First things first: teak is expensive—it consistently ranks high on the list of expensive wood for furniture across the globe. Regarded as the furniture of royalty since the early 7th century, delicate care goes into cleaning and maintaining teak wood. If you had been wondering if you could pressure wash teak furniture, the answer is a hesitant “yes”, followed by a, “Why would you?”, explains ProClean Pressure Washing West Bloomfield, a provider of pressure washing in West Bloomfield.
Why Is Teak Expensive?
Teak is celebrated for its elegance, durability and many other properties. According to AquaTeak, a company that manufactures and sells teak furniture, Tectona grandis has the “highest decay resistance among all natural wood products” due its naturally high oil content. This natural oil, along with its rubber content, weatherproofs the wood, allowing it to last beautifully across generations.
Can You Pressure Wash Teak Furniture?
Here’s the thing — a pressure washer is a gift from the cleaning gods. The combination of high pressure and soapy water drastically cuts cleaning time by about 75%. With this convenience, it is highly tempting to use the pressure washer to clean just about anything.
Here is an anecdote shared by a reader to Inman, a real estate informational website: In 2006, a couple went away for a vacation when their well-meaning neighbor, equipped with a rented power washer, decided to do them a “favor” of pressure washing their gorgeous patina-stage teak patio furniture. The gesture would have been appreciated had the pressure washer not washed away the teak furniture’s natural luster and roughened up its wood grain. This story tells us that a neighbor with sincere intentions and a pressure washer could spell havoc on your expensive outdoor teak furniture.
Pressure washing teak furniture must be reserved for outrageous dirt that cannot be removed through conventional cleaning methods. The harsh pressure can drive away the wood’s natural oil, which is vital to keeping teak lovely and durable through years and years. Pressure washing, when done recklessly, can leave your teak furniture bumpy and pitted.
How to Pressure Wash Teak Furniture
When thinking of pressure washing teak furniture, extreme care is of utmost importance. If you couldn’t resist the call of the mighty pressure wash, here are crucial instructions lifted from the website of Atlanta Teak Furniture:
- Adjust the PSI of your pressure washer to its lowest. The higher the pressure, the more likely that you will damage your teak furniture.
- Pressure washers typically come with a variety of nozzles; use the widest nozzle for a more balanced cleaning power. The widest pressure washer nozzle usually has a 40-degree angle.
- Do not spray too closely to your teak furniture; allow a safe distance of 12 inches from the surface of the furniture.
- Start cleaning from the bottom of the teak furniture and gently work your way up to the top. This way, you get a feel of how much (or more correctly, how little) pressure is necessary to safely clean your furniture.
- Use gentle, even strokes instead of short, quick ones. The former will allow for balanced, complete cleaning while the latter will merely move the dirt around, requiring you to pass over the surface more times and thus, result in more unnecessary pressure.
How to Properly Care for Teak Furniture
The secret to teak furniture that lasts for decades is proper and diligent care. The great thing about teak is that it takes minimal effort to keep it in good shape. Its color can fade to gray over time without affecting its durability.
Here are some tips on caring for your teak furniture courtesy of Teak Patio Furniture World, an online resource center for everything teak:
- Resist the urge to use “teak oil”, which is more of a marketing ploy used by furniture sellers. Teak oil, in reality, is a combination of linseed oil and solvents. While it will effectively give your teak furniture an immediate attractive glow, it will dry out your furniture and will result in a faded exterior in the long run.
- Apply teak sealer. Unlike “teak oil”, teak sealer is water-based and will not affect the natural oil content of your teak furniture. Teak sealer can be applied merely once a year and does a great job of avoiding the oxidation of the wood and the evaporation of the oils.
- Schedule cleaning your teak furniture on a sunny day so that the wood dries faster. While soapy water can adequately clean your teak furniture, you can also choose from the variety of cleansers specifically formulated for teak wood. Teak furniture cleaners can leave your furniture with a clean and bright surface.
- When cleaning teak furniture, gently scrub in the direction of the grain with a non-metallic brush. Pat dry with a towel and allow it to dry completely under the sun.
When removing stubborn stains from the surface of your teak furniture, use a coarse sandpaper until the stain goes away and finish with a finer sandpaper.