Wicker furniture and wicker accessories are a popular choice for both outdoor and indoor decorations. They provide a sturdy furniture alternative while being comfortable and attractive. Since wicker comes in a variety of designs and can also be easily painted, making it is popular addition to any décor.
However, because many people choose it for outdoor decoration, wicker furniture can be subject to a large amount of wear and tear by the elements. Since it is a natural product made from reeds weaved together, it is much more susceptible to rot and mold. So special care is needed to keep it looking it's best and so that it doesn't just rot away someday.
Because wicker has a large amount of grooves, regular care and cleaning may seem like a daunting and unpleasant task. However, giving a little attention and cleaning to wicker every now and then is more than enough to keep these pieces beautiful. They were built to withstand the tests of time, but that does not mean that they have to look ugly while doing so.
General Wicker Cleaning
General cleaning tips work well for either outdoor or indoor wicker. More specialized tips will be discussed below. To give your furniture a good deep cleaning, try doing the following essentially every six months.
Remove any cushions or fabric that you may use to cover the wicker, wash them according to the instructions on the tag. There's no use giving you wicker a solid cleaning, if you just put dirty things right back on it, right?
For light dust, take a soft cloth to the frame to keep it looking great and from inducing dust allergies. Because this type of furniture has a lot of small grooves, this is one of the rare occasions where and actual feather duster comes in handy. A cloth can do the same effect, but it takes longer. If you are dealing with heavier dust, you may need to get a toothbrush or paintbrush to get into the problem areas deeper.
For a faster, more practical solution, break out the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. I personally prefer this method as it is faster and dust doesn't get spread all over the floor. However, some have said that vacuum cleaners on a high setting can actually ruin wicker. So to be safe, you may want to use a low setting. This method can be used regularly on the parts where the wicker shows when you are vacuuming the house. It's just a quick addition to your normal cleaning routine.
For heavier dirt, wet a cloth with some soapy water. Wipe down, then wipe down again with clean water. Be sure to dry thoroughly though. As wicker is made of natural materials, water is a recipe for mold and mildew, which is caused by moisture.
If you do have mold or mildew forming on your wicker furniture. Wipe down with a solution of 1/4th vinegar and 3/4ths water. Then wipe down again with plain water. The vinegar will help to kill the mold and mildew, but if left on too long, it can damage the reeds so be sure to rinse.
Be careful when cleaning not to press too hard on the slates, breaking them can severely comprising the stability of the furniture. The slates are the pieces that run vertical on the pieces of furniture, they essentially keep the weaving from moving. While they look weak, together with the other vertical and horizontal reeds, they make one strong piece of furniture. However, if you did have the misfortune of damaging one, you can make the appropriate repairs with wood glue. Allow the glue to dry overnight before continuing to clean. If the damage is extensive, you may want to consult a professional to see if it can be salvaged.
After the wicker and the cushions or fabric covering is clean, allow the wicker to dry in the sun. However, if you are in a pinch, you can use a hair dryer. Do not allow the wicker to dry somewhere dark, it is a recipe for mold.
For Outdoor Wicker Cleaning
The above cleaning is just fine for indoor wicker or even outdoor wicker that is in an area where it does not get much exposure to the elements. However, for wicker that is exposed to abundance of sun, snow, rain, or wind you need more of a heavy duty cleaning regimen and it should be done after each season.
A good all around cleaning solution is a mixture of 1/4th cup liquid dish soap and two cups of warm water. If you happen to have some mold or mildew forming, add a cup of white vinegar to the mixture. Break yourself out a soft cloth or a non-abrasive sponge and start to scrub. Be careful to not scrub too vigorously though, especially if your furniture is painted. Even a soft cloth or sponge will wear away the paint or natural colorings that make your wicker so beautiful. Scrubbing too hard leaves even natural wicker looking dull. Never use a stiff wire brush, steel wool or any abrasive cleaners when cleaning wicker. These, even when scrubbing softly, will take off any paint or lacquer that are on your furniture with ease.
After cleaning, give it a solid spray down with a garden hose on a light setting. If it is small enough to shake the water off, do so. If you cannot, do not sweat it. Just place it in direct sun and be sure to turn over on occasion. For best results, try to plan any cleaning on a day that is both sunny and windy. Never submerge the wicker fully in water, this will lead to water spots on the reeds or even warping and deformity. In the case of wicker, too much water is a bad thing.
If your wicker is extraordinarily dirty, you can also use a handheld steam cleaner on it. This is extremely effective, but comes with some risks. If you do not dry thoroughly and relatively quickly, you disk the chance of warping the reeds.