How to Clean Wicker Furniture
Because nothing collects dust (and pollen, and dirt) quite like our woven, wicker furnishings.
Wicker furniture – both natural and synthetic – is a bit more high-maintenance than other furnishings in your home. Whether it’s indoors or out, various elements including dust, dirt and pollen are easily captured and nestled into nooks and crannies, which can quickly make your furniture look dirty. Be proactive with your cleaning routine, and your wicker will thank you.
To Clean Synthetic Wicker Furniture
Once upon a time, I did own lots of real wicker! It was comfortable and forgiving, and it looked great on my three-season sunroom. The reason that I began upgrading to synthetic (resin or PVC) woven furniture is that I transitioned to needing dedicated outdoor pieces, and synthetic was so much easier to clean.
Woven synthetic furniture is simply easier to wash down than natural wicker. Bird droppings, pollen, and weather don’t do as much damage to the woven finish. However, while rain helps to keep build-up at bay, it's never completely washed clean underneath chairs or between the overlapping weave. Plan a soapy deep clean once-a-month, and your outdoor furniture will be ready for any impromptu gathering.
Start by dusting the furniture with a bristled brush, especially the back, legs, and underneath area, which tend to collect dust out of plain sight.
Next, use a sponge dipped in soapy water to treat the surface. Scrub tough spots, such as pesky bird droppings. Don't be wary about being a little tough on the weave; unlike real wicker, you can use some elbow grease.
Next, rinse the chair with a hose. Spray at different angles to cleanse dirt and pollen that collects in the weave. Good as new!
To Clean Real Wicker Furniture
The process of cleaning natural wicker isn’t that much different. Bear in mind that you’ll have to be gentle with the brushes to prevent fraying and splintering, and allow for extra dry time as the wicker will absorb the water you used to clean.
Begin by removing all cushions, and using a soft-bristled brush to agitate dust, dirt, and pollen that has settled on the surface. If you use natural wicker furniture indoors, dusting is a good routine for cleaning for those pieces as well.
Though the brush loosens debris, the dust is still bound to settle in its tight weave, and you’ll want to get as much of it as possible out before you wet the wicker. To do this, you can also vacuum, or use an air compressor to loosen additional dust so that it doesn’t become more trapped once in contact with water.
While you’re dusting, be on the lookout for mildew in areas on the arms or beneath the seat cushion that may become saturated with moisture but not dry easily. Apply a spray that’s 50% hydrogen peroxide/50% water to these areas to let it begin to absorb.
Create a bubbly bath of dish soap and warm water and use a sponge to apply it directly to the wicker. Allow the soapy water to drip between the layers of wicker. Place an emphasis on distributing those soapy bubbles so they get everywhere!
Rinse the soap by using a spray bottle filled with clean water, or a hose with the nozzle set to a gentle mist setting. It’s important to rinse it gently, not on a “jet” setting.
Blot the wicker with a dry towel to help absorb some of the water. Allow the excess to drip and air dry. Leave the furniture alone for 24 hours in a dry area with excellent air circulation before you put the cushions back on the seat.