clean off garden debris, moss, mildew or other deposits, untreated teak can be cleaned simply with a medium stiff bristle brush and soapy water.  High pressure water hosing is not necessary.
  • Wire wool and wire brushes should not be used if the furniture is going to be exposed to moisture because tiny pieces of metal left on the surface will rust and develop into black spots.
  • Fat and oil based products should be used with care as they will stain the furniture. Often these are not permanent and the cleaning process outlined above will ameliorate the unsightliness of the blemish.
  • Stubborn stains or deposits can be rubbed away with a fine grade sandpaper (in the direction of the grain only). the original teak brown colour, which appears due to the use of sandpaper, will soon become the same colour as the rest of the furniture.
  • Teak oil does not increase the lifetime or resistance of teak to the elements. the only effect of applying a thin film of oil to teak furniture is to darken the original colour of the teak and maintain that colour. Eventually the oil will have to be reapplied to continue this and the old oiled surface will need very careful preparation.
  • Furniture should be only be treated with teak oil when it is completely dry. If the wood is not completely dry, when oiled, black specks will appear as the oil dries – these are unsightly and difficult to remove. Furniture that has been treated with teak oil also has to be cleaned regularly with soap and water (dust and moss collect on the oiled surface).
  • Indian Ocean do not recommend the use of teak oil and suggest using our own products for the best results. Which brings me to the alternative of the abovementioned.


I will start this section with a few FAQs that we have had in the hope of answering your own questions:

I have just purchased a new set of teak garden furniture and want to ensure that it retains its original colour. How can I prevent it from weathering to a grey patina?

Apply Teak Care Sealer 3 before using your furniture. The sealer contains UV filters that work for approximately 5-7 months depending on conditions. Over time the layer will wear thin and disappear completely. In order to apply a new layer to prevent discolouration, first treat with Teak Care Cleaner 1, then 2 and then only 3 again. Always clean the surface first before applying a new layer of protective sealant.

How can I restore my teak garden furniture to its original condition if it has weathered already for a number of years?

First treat the furniture with Teak Care Cleaner 1. This removes all dirt, green buildup, black stains and water stains. The apply Teak Care Cleaner 2 to restore the original colour and shine of the wood. Finally, treat with Teak Care Sealer 3 to apply a protective layer which will prevent the wood from weathering to a grey finish and also prevents dirt and stains from sticking to it.

My teak furniture is very grey and I wish to maintain it that way, however, there are small black stains on the legs and arms. What are these?

The grey film offers no protection for your furniture. The small black marks are mould stains which lie deeply engrained within the surface. You can remove these mould stains with Teak Care Cleaner 1. First wet the furniture with water, then apply the product with a sponge or lint free cloth and leave to act for 5 mins. The stains can then be removed with a stiff nylon brush. Rinse with water and leave to dry. Take no action if the surface is not evenly grey after this treatment as it will weather after some time.

How do I remove wine and grease stains form my teak furniture without affecting the protective layer of Teak Care Sealer 3?

You can remove wine and grease stains with Teak Care Cleaner 1. In this case, dilute the cleaner with water (ratio 1:1). remove stains with a sponge or lint free cloth and then rinse off with clean water. This will not attack the protective layer.

Do the products attack metal surfaces such as aluminium or brass?

It is advisable to cover aluminium parts with masking tape when treating your furniture with Teak Care Cleaner 1&2. Teak Care Cleaner 2 contains diluted oxalic acid. The top aluminium layer needs to be sufficiently anodised if this product is not to cause any stripes. Teak care Cleaner 1&2 do not attack brass items.

What should I do to protect my teak garden furniture for the winter?

In principle, you can leave your furniture standing outside. It is advisable to clean the furniture during Autumn with Teak Care Cleaner 1&2. It is also better to cover the furniture during the winter months with a tarpaulin because it gets very dirty. If you don’t wish to cover the furniture, it is advisable to treat it before winter sets in using Teak Care Sealer. this prevents green algae deposits, weather stains and also the furniture does not pick up as much dirt either.

What sort of lifetime does teak furniture have and how can I get the most enjoyment from my furniture?

Teak has a very long lifetime. The important thing is to keep the furniture well maintained. To retain the furniture’s warm colour and shine, it is recommended that you treat it 1-2 times a year with Teak Care. In addition, regular maintenance makes it easier to remove dirt and other deposits. In short, if you maintain your garden furniture well, it will give you years of pleasure.


Untreated Teak Table

Untreated Teak Table

Premium Teak Care Cleaner 1

The first step in complete restoration of teak and other fine woods. It removes all deeply engrained dirt and stains. Also recommended for regular minor furniture maintenance jobs such as the removal of water, food and wine stains.

Indian Ocean Teak Cleaner

Indian Ocean Teak Cleaner

Premium Teak Care Cleaner 2

Bleaches back the wood to its original colour and removes the grey film. Restoring the top surface, it opens up the pores of the wood so that the protective solution, Teak Care Sealer 3, can soak in for optimum effect.

Indian Ocean Teak Cleaner 2 (Brightener)

Indian Ocean Teak Cleaner 2 (Brightener)

Premium Teak Care Sealer 3

For long term protection against rapid weathering. Polymers make the wood waterproof (whilst still letting it breathe) and prevent it from becoming black. Premium Teak Care Sealer 3 is superior to all other types of teak sealers.

Indian Ocean Teak Sealer

Indian Ocean Teak Sealer


The Result

The Result

To make the best investment you have ever made with guaranteed results, click here.

To see our range of furniture covers, click here.


~ by Indian Ocean - Inspirational Outdoor Furniture on July 15, 2009.

8 Responses to “Teak Cleaner and Maintenance”

  1. I have already used teak oil on a four month old table. I would like to extend the nice color. I do not want to sand the oil of and start again.
    Can I use teak sealer 3 to extend the color life and how long can I expext it to work.

    • Many thanks for your query. Unfortunately you will not be able to use the Teak Sealer 3 on top of the oil as it is a resin base and needs to bind with the oils in the teak wood to work effectively. For the best effect we would suggest cleaning the furniture with our Teak Cleaner and then the Brightener and then using the Sealer. No sanding required. Unfortunately we cannot advocate the use of any other product but there are a number of products on the market that might be better for what it is that you require i.e. to top up an already oiled teak product.

  2. i have indoor teak furniture. how do i make that shine? dining room table; book cases, chairs?

    • Thank you for your query. Whilst we have a number of clients who do use their furniture indoors with our Teak Maintenance products and very successfully, we cannot advise on this as the product is manufactured for outdoor use. However, in your case the sealer would not give a shine as it is a matt finish. There are a number of products on the market that you could source and probably best to ask your local supplier what would be best for indoors in particular.

  3. Does this cause any discoloration?

    • Thank you for your query. Ultimately, the only discolouration experienced is a slight darkening of the wood as the sealer saturates the teak as you see it in the imagery. It does NOT leave a yellowy or orangery effect like that of linseed and some other products on the market. The sealer also leaves a matt finish, not a gloss finish as you would experience with varnish. However, I do stress that the wood must be completely dry before applying the sealer as you do not want to trap any moisture.

  4. I live on Cape Cod on the ocean and it seems the elements take their tole quickly. When clean and sand my teak to a “like new” condition and put teak oil on it, it’s only a matter of a few weeks before it starts to weather and begins to turn grey. If I used your three part system with the sealer, how long will it stay in that mint condition before it starts to weather and turn grey? – thank you for fielding my question

    • Thank you for yor query and I do understand your predicament particularly when living so close to the water. Recently we updated our products to include only a two part system and no longer a three part. Unfortunately I have not updated the blog as yet as we are awaiting on new imagery of the cleaning process so that we can update the instructions along with tips in maintaining your furniture. The new system is now a Cleaner & Restorer in one and then a Sealer. These are available on the Indian Ocean website if you click here. Again the imagery has not been updated but the information and product is there.

      Back to your query…it is difficult to gauge the longevity of a product particularly when the weather is so unpredictable. UV is what ‘greys’ your furniture more than anything and so it is UV protection that is needed in addition to protection from water and salt. Also with the Indian Ocean system, there is no need to sand down your furniture, just a thorough medium scrub with a nylon bristled brush. In our experience and this is from customer feedback in the UK and abroad, living near the ocean and using the Indian Ocean Teak Maintenance Product, they have managed to keep a good looking set for anything from 3-6 Months with regular application of the Sealer and covering during the winter months. Once you notice the furniture greying, apply a layer on top the the existing layer after cleaning it down and letting it dry properly. It is much like applying a sun screen to your furniture. Unfortunately we cannot put a timescale to the efficacy of the product and if in doubt, please refer to the manufacturer for more details. The link to their website is here.

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