There is countless information available regarding how to care for your outdoor teak furniture. And yet, despite the popularity of teak wood for mid-century modern furniture, there is little written regarding indoor teak furniture care.
Having taken the time to locate your perfect mid-century furniture, you now wish to keep this 50+ years old furniture in top condition. Letting this treasure shine as a showstopper in homes for generations to come.
Let’s dive into the tips that will help you keep the beauty of indoor teak furniture in great condition for years to come.
Table of Contents
How to clean and maintain indoor teak furniture
Teak furniture is extremely durable and means that your furniture item will require minimal effort to preserve its beauty indoors, just follow the easy steps below.
- Remove Dust: make dusting your piece part of your regular cleaning schedule. Use a soft cloth or a duster to white down the surface. You can use a damp cloth, but do not leave water behind.
- No harsh cleaners: Stay away from hard cleaners on your wood pieces. Simple soap cleaners work sufficiently and will not harm the surface of your piece. While you can purchase special teak cleaners, I would consider saving your money and using simple dish soap and water to wipe any dirt from your piece.
- Oil the wood: I personally opt to oil my teak furniture items twice a year. You can apply a furniture oil or Danish oil for indoor furniture pieces (but ensure it is a colourless oil unless you want to change the colour of your piece).
I add the oil with a soft, lint free cloth directly to the surface and wipe the whole piece down. Once finished, I take another lint free cloth and wipe the whole piece down so that no oil remains on the surface, and it is dry to the touch again.
These 3 simple steps I use for indoor teak furniture care. It cannot be easier.
By following these simple cleaning and maintenance practices, you can keep your indoor teak furniture looking beautiful and well-preserved for years to come.
What to consider when buying Teak Oil
You want to ensure that your oil is as natural as possible. It should only contain natural oils in the mixture. Avoid all products with silicone additives.
These additives will minimize the look of scratches short term but can affect the veneer and tones of the wood over time.
Tips for maintaining teak furniture.
In addition to the 3 easy steps for caring for your indoor teak furniture, take these tips into practice to ensure that your furniture remains beautiful for years to come.
- Use coasters – Protect your teak furniture from scratches and water spots by using coasters. I am a drill sergeant with the kids to use coasters!.
- Avoid Temperature changes – minimize extreme temperature changes to your furniture. This rule can be for all wood types, not only teak. Ensure the piece isn’t left near a drafty window or heating vent.
- Repair scratches – Try as hard as you might, you may find that your favourite piece of teak furniture has a scratch. What now? Consider whether it is necessary to fix. Some age marks will and should occur over 50+ years of use.
If you wish to try and remove scratches in your teak furniture, I recommend taking extra fine steel wool or sandpaper in a very high grit. 400 or higher and sand every so slightly the area. Ensure that you sand with the wood grain. Then oil the location as normal.
If you over sand, the wood may change colour, as you sand away years of sun damage or oil built up.
If your teak is veneer, you will need to sand extra carefully to avoid burn through. Check out all these helpful tips on sanding veneer.
Why teak is a popular choice for indoor furniture.
Teak wood is renowned for its durability, hardness, natural oil, and warm tones which range from golden yellow to deep reds, brown or even orange. This wood type was extremely popular from the 1950’s through into the 1970’s. Its warm tones matched perfectly with the colour patterns of the time.
Today this classic furniture is back in style. The clean lines and warm tones work perfectly with modern décor, while adding a touch of class and retro glam.
Teak is a naturally oily wood which gives it the added value of being less favourable for insects. While not immune, it is a wood type that can claim to have less insect activities then other types of wood. It is also this natural oil which creates this wood’s natural water resistance. There is a reason why there is so many examples of mid-century modern furniture made from teak, which remain in pristine condition still to this day.
Understanding the characteristics of Teak
Teak wood is native from south Asia and is now often ethically farmed in plantations around the world. It is important that modern day pieces of teak furniture are made from wood that is farmed in plantations. This way the native teak forests in south Asia can be protected.
The 5 Characteristics of Teak Wood
- Colour: Teak is famed for its golden-brown colouring. However, the younger woods will be more golden-yellow then brown. This is due to Teak darkening in colour as it ages.
- Grain: Teak wood grain is rather straight with only slight waves.
- Weight: As teak is a hardwood, it is dense and heavy.
- Texture: As mentioned, teak has a natural oil, that continues to remain in the wood.
- Scent: Due to the oiliness of the teak wood, there is also a very distinctive scent. Many consider it to be a smell like leather.
For more information on teak wood and how to identify it from other types of wood, check out the wood identification series which looks at teak.
Is your Teak Veneer or Solid Wood?
Firstly, let’s dive into the first important question regarding your prized teak furniture. Is it veneer or solid teak wood? Often furniture made of teak, was made from veneer rather than solid wood. It is not impossible to find solid pieces of teak wood.
5 steps to determine solid wood from veneer
- Is the grain ornate and repeats? It’s likely veneer.
- Does the grain not continue over the edge in the same pattern? It’s likely veneer.
- Can you see a small thin strip of wood along the back edge? It’s likely veneer.
- Wood Grain can be felt – it’s solid wood.
- Is the item heavy? It’s likely solid wood.
For more in-depth support on determining if your piece is solid wood or veneer, check out this full article.
Why it is important to know if your Teak is solid wood.
Solid teak furniture is usually always sealed or oiled. It is never protected with a water-based topcoat due to the natural oils in the wood. However, veneer teak is thin enough, that given the year’s and by taking the right steps, it could be top coated with a water-based product. If this is the case, then your piece would only need the first 2 of the below 3 steps for teak furniture care.
Ensure your teak furniture lives on
Vintage furniture may require additional care and maintenance from big box furniture. However, with the right steps and preventative measures, your indoor teak furniture care can be simplified and easy to do. A few simple steps and your 50+ year old vintage teak furniture will continue to draw eyes and for years to come.
Let me see your shining pieces of teak, leave a comment and save this article for future reference.