How to clean wicker furniture

Wicker furniture adds charm and character to a room, but they are dust magnets and are generally hard to clean because of the material used to make them. However, all is not lost, wicker furniture can be cleaned at home without damaging the material. Weekly or at least twice monthly dusting will help to keep wicker looking good and fairly dust-free.

Great tools to keep around for cleaning wicker furniture include tooth brushes, vegetable brush, paint brush or similar implement.

Before cleaning your wicker furniture determine the type of material used. There are five main types of material use to make wicker furniture:

  • Rattan: can take some amount of moisture, but excessive wetting can cause warping.
  • Bamboo: although bamboo can be washed, it too needs to be dried before using. This type of fiber is especially susceptible to mildew.
  • Reed
  • Paper fiber: the most delicate fiber

Just by looking at the type of material used to make wicker furniture it is obvious that they cannot all be cleaned the same way. First start off by using compressed air, a hair dyer, brush or a vacuum cleaner to blow off excess dust. This also a good way to reach crevices to removed dirt and other particles.

Never use excess water on wicker furniture as most types cannot withstand too much wetting, especially those made of paper fiber. Furniture made from paper-based fiber is best cleaned with a damp rag. All other types of material can be cleaned /washed with a solution of mild soap water (one tablespoon dishwashing or gentle liquid detergent to one gallon water). After wiping or washing with soapy water, wipe clean with fresh water. Finish off by placing in the sun to dry. Alternatively, the furniture can be dried by placing in front of a fan. To maintain the quality of the weave and the shape of wicker, never use your wicker furniture until it’s completely dry. Do not use anything to push the weave apart when cleaning the furniture; this may result in gaps when the fiber dries.

Since the fiber used to build wicker furniture is natural, they can get mildewed. However, a mild solution of chlorine bleach may do the trick if it is applied to the mildew and left to stand for a few minutes. Apply a thin layer of polish to the furniture after it has dried. Under normal circumstances, wicker furniture takes between two to three days to dry properly, but sometimes it may take longer depending on weather conditions and how wet it got.

To keep wicker looking good and to maintain their life for years, clean thoroughly at least twice per year. Painted wicker furniture, however, should not be washed as this will destroy the finish. Although cleaning wicker is hard work, the beauty they add to your home is more than worth the elbow grease.

Note: Do not get any wooden parts of the furniture wet as this may lead to warping and peeled varnish.