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Article: How to Clean Wicker Furniture Indoor & Outdoor: Quick and Easy Methods

How to Clean Wicker Furniture Indoor & Outdoor: Quick and Easy Methods

Written by Henry Phan Update
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Taking care of your wicker furniture, whether it's inside or out, is key to keeping it looking good and lasting longer. But let's face it, not everyone knows the best ways to clean it quickly and easily. 

In this guide, Rowabi walks you through some quick and easy methods for cleaning both indoor and outdoor wicker furniture, so your pieces can stay in tip-top shape for years to come.

How often should you clean wicker furniture?

Natural wicker, crafted from materials like rattan or bamboo, tends to be more porous than synthetic wicker. As a result, it can trap dirt, dust, and moisture more easily, leading to a faster buildup of grime and potential for mold or mildew growth. 

wicker has been used for furniture for many years and is gaining popularity
Wicker has been transformed into furniture for many years and is becoming increasingly popular. Source: Backyard City (1)

If you want your wicker furniture to stay in top shape, aim to give it a good cleaning about once every season. This comprehensive cleaning should involve removing dust, dirt, and any debris that may have accumulated over time. 

Additionally, occasional spot cleaning may be necessary, especially after events like parties or exposure to adverse weather conditions. However, if your wicker furniture experiences significant spills or heavy soiling, it's advisable to address these promptly to prevent staining or damage. 

Ultimately, regular maintenance and periodic deep cleaning will help preserve the beauty and durability of your wicker furniture for years to come.

What are the needed tools and materials?

To effectively clean your wicker furniture, you'll need a few essential tools and materials. Here’s a detailed list to ensure you’re fully prepared:

  • Soft brush: used for dusting and removing loose dirt from the surface without damaging the wicker.
  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment: perfect for getting into crevices and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a thorough clean.
  • Mild soap: gentle on the wicker material but effective at removing grime and dirt.
  • Warm water is to mix with the soap, creating a gentle cleaning solution.
  • Soft cloth or sponge: for wiping down the furniture with the soapy water, ensuring a gentle clean.
  • Bucket: To hold your soap and water mixture.
  • Toothbrush or scrub brush: Handy for scrubbing small, intricate areas where dirt can accumulate.
  • Dry microfiber cloth or towel: To dry off the furniture after cleaning, preventing any water damage or mold growth.
  • White vinegar: is an optional but useful addition for tougher stains or mold, offering a natural and effective cleaning solution.

prepare all necessary tools beforehand for a smooth cleaning process
It's important to prepare all the necessary tools beforehand for a quick and smooth cleaning process. Source: Food52 (2)

How to clean wicker furniture: Step-by-step

Are your tools ready? Have you prepared to start this cleaning process? Rowabi will provide you with detailed, step-by-step instructions. Just roll up your sleeves and follow along!

Project Overview

  • Working time: 30 minutes
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Yield: Clean wicker furniture

Dust and vacuum: clear away loose dirt

Before you start cleaning, you need to remove any loose dirt or debris with a soft brush. If you have a vacuum cleaner, it’s even better—use the brush attachment to get into all the crevices and hard-to-reach areas. Doing this thoroughly will make deep cleaning easier and prevent dirt from embedding deeper or scratching the wicker itself.

use a soft brush attachment to avoid surface scratches
Use a soft brush attachment when dusting to avoid scratching the surface. Source: labpiecesign (3)

Wipe down with mild soap and water mix 

The next step is to create a cleaning solution for wiping down the surface of your wicker furniture. Mix a small amount of mild soap with warm water in a bucket. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water, wring out the excess liquid, and gently wipe down the entire surface of the wicker furniture.

A helpful tip is to work in the direction of the weave to avoid damaging the fibers. Pay special attention to stains or sticky spots, gently scrubbing them with the sponge. Be sure to wipe off excess water to prevent moisture from causing mold or distorting the shape of the wicker.

Deep clean with vinegar and water

After the initial wipe-down, it's time for deep cleaning. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a powerful solution for tackling stubborn stains and built-up grime. Apply this mixture using a cloth or sponge, or put it in a spray bottle for easy application. 

Focus on areas that need extra attention, and use a soft brush to gently scrub the stains. Once the stains are removed, wipe down the furniture with a clean cloth dampened with plain water to rinse off any vinegar residue.

pay attention to each step ensuring meticulous cleaning
Each step needs to be done meticulously and double-checked carefully. Source: Hangzhou Rebon Cabinets (4)

Dry thoroughly to protect the wicker

After ensuring there are no remaining stains or dirt, dry the wicker thoroughly to prevent moisture damage. Use a dry cloth or towel to pat the furniture dry, then let it air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. 

allow furniture to air dry in a dry ventilated spot away from direct sunlight
Leave the furniture in a dry, well-ventilated area to air dry naturally and avoid direct sunlight . Source: Explore Sri Lanka (5)

Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as this can cause the wicker to fade. If you need to speed up the drying process, you can use a fan or hairdryer on a cool setting.

Regular maintenance for longevity

To maintain the appearance of your wicker furniture, engage in regular maintenance practices. Dust and vacuum the furniture regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt. If possible, apply a protective finish, such as a light coat of furniture wax or oil, to preserve its beauty for longer periods of time. Additionally, store your wicker furniture in a dry, sheltered area when not in use to extend its lifespan.

Different types of wicker furniture and how to clean them

Wicker furniture, crafted from materials like rattan or synthetic fibers, is versatile and widely used for different furniture pieces. It's important to note that each type of wicker furniture requires specific cleaning methods. 

One important thing to note is that each type of wicker furniture requires a different cleaning method. We're here to help you distinguish and clean each type correctly.

Wicker made out of resin or vinyl

Definition: Made from synthetic materials like resin or vinyl, this type of wicker is highly durable and weather-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor furniture.

Cleaning Method:

  • Surface Wiping: Start by wiping down the surface with a mild detergent mixed with water.
  • Rinsing: Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  • Drying: Dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots from forming.
  • Stubborn Dirt: For tougher dirt, use a soft brush to scrub gently, ensuring you don't damage the wicker.

Wicker material

Definition: Wicker material encompasses natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, reed, or willow commonly used in crafting various furniture pieces like pendant lights, tables, sofas, and baskets. These materials are woven together to form the characteristic wicker texture found in furniture and decor items.

Cleaning Method:

  • Dusting: Regularly dust the furniture with a soft cloth or vacuum with a brush attachment to remove loose debris.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Mix a small amount of mild soap with warm water. Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently wipe down the surface, working in the direction of the weave.
  • Rinsing: Wipe off any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Drying: Pat dry with a towel and allow to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight to prevent fading.

wicker pendant lights add a stunning touch to any room
Wicker pendant lights are stunning when placed in any room. Source: Rowabi

Wicker frames

Definition: The structural part of wicker furniture, usually made from wood, metal, or synthetic materials, provides support and shape to the woven wicker.

Cleaning Method:

  • Dusting: Use a soft cloth or vacuum with a brush attachment to remove dust and dirt from the frames.
  • Spot Cleaning: For wooden frames, use a wood cleaner or mild soap and water. For metal frames, use a metal cleaner or mild soap and water. For synthetic frames, a mild detergent and water will suffice.
  • Drying: Wipe dry with a soft cloth and ensure no moisture remains, especially in joints and crevices, to prevent damage.

Wicker baskets and indoor wicker pieces

Definition: Smaller wicker items used for storage or decoration indoors, such as baskets, trays, and decorative pieces.

Cleaning Method:

  • Dusting: Regularly dust with a soft cloth or use a vacuum with a brush attachment.
  • Surface cleaning: Wipe down with a damp cloth and mild soap solution, ensuring to wring out excess water to avoid soaking the wicker.
  • Deep cleaning: For tougher stains, use a mixture of vinegar and water, applied with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Drying: Allow to air, dry completely in a well-ventilated area.

decorative items are often crafted from wicker
Decorative items are also commonly made from wicker. Source: Artera Home (6)

Wicker furniture that’s outside

Definition: Wicker furniture specifically designed to withstand outdoor conditions, often made from weather-resistant materials like resin or treated natural fibers.

Cleaning Method:

  • Regular cleaning: Wipe down with a mild detergent and water mixture.
  • Rinsing: Hose off with clean water to remove soap and debris.
  • Drying: Dry with a soft cloth and let air dry completely.
  • Seasonal maintenance: Apply a protective finish or sealant annually to protect from the elements.

Wicker patio furniture

Definition: A type of outdoor wicker furniture designed specifically for patio use, made from durable, weather-resistant materials.

cushions can enhance the comfort of outdoor sofas
Using cushions with outdoor sofas can provide a more comfortable seating experience. Source: Wicker warehouse (7)

Cleaning Method:

  • Surface cleaning: Wipe down regularly with a mild soap and water solution.
  • Rinsing: Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Deep cleaning: For deep cleaning, use a mixture of vinegar and water for stubborn stains.
  • Protective measures: Apply a UV protectant spray to prevent sun damage and fading.

Synthetic wicker

Definition: Wicker made from synthetic fibers like polyethylene or vinyl, designed to mimic the look of natural wicker while providing greater durability and weather resistance.

Cleaning Method:

  • Surface cleaning: Use a mild detergent mixed with water to wipe down the surface.
  • Rinsing: Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  • Drying: Dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
  • Stubborn dirt: For tougher dirt, scrub gently with a soft brush to avoid damaging the synthetic fibers.

How to maintain wicker furniture to prevent future repairs 

Proper maintenance of wicker furniture is essential to ensuring its longevity and preventing the need for future repairs. Here are some key tips to keep your wicker furniture in top condition:

  • Regular cleaning is crucial to maintaining the beauty and durability of wicker furniture. As mentioned earlier, dust your wicker furniture regularly with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dirt and debris. You can also use a mild soap and water solution to wipe down the surface for a deeper clean.
  • Protecting wicker furniture is vital, especially when used outdoors. Firstly, using furniture covers can shield wicker from the sun’s UV rays to prevent fading and brittleness, as well as from mold and mildew caused by moisture from rain. Secondly, store your wicker pieces indoors during harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or extreme heat to prevent damage.
  • Avoid overloading wicker furniture, as it has a certain weight limit, and placing heavy objects on it can strain and break the weave over time.
  • Controlling moisture is essential for wicker furniture longevity. After cleaning or exposure to rain, thoroughly dry the furniture using a dry cloth and allow it to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. In humid environments, consider using a dehumidifier to prevent mold growth around indoor wicker furniture.
  • Preventive treatments can provide additional protection for wicker furniture. Applying a protective finish like furniture wax or clear varnish can shield it from moisture and wear. This should be done once or twice a year. For natural wicker, periodic application of linseed oil can keep the fibers supple and prevent cracking.
  • Address any minor damages immediately to prevent them from worsening. If you notice loose strands or broken pieces, promptly use glue or a repair kit to fix them. This proactive approach can save you from more extensive repairs later on.

to maintain your wicker furniture s freshness year round follow these tips
Follow these tips to keep your wicker furniture looking new all year. Source: LBB (8)

Faqs: How to clean wicker furniture indoors & outdoors

What is the best cleaner for wicker furniture?

  • A mild soap and water solution or a mixture of vinegar and water are effective cleaners for wicker furniture. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the material.

How do you make wicker furniture look new again?

Can you hose down wicker furniture?

  • It's best to avoid hosing down wicker furniture, as excessive water exposure can cause damage. Instead, use a damp cloth or sponge for cleaning.

Is it OK to power wash wicker furniture?

  • Power washing is not recommended for wicker furniture, as the high pressure can damage the material. Stick to gentler cleaning methods.

How to clean a dirty wicker?

  • Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and dust. For deeper cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution or vinegar mixture.

What's the difference between rattan and wicker?

  • Rattan is a natural material, while wicker refers to the weaving technique. Wicker furniture can be made from various materials, including rattan.

Is it bad to get wicker wet?

  • While wicker can withstand some moisture, excessive exposure to water can cause damage, including warping and mold growth.

Can you clean wicker with vinegar?

  • Yes, a mixture of vinegar and water can effectively clean wicker furniture. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly afterward.

How to clean rattan furniture?

  • Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt, then wipe with a damp cloth dipped in mild soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Further information: How to Clean Rattan Furniture | Step-by-step Guide

What is the best oil for wicker furniture?

  • Linseed oil or teak oil are commonly used to condition and protect wicker furniture.

How do you rejuvenate wicker furniture?

  • Clean it thoroughly, repair any damages, and apply a fresh coat of oil or protective finish.

How to restore old wicker furniture?

  • Clean, repair, and refinish the furniture as needed to restore its appearance and functionality.

Can you use lemon oil on wicker?

  • Yes, lemon oil can be used to condition and add shine to wicker furniture, but use it sparingly.

How to clean an old wicker basket?

  • Gently brush away dirt and dust, then wipe with a damp cloth and mild soap. Rinse and air dry thoroughly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cleaning wicker furniture, whether indoors or outdoors, is essential for maintaining its appearance and longevity. By following the quick and easy methods outlined in Rowabi’s guide, you can keep your wicker furniture looking fresh and beautiful. With just a little effort, you can enjoy your wicker furniture for many seasons to come.

Source:

  • [1]: https://www.backyardcity.com/Images/CDI/Sahara-Set.jpg
  • [2]: https://images.food52.com/wO1LM3B9Oz0GMnY-Cg1bbCOQGfk=/1200x900/234cb1d9-5b09-4e84-9062-d87734406832--2022-0224_cleaning-essentials_3x2_ty-mecham.jpeg
  • [3]: https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/nrRZtXxRSs8LXviyhIp8IwaRVjk=/5587x3725/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc():format(webp)/how-to-clean-rattan-furniture-4772585-04-fc142faab9fa4eff9c97debb57bc4ad8.jpg
  • [4]: https://www.reboncabinets.com/Content/uploads/2022211506/20220616154412152f5be9f4f34f498bb8ea9127f32427.jpg
  • [5]: https://thatfunkycornershop.com/cdn/shop/products/IMG_7911.jpg
  • [6]: https://arterahome.com/cdn/shop/articles/wicker-baskets-for-indoor-plants_2738x.jpg
  • [7]: https://cdn.wickerwarehouse.com/media/catalog/category/RB-MADRID-SEAT.jpg
  • [8]: https://imgmedia.lbb.in/media/2022/11/637daa57a24b63153db8bb1b_1669179991402.jpg
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