Is Teak Oil Flammable with teak oil in background

Is Teak Oil Flammable?

In Exterior Paint, Tips by Jamie

Teak oil is a very common wood finish that is excellent for protecting wood and giving it a beautiful finish. However, it must be used carefully because it can be a potential fire hazard.

Teak oil is considered a flammable substance because it has a flash point of 41 degrees Celsius. This means that it will catch fire very easily and can spontaneously combust. When it has dried and cured, the risk is reduced, but you must take precautions when applying and storing teak oil.

If you are using teak oil to finish wooden furniture or surfaces, it is important to understand the fire risks. This article will tell you everything you need to know about how flammable teak oil is and how you can use it safely.

Will Teak Oil Catch on Fire when Exposed to a Flame?

Yes, teak oil will absolutely catch on fire when exposed to a flame because it has a flash point of 41 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit). The flash point describes the temperature at which the vapors will ignite when exposed to a spark or flame. So, it doesn’t take much heat at all to ignite teak oil and an open flame will do it easily.

Can Teak Oil Catch on Fire from a Spark?

If the teak oil reaches the flash point temperature, a small spark is enough to set it off. Considering that the flash point is not that much higher than room temperature, this is a serious possibility. When you have teak oil stored in a closed container in a warm area, the vapors will quickly build up and a small spark from an electrical device or another source will set it ablaze in seconds.

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Technically, teak oil doesn’t need a spark to ignite if it reaches the right temperature. It will auto-ignite at around 450 degrees Celsius. However, the chances of it reaching these temperatures under everyday conditions are very slim. 

High temperatures do make teak oil a lot more volatile, though. Once it has reached its flash point, it can easily ignite, so you must avoid storing it at high temperatures. 

If I Leave Teak Oil in the Sun Can it Catch on Fire?

Direct sunlight is one of the quickest ways to heat teak oil and make it more volatile. Often, fires start when people leave old rags out in the sun. The oil begins to oxidize, which generates heat. As the sun heats the oil even more, it can easily catch fire and the rags act as kindling. Even a closed container of teak oil will start generating lots of vapors that can quickly ignite when left in the sun, so you must be very careful.

What’s the Safest Way to Dispose a Teak Oil Rag?

The best way to dispose of a teak oil rag is to dry it out fully first. Put it on a non-flammable surface and separate all of the rags. A concrete driveway or patio is the best option. When they are completely dry, you can safely dispose of them by incinerating them. If this isn’t an option, put them in a sealed metal container filled with water and take them to a local waste disposal center. They will be able to deal with them safely for you.

How Should You Store Teak Oil?

It’s best to keep teak oil in the container it came in, so you can be sure that it is stable. Make sure that you keep the container closed to avoid oxidation too. Store in a cool, well-ventilated environment where it will not exceed the flash point temperature. Avoid storing it with other flammable products too because if a fire breaks out, you need to limit the spread as much as possible.

How to Safely Put Out a Teak Oil Fire?

Using water on a teak oil fire will spread it quickly, so you need to use a fire extinguisher instead. Carbon dioxide or foam options are best, and you can also try to drown out the fire using sand to starve it of oxygen. Alternatively, you could cover it with an upturned metal pot or bucket. Make sure that you avoid breathing the fumes and always call the fire department if it gets out of control.

Is Teak Oil Flammable when Dry and Cured?

Once the teak oil has soaked into the wood and fully cured, the fire risk is drastically reduced. It will no longer give off vapors that can ignite, and the oil is spread thin enough that it should not easily catch fire. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take any precautions at all. Try to keep wooden furniture treated with teak oil away from any potential ignition sources.

Final Thoughts

The biggest danger when using teak oil is the old rags. So many fires have been started by people leaving piles of rags lying around, not realizing how easily they can go up. So, make sure that you store your teak oil properly and you dispose of old rags safely.

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About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.