Cleaning Teak Wood Products
If your Teak furniture or planters requires cleaning this can be done with VERY soft brush or pad and some warm mildly soapy water. Wash down afterwards with clean water. There are also proprietary cleaners on the market which can also be used to clean off various deposits and accumulated dirt and stains.
We do not recommend the use of high pressure hoses, and steel wool or steel wire brushes should not be used at all as any residue left in the grain will rust and discolor the wood.
If the furniture or planters has some stubborn and heavily ingrained stains these can be removed by sanding with a fine grade of sandpaper, being sure to work only with the direction of the timber grain. After sanding stains away like this, if the furniture was previously teak oiled you may wish to re-oil, or if it had previously been left natural, the fresh teak color exposed by sanding will soon mellow in with the existing silver gray patina.
Periodically, (...how often depends on how dirty your teak is), unfinished teak must be deep cleaned to remove mold and bacteria that are the cause of those unsightly black specks and blotches, and to get rid of the gray color of an oxidized surface. Deep cleaning can be accomplished using commercial solutions designed especially for teak or by using less aggressive solutions that you can make up yourself. Some of the commercial products include: Snappy Teak-Nu® , (2 part system), and Tip Top Teak Cleaner®, (available both as a dry crystal and in liquid form). Most of the commercial products have one thing in common; they are acid based products and work by dissolving the top layer of the wood. For the most part, they all work well but because they are removing expensive wood, the life of your teak is being diminished with every application. Try not to use these products more often than annually.
I prefer to deep clean unfinished teak using a simple, and inexpensive, non commercial solution of household ammonia and a concentrated high phosphate detergent such as Wisk®. In a five gallon bucket, add one or two quarts of sudsy ammonia and half a cap full of the detergent per quart. The ammonia does a good job on the organics and the detergent takes care of general dirt and oils.
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