Wicker Furniture Care Tips

Wicker furniture isn’t just for country houses anymore. Even the most minimalist of spaces can benefit from the addition of these warm natural-fiber pieces—that is, until they start to age. Left alone, the furniture will eventually become brittle, warped, and potentially too damaged to sit on. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; a few protective measures will go a long way, says Alison Davin of San Francisco interior design firm Jute Home. Here’s what you’ll need to do to ensure your beloved bench or perfect pair of armchairs never falls into disrepair.

Keep furniture inside

Although your wicker and rattan pieces probably look fantastic out on your deck, it’s best to use them indoors or on a completely protected porch, where they aren’t subject to the weather. “The sun causes the fibers to become dry and brittle and the glue joints to loosen,” Davin explains. “Conversely, too much moisture from dew, rain, and snow can cause the furniture’s rattan and hardwood frames to warp.”

Clean it like any other surface

“Wicker and rattan furniture should be kept as dust-free as possible by vacuuming it regularly using the soft-bristle brush attachment,” says Davin. “For dust and dirt in hard-to-reach crevices, try a new dry paintbrush.” If you live in a particularly arid climate, Davin suggests buffing your pieces with furniture polish to keep them supple: “Start at the top and work down, paying extra attention to crevices and any spots that are noticeably drier.” Of course, humidity isn’t great either—it can cause mold or mildew. If that’s the case, brush off the furniture, then clean it with a mixture of bleach and water. “Allow the furniture to dry completely,” says Davin, “ideally outside in direct sunlight on a windy day.”

But use water sparingly

“Remove any spills or dirt with a damp cloth and a small amount of diluted Murphy Oil Soap,” recommends Davin. “Some people spray wicker down with a hose and then clean it, but, in my experience, this extra water contributes to the breakdown of woven furniture over time.”

Comfort is key (literally)

Don’t sit directly on the wicker, says Davin: “Padded cushions will add years to the seats of wicker and rattan chairs, sofas and chaises.”