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How to Care for Wicker Furniture

Puja Lalwani Mar 21, 2020
Wicker furniture is light and perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. With its aesthetics, it can easily fit into any setting. And to ensure that this charm lasts for a long time, here's our guide on caring for wicker furniture.

Did You Know?

Wicker is not a material, but a weaving technique for furniture made from bamboo, rattan, paper, or reed.
It is not as delicate as it looks, but wicker furniture does need its share of regular maintenance. Leave it uncared for too long, and you will lose out on its sturdiness and beauty.
Believed to be mainly for outdoor use, wicker furniture looks great indoors as well. In fact, when kept outdoors, this type of furniture needs more care and protection. And here, we tell you exactly how to retain the charm that it exudes.

Regular Care

The key to maintaining wicker furniture is caring for it regularly. A little cleaning can go a long way in making the furniture last.
✓ Daily: Dust the furniture thoroughly with a cloth or a feather duster.

✓ Weekly: Vacuum the furniture using the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner, and aim for all those hard-to-reach spots.
✓ Bimonthly: Make a mild, sudsy solution of regular detergent and water to clean wicker furniture. Use only the suds of this solution with a damp cloth or sponge, and wipe small portions of the furniture. Use a toothbrush to clean between the crevices to prevent the development of mold and mildew. Wipe the furniture dry with a cloth.

Important Tips for Regular Care

✓ Clean spills immediately.

✓ Do not expose wicker to the elements for too long, unless it has been specifically designed for the outdoors.
✓ Use cushions or covers to increase the life and durability. Harsh sunlight can cause the furniture to dry and crack. Heavy rain can weaken the furniture and render it useless.
✓ Wicker furniture can eventually become dry and brittle, even when kept indoors. To prevent this, wash it with water once in a while and maintain humidity levels in your house by using a humidifier/dehumidifier so that the furniture retains its flexibility.

Deep Cleaning

If it's been awhile since you've cleaned the furniture, it's time to go that extra mile. Use a garden hose to spray the furniture thoroughly, and remove deep-seated dust and dirt. Use moderate pressure for this purpose.
Ensure that you drain away the excess water, and allow it to air dry, or even better, place a fan next to the furniture so that it dries quickly. Allowing it to remain wet for too long may damage the furniture.

Important Tips for Deep Cleaning

✓ Do not sit on wicker furniture when it is wet. It will get deformed easily.

✓ It is best to clean wicker furniture on a sunny but fairly windy day so that the furniture dries quickly.
✓ Do not use this method if your furniture is made of paper (which you can identify by looking out for tightly twisted strands that make up your furniture).

✓ This method is also not recommended for bamboo furniture. For both, paper and bamboo furniture, use the suds method of cleaning.


Regular wear and tear, or even cleaning, can result in some of the fibers cracking or loosening. To take care of the sharp strands that result from this, use fine grit sandpaper to scrape these ends away and smooth the surface.
When wicker furniture dries out, it becomes brittle. While soaking it in water can help it regain some of its flexibility, to truly regain lost moisture, it is best to apply boiled linseed oil on the surface. Now, this should be done only after the furniture has been thoroughly cleaned and sanded.
Apply the oil with a cloth on the surface till no more can be absorbed by the furniture. Wipe the excess away with a clean cloth. Allow this oil to dry for a day or two, after which, it will harden. This will not only protect the furniture, it will also impart a shine to it, and make it look as good as new.
Apart from linseed oil, you may also apply a coat of liquid furniture wax to keep it protected, particularly when placed outdoors. This will protect it from the elements and will increase its life.

Removing Mold and Mildew

Wicker furniture can easily get afflicted with mold. To remove this, first follow the aforementioned cleaning methods. Dust and vacuum the furniture item in question. Next, mix a tablespoon of household bleach with one gallon of water.
Dip a soft brush in this solution, and scrub it over the affected areas. Once you have covered all the affected parts, rinse the furniture thoroughly and allow it to air dry in a spot that has sufficient shade.
Ensure that you don't put the furniture back in the same spot where it developed mold. Place it elsewhere. If you notice too much mold, it is better to replace that piece of furniture.

If you Want to (Re)Paint Wicker Furniture

If attempting to repaint this kind of furniture, do not try to strip away the previous paint. Doing so can damage the furniture. If the paint has been damaged severely, and you think stripping may be necessary, get it done by an expert.
To paint over an older coat of paint, skip the sandpaper, and use a liquid sander instead. This softens the old paint and enhances the adhesion of the new coat with the old one for a smoother finish.
Wicker furniture can be painted with a brush or can even be spray painted. If you choose to spray paint, do so outdoors, on a day when it is not too windy, while wearing a mask so as to avoid inhaling the vapors.
Following these simple methods should help your furniture last much longer. Know of any other household tricks to make your wicker furniture last longer? Share them here!