How to Care for Yellow Wood Furniture

Updated March 23, 2017

Yellow wood furniture is among the most rugged, durable hardwood furniture made. Yellow wood is also known as shorea or yellow balau. It is a member of the Dipterocarpaceae family. According to property comparisons, among the furniture hardwoods, it is actually twice as strong as teak wood. This wood is very dense and full of resin. These oils and resins which remain in the wood after processing, along with its fibre density, are what make it such a hardy wood. Properly care for this wood, and it will give you years of enjoyment.

Turn the furniture over to get a good view of the underside. Examine the wood to make sure the factory-applied oil-based sealer was applied to the entire surface underneath. Look for any slight cracks or creases in the grain of the wood. Monitor these and be prepared to seal them if they start to get longer and wider. Do not be alarmed if you find small creases, since this is how the wood will look as it ages. Check the joints of the piece while it is upside down.

Wipe up any spilt drinks or food immediately. All wood is porous and will absorb liquids and food oils quickly. Avoid absorption into the wood as much as possible. Wash the spilt area with a damp rag or sponge. Let it dry completely. Sand lightly with fine-grain sandpaper any remaining drink, food or burn stains.

Do not ever store your yellow wood furniture so that it is in direct contact with concrete. Place blocks of scrap wood under the legs, and other parts you rest it on, as a barrier to the moisture within the concrete. Although it is used widely as outdoor furniture, store yellow wood, and all furniture, no matter how strong and durable, in climate-controlled areas whenever possible. Preserve its lasting quality and your enjoyment of it with proper storage.

Clean this furniture once or twice a year, depending upon frequency of use and how dirty it gets. Use a soft-bristle brush and mild detergent to release and remove the dirt that has accumulated at its contact points. Eliminate mould or other surface spots by adding bleach to the water. Add 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon water. Rinse thoroughly after washing. Do not be alarmed if you see the grain of the wood raise slightly after washing. It will resettle as it dries.

Preserve the yellow tint of yellow wood with the use of an oil-based sealer. Use teakwood sealer about every 10 to 12 months to keep a good, protective coat applied. Never apply sealer in direct sun or extreme heat. Let the sealer dry a full day, or longer depending upon humidity levels. Rub down the entire piece briskly with a clean, soft, dry cloth, buffing the surface once the sealer is dry.


Since yellow wood is such a tightly grained wood and very dense, occasional sanding and touch-up will not hurt it.

Things You'll Need

  • Soapy water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Fine-grain sandpaper
  • Mild detergent
  • Bleach
  • Oil-based stain
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About the Author

Chuck Brown is a freelance writer and former teacher and athletic coach. He has held professional stints as a business owner, personal fitness trainer, curriculum designer, website designer, market trader and real estate investor. Brown holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in Christian counseling.