How to clean and care for wicker furniture

Wicker furniture is simple to maintain however, wicker furniture must be cleaned regularly to keep it in good condition. Wicker furniture itself is made up from vines and grasses which are woven together. The term Wicker refers to this process, rather than being one particular material itself. Indeed, Wicker furniture may be made from Willow, Cane, Bamboo, Reed or Rattan.

Here are a few easy tips for cleaning:

  • First, vacuum or dust the wicker furniture.
  • Set your wicker furniture outside.
  • Carefully wash your wicker furniture with four tablespoons of a mild dish washing liquid diluted in a bucket of hot water
  • Make sure you use a soft rag.
  • Do not get the furniture too wet.
  • Wipe with clean wet rag to remove any soap residue.
  • Last of all; dry the wicker furniture with a dry, soft cloth or sponge.


If your wicker furniture has molded or mildewed, you can use a bleach water mixture to clean off any mold and mildew.
  1. The first thing to do is to get the dust off, best with a vacuum.
  2. The next step would be to clean it, but better to take it outside.
  3. Use the bleach water to hose down the furniture.
  4. Wipe the wicker furniture with a dry cloth or sponge.
  5. You can also allow the sun to dry the furniture more completely, but be careful off too much sun.
  6. Some wicker furniture can be sprayed with furniture polish to keep it resilient. Spray on a small amount of furniture polish and wipe completely.
  7. Spray furniture only every three of four months to prevent a build up of polish.


Even furniture which is made for outside use is better kept out of extremely hot sunlight and out of the rain.

In fact, it is better bought indoors at night as even the morning dew can slowly create damage and reduce its shelf life. It is best to bring your wicker furniture inside during the winter months. Wind, rain and snow will damage the wood. In the summer, keep the wicker furniture out of the hot sun’s rays. It can dry out furniture and cause it to crack or flake.

Wicker furniture, due to its very nature, will collect dirt. Over a period of time, the build up of dirt within the weave can make the furniture look old. The problem comes when this is of value, and using harsh products in the cleaning the furniture can damage it from a value point of view.  The other disadvantage of rigorous cleaning of wicker is that often this takes the original color off the item if it is in any way colored or shaded, and this should of course be avoided.

When restoring outdoor wicker furniture it is best to ascertain what needs doing before you plough ahead with painting and scrubbing. It may be that the furniture just needs a clean and brightening up, or it may be that it needs repairing before you can start any form of redecorating it.

Some well meaning people will simply advise you to clean your items and then load on paint, without taking into consideration the actual structural state of the furniture first. This isn’t a good idea as you may just be covering up a problem which will only get worse later on. There are also several more subtle and professional options to thick paint that you may prefer to use.



If using wicker furniture, the places which are susceptible to dirt are the seating area of chairs, the arms of the chairs, and the tops of tables. It’s a good idea to vacuum these as part of the weekly cleaning process. Even in garden furniture, removing the dry dirt with a vacuum attachment which has a gentle brush helps prevent build up.

Look for those crevices where joins are made, as these areas need particular attention. When cleaning the wicker furniture look also for uneven weave areas, where the natural materials may have worked out of position, and reposition them.


It’s a good idea to wash furniture, and although many suggest that this should be done with ammonia based products, this can damage the finish of the furniture. Instead, a gentle steaming or wiping the furniture with a clean cloth and a little gentle detergent is a good idea. To get dirt from the weave of the item, use a hand brush before washing. This helps to remove any build up which was missed during the vacuuming process.


Be careful not to scratch the surface of the wicker. If, for example, food spills are apparent and have gone into the weave, it is better to let these dry before trying to remove them. A gentle scrape rather than scrubbing works better, though do examine the surface of the wicker for any damage. The problem with wiping damp stains is that this ingrains the stain into the weave rather than removing it.


The feet and leg areas of wicker furniture are prone to damage. If you can obtain paint in the original color, look at the condition of the feet and legs. These often get kicked. Lightly wipe the leg area and look at the feet of the furniture for wear. In an outdoor situation, it is common that this area will be scraped. In this instance, choose a sunny day, and turn the furniture upside down, cleaning the underneath of the furniture at the same time. Rub down the feet area with the abrasive side of a sponge, and apply a little of the same color to the feet area to protect this from weather.

Wicker furniture is particularly prone to damage in bad weather. It is always a good idea to put the furniture away in inclement weather if used in an outdoor area. Even under the cover of a gazebo, the weather can affect the furniture and it would be a good idea to cover it in an open gazebo setting.


Another alternative to freshen up your wicker furniture is to spray paint it. Spray paint will seal the furniture and make it look brand new.

  • First, simply vacuum the wicker furniture.
  • Take it outside or to a well ventilated area.
  • Spray with an enamel spray paint for best coverage.
  • Spray carefully, holding the can about twelve inches from the furniture to prevent drips.
  • Let it dry for twenty-four hours or more before adding the second coat of paint.

Wicker furniture is extremely attractive and seems to be a fashion which is a constant one. Keeping that furniture in good condition is vital to making it last. By cleaning on a regular basis, the furniture will give great service, and regular cleaning also helps the furniture to look its best at all times.