How to Clean and Maintain your Rattan Garden Furniture

With winter on its way, it’s probably time you covered up your rattan furniture and put it back in storage again. However, you don’t want to put it away after a summer of hard wear and use without giving it a good clean.

A lot of people just buy new garden furniture when the condition of theirs starts to worsen, or when the next summer rolls around, but when cleaning it is so simple, that seems like a waste of money. The trick is to just keep it regular. Much like anything, if you keep on top of the maintenance of your furniture, then it will last for a very long time.

However, you may be thinking that you don’t actually know how best to clean your rattan. It can be awkward because of the nature of the material and the way rattan furniture is typically constructed, but with a bit of guidance, it will be a lot easier than you’d expect. That is why we’ve put together this list of steps and precautions to take when maintaining your garden furniture, in the hopes that it can save you some money in the future.

  • Cushions

Above, we said that you should be regular with the cleaning of your garden furniture, but the cushions should only be cleaned when it is absolutely necessary. This is to prevent avoidable wear and tear on the fabric.

Even if your furniture doesn’t get stored in the inter and it just gets covered up outside, you should remove the cushion so that there is no danger of them getting needlessly dirty or damaged.

  • Washing

There is one piece of knowledge that is essential for washing rattan furniture, and that is to avoid using too much soap. Soap can fade the colour of your rattan, which results in it being quite dull in colour. So, if you must use water and soap, make sure to use the soap in moderation.

Another method of washing rattan is by using furniture polish sprayed on a soft cloth. This method is preferred over a water/soap mix because it does not fade the material. Instead, it enhances the appearance by allowing it to maintain its natural sheen.

You need to wash your furniture at least once a month, but do it more frequently than that if you can.Once you’ve washed it thoroughly, use a soft bristled brush to get into all of the crevices that you may have not been able to reach with a cloth.

In addition to regular washing, you should also make sure to do a deep cleaning at least once a year.

  • Vacuuming

Every so often, it is a good idea to use your vacuum tools to get rid of some of the dirt that washing might miss.

Use the brush attachment on your vacuum and go over every inch of exposed rattan that you can to pull loose dirt out of the furniture’s many nooks and crannies.

  • Sealing the wood

After a deep clean, you should always apply a lacquer to your furniture. This will protect the rattan and make it less susceptible to damage.

  • Stains

When it comes to stains, we recommend that you see to them as soon as possible rather than leaving them until it’s time for a wash. Use some form of detergent or stain removal product and scrub the stain with it until it fades significantly or disappears.

  • Mould

If you keep your rattan furniture in a well-covered area, then it is liable to experience mould growth. To prevent this, move the furniture into direct sunlight for a day or two once every 2-3 weeks.

  • Warping

Rattan is quite a pliant material, so if it is wet or receives excess stress, it can become warped. This is quite easily fixed though, because if it can bend out of shape easily, then it will bend into shape easily. Simply wet the piece of rattan that has become warped, bend it back into place, and hold it there with some tape until it is dry.

  • Abrasion, cracking and splitting

Abrasion can be one of the most difficult types of damage to avoid on your rattan furniture. The best advice you can get is to basically just be careful. Don’t scrub to hard when you’re washing it, only use brushes with soft bristles for cleaning, keep pets away from it, don’t sit or put weight on the rattan, etc.

The most common cause of crack and splits is the material becoming dry, so if you see any small cracks and splits appearing in your furniture, it is recommended that you apply some boiled linseed oil. This will add moisture back into the rattan, which will aid the prevention of damage in the future, and stop any current damage from getting worse.

However, if the cracks and splits in your rattan are quite significant, then it might be a bit too late for the linseed oil treatment. In this case, you should get in touch with the experts and see if there’s anything they can do.

  • Breakages

The canes in rattan furniture can easily break, but fortunately they are quite easy to replace. Rattan strips can be found at most DIY stores, so just buy as many as you need (and maybe a couple of spares) and you should be equipped to fix the breakage yourself. Remove the broken cane, the soak the new one in water for about half an hour. Once the new cane is soaked, weave it into place and hold it into place using an upholstery tack.

Although these tips are predominantly for real rattan, a lot of them apply for wicker (synthetic rattan) furniture too. Wicker furniture does tend to be a lot more weatherproof than rattan, but it still needs regular maintenance as it can be delicate. Therefore, if you’re in the market for any rattan garden furniture, or if you’re looking to improve the condition of what you’ve already got, then it’s worth bearing in mind that it does require some care and attention.

Andrew Ellis is the 'hands-on' webmaster, content curator and Captain of the good ship Poshh Living Father of one and master of none. Fitness, health and of course home improvement are Andrew's key areas of expertise. Andrew has worked in many roles, from product designer to purchaser, for spa products, garden furniture and tech. Andrew is a really well-respected voice within these business circles.

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