Can You Bleach Teak Furniture?

If you’re asking can you bleach teak furniture, then the answer is yes.

Here’s why: chlorine bleach is a powerful oxidizer and a great bleaching agent. Oxidizers like oxygen and bleach react with chlorophyll, the green that is extracted from wood fibers when making teak into furniture.

Oxidizers can also whiten the individual fibers because it changes the structure of the cell walls to be whiter (not permanently).

Therefore, if you use too much chlorine bleach on teak furniture, the color will eventually come back but it will take a very long time. In fact, some experts claim that it could take hundreds of years for the teak to return to its original color.

However, using too little chlorine bleach results in an incomplete bleaching which will cause the teak to turn brown again very quickly. Also, using too little chlorine bleach will not remove the natural oils which protect the teak against the elements.

How much Chlorine Bleach to use?

One cup of powdered oxygen bleach per gallon of hot water will remove most of the oxidized wood stains or sealers. Therefore, to make sure you get rid of all of them, you need to use two cups of oxygen bleach per gallon of hot water.

However, because it is very hard to measure exact amounts, I suggest you use more than the minimum and take a small amount (about 1/2 cup) to start and then add more if necessary.

WARNING: Oxygen Bleach is VERY hazardous if ingested! It can cause severe burns on your digestive tract and even death. It is also very corrosive to most fabrics and it will damage most plastics. Therefore, wear gloves when you are working with it and always keep it away from your eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.

What else to know about Chlorine bleach?

It is a strong chemical and should be used with extreme care. One of the main reasons why bleach is hazardous is that it is a very volatile liquid. When mixed with water, it forms hydrogen chloride which is highly corrosive to metals and plastic.

Make sure you do not breathe the fumes while mixing or pouring the bleach into the container. 

Wear rubber or latex gloves when you are working with it. And remember to always wash your hands after you are done using it.

Other bleaching agents for Teak

There are many other bleaching agents available including but not limited to:

Alcohol – This is probably the best all around wood stain remover. However, it has a very unpleasant odor that makes it hard for most people to use it.

Also, it is very slow acting. It only removes very old wood stains and sealers and it takes months (sometimes years) for the wood to regain its original color.

Indeed, some experts claim that alcohol can make teak darker. Thereafter, it will take a long time to remove the stain and even longer for the wood to return to its original color.

Oxygen Peroxide – This is a good alternative to chlorine bleach. It is safer than chlorine bleach because it does not release chlorine fumes but it is much more expensive than chlorine bleach. It also does not remove the natural oils from the wood and therefore it will not change the color of the teak. However, it does remove old wood stains and sealers.

Ozone – This is another bleaching agent that works similarly to chlorine bleach but it is less toxic than chlorine bleach and it is very effective at removing old stains and sealers. There is a problem with ozone though. It is very expensive and it also releases chlorine fumes which are hazardous.

Peroxide – This is also a good bleaching agent for removing old wood stains and sealers.

Naturally, it is much safer than chlorine bleach because it does not release chlorine fumes. However, it is considerably less effective at removing old stains and sealers than oxygen peroxide. 

Also, you need to remember that using a bleach is not a permanent solution to remove old stains. The wood will eventually return to its original color. It is only a temporary solution to remove the stain.

However, if you are willing to spend the money, you can purchase a products specifically design to removed stain on your teak furniture which contains a combination of two bleaching agents (oxygen peroxide and ozone). This is a good all-around bleaching agent because it works quickly and it is safe.

You should also remember that Teakwood stain remover is very expensive. Therefore, you should only use it on your teak furniture if you are willing to invest in it. Otherwise, you can try one of the other bleaching agents I mentioned above.

Natural Wood Stain Removers

There are many natural products available on the market that claim to be able to remove old wood stains and sealers from Teakwood furniture.

No matter what you do, do not use any kind of stain remover unless it is specifically designed for Teakwood. Wood stain removers will not only damage your furniture but they will also release toxic fumes into the air which can be hazardous to your health.

The best way to remove stains from your furniture is to apply a coat of wax or varnish which will protect the wood from future stains.

You can apply a coat of wax to all your furniture. You can also use a clear polyurethane varnish. If you use any kind of varnish or wax, make sure you apply it using a sprayer.

The sprayer is going to allow you to apply the coat of wax or varnish evenly and uniformly across the entire surface area of your furniture. This is very important because if the coat of varnish or wax is uneven, it will look dirty and will not protect your furniture from future stains. Also, be very careful when applying varnish or wax on your furniture.