Wicker furniture is very popular worldwide, mainly because of the way it looks and enhances just about any room and because of the variety in designs and styles. It is used for indoors, in the bedroom, the lounge, the living room. You can find set pieces or decorative pieces. On the other hand it is also used outdoors, in your patio as a furniture set or woven baskets and such.
A furniture frame, normally made of wood becomes the core of the piece, and wicker material is used to form a woven pattern that fills in the space between the frame. A simple example to illustrate this is a chair. The wooden frame would be the legs, the back rest and around the seat. Wicker is then woven around the frame to fill in the seat and back rest.
As with all furniture to make sure it stays in good condition and has a longer and more useful life, wicker furniture must be taken care of.
Don't go for a spring cleaning solution for your wicker furniture. Dust it or them, with a clean cloth and do it often. Dust is constantly around us, whether indoors or outdoors, and it will settle on your furniture so simply remove it as it arrives. This can be a simple (but gentle) dusting that you do everyday or at the most once a week. It will eliminate the need for deeper cleaning as dirt and dust is not allowed to penetrate and form a crust. For the corners and places whether the woven pattern is set into the frame, and where typically dust will accumulate, use a small, light brush and remove it careful - in other words without scratching the piece of furniture. Typically the areas which are not easily seen (underneath the chair seat for example) will accumulate more dust. Check them out.
You can also wash your furniture, but here only use a little water and mild soap. It is important that you use very little water and make sure you dry it well - whatever you do, do not apply pressure (for example sit on a wicker chair) if it is still wet. You will damage the woven material and stretch it.
Aside from the cleaning there are other typical things that happen to wicker. One of these is that the weave looses its original form as it sags or become dry. Dryness can also produce cracks. Some things you can do are:
1. When cracks appear this is because of the ambient dryness that is affecting your wicker. Just rub in some linseed oil and let it rest for one or two days so that it is all absorbed. This is vitamin "c" for your wicker.
2. For loose strands of weave a gentle rubbing, and I stress gentle, with a fine grit sandpaper over the rough area.
3. Wicker, like leather, when wet will memorize the shape in which it dries. Sometimes you will find the weave has shifted or sagged. You can wet it, again carefully, and stretch so it dries in that position, recovering the original form.
4. Strands that have broken or become unattached can be a problem. As long as it is not extensive damage, your best bet is to get hold of the same material and weave. If you are not comfortable with the idea you will have to find an expert. However if you decide to proceed with the repair make sure it is a small area and then careful, and very patiently, try it out, one weave at a time.
The most important part of taking care of your wicker furniture is the dull but effective measure of constant dusting.