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Patio Furniture -- Rattan - Cleaning, Care and Restoration

By Edited Sep 15, 2016 0 0

Rattan-patio-furniture is a popular choice amongst homeowners. Rattan and wicker furniture offers a classic look in an outdoor setting. Manufacturers make rattan patio-furniture from woven the solid center of the climbing palm vine. The outer covering is stripped away to use the middle of the vine. With proper cleaning and care rattan-furniture can last for many years. Manufacturers also make patio-furniture that looks like natural rattan, but is made from plastics, fiberglass or resins.

True rattan-furniture can be used as patio-furniture, but cannot be left outdoors or it will suffer from the harsh effects of the weather. Manmade materials can be left on the patio during the spring and summer, but do need to be stored away for the winter if you live in an area that has sleet and snow.

If you can commit to bringing your rattan patio-furniture indoors every day, rattan is incomparable in terms of comfort, visual appeal and decoration. Proper care and cleaning is required to keep your rattan patio-furniture looking good for a long time.

If you’ve come across rattan patio tables, chairs or maybe even a sofa and the price is great, but the looks are not so great, don’t pass up the bargain. You can restore the rattan as long as it’s not too far gone. If the rattan chairs or tables seem sturdy with only a very few broken pieces, you can fix it. If the chair will not hold your weight, pass it up and keep looking. Oftentimes, buying new rattan patio-furniture is your best option. This way you can ensure it is properly cleaned and cared for.

Give the Rattan patio-furniture a Good Cleaning

Lay a large tarp or drop cloth on the ground and set the rattan patio-furniture on top.

Grab a paint brush and brush away layers of dust and dirt.

Turn the furniture on each side and upside down to remove all built up dirt and dust.

Use an old toothbrush to get into hard to reach crevices and recesses.

Attach an upholstery brush to a vacuum hose and vacuum all surfaces of the rattan-furniture.

Fill a bucket with warm water and add 1 teaspoon of Murphy’s Oil Soap or a grease fight dish washing soap. Murphy’s Oil Soap will help to recondition the rattan, which is better if the rattan is dry and shows signs of cracking.

Saturate a clean rag with the cleaning solution and squeeze out as much excess soapy water as possible.

Wet a second rag with plain water and wring out as much excess water as possible.

Scrub the rattan surface with the soapy water soaked rag, turning the rag to a clean side as the rag becomes dirty.

Immediately wipe the patio-furniture with the water soaked rag to remove excess soap.

Dry the patio-furniture with a soft, dry rag. Do not over wet the rattan or you will ruin it.

Submerge an old toothbrush or nail brush into the soapy cleaning water and shake off the excess.

Scrub the crevices and recesses to remove stubborn dirt.

Leave the rattan patio-furniture outdoors to dry for an hour or two. Do not disturb the woven sections of the rattan when they are damp because you can loosen the weave.

As you are cleaning the rattan-furniture, examine it for damage and note the areas that require repair.

 If the patio-furniture is synthetic rattan, scrub it down with a scrub brush and rinse it off with a garden hose.


Tightening Furniture Joints

Push and pull lightly on the arms, seats or tabletops and legs to check for looseness.

If the sections move or wobble, you will have to repair them.

Draw up yellow wood glue into a glue syringe.

Insert the tip of the glue syringe into the loose joint and press the plunger to fill the area with wood glue.

Immediately wipe away any dripping glue with a damp rag.

Press the loose furniture joint tightly in place.

Place a hand screw clamp over the loose joint and tighten the clamp. Do not over tighten it because you will leave marks on the rattan.

Let the wood glue dry for two to three hours.

Repeat for each loose joint.

Broken Repair

Sand the sharp edges of the rattan with 220-grit sandpaper to make them smooth.

If the rattan piece is broken through and cannot simply be sanded to make it smooth, cut the broken piece with snips on either side of the break about 3 to four inches back or if possible, snip it at the wrong side of the chair or table.

Dip a new piece of rattan into yellow wood glue.

Weave a new piece of rattan into the area.

Wipe away exposed and excess glue with a damp rag.

Place a piece of wax paper over the new strand and hold it in place with C-clamps or a hand screw clamp until the wood glue dries.

Dry Rattan-Treatment

If the patio-furniture is overly dry, it will snap and break easily.

Add 1 cup of boiled linseed oil to a small bucket.

Stir in ¼ cup of turpentine with a wood stir stick.

Submerge a paintbrush into the mixture and paint a light coat onto it. Make sure you apply the mixture to the crevices and recesses.

Wait 10 minutes.

If the boiled linseed oil has soaked into it, apply a second coat with the paintbrush and wait 10 minutes.

Keep applying the mixture every 10 minutes until the oil no longer soaks into it.

Let the last coat of boiled linseed oil sit on the surface for three to four days after it has not soaked in any more.

Wipe the surface with a clean, soft cloth to remove any oily residue.

Touching Up Nicks

Examine the patio-furniture for nicks and scratches.

Dip a cotton swab into liquid furniture scratch cover that matches the color of it.

Paint a light coat of the scratch cover over the nicks and scratches.

Let the scratch cover dry.

Apply a second coat if the scratch cover color is lighter than the existing color of it.

Rattan patio-furniture Tips

If you plan on keeping your rattan outside, consider buying patio-furniture made from synthetic materials rather than true rattan.

Vacuum it at least once per week to prevent a buildup of dust and dirt.

Apply paste furniture wax to it to protect it from the environment.

Keep the patio-furniture covered and protected.




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