The rattan plant is vine-like that grows very easily among other plants to extreme lengths. It is native to Indonesia and neighboring areas. The exterior shell of the vine can be removed and woven into wicker furniture, making it both flexible and durable. However, the inner part, which we know as cane, is denser and is best used for chair seats and other load-bearing objects. These ‘all natural’ materials are highly durable and have a reputation for lasting for several years with minimal care.
Rattan furniture, when kept in your patio or garden can be very stunning and comfortable. Choosing this kind of furniture may be very difficult as there are so many styles available, ranging from vintage style pieces to ultra-modern ones. Regardless of what you may choose, to get the best out of your rattan furniture, you need to keep it clean regularly. It would help you immensely to know how to clean rattan furniture in a way that will increase its longevity and give you many more years of comfort and service.
Wicker furniture is popularly used in the outdoors of homes because they are sturdy, attractive, lightweight, durable and comfortable and can be seen in a large variety of patterns and colors. It’ also very eco-friendly since rattan plants are in plenty and grow fast too.
Since wicker is a weave of plant fibers and reeds, it needs focused care to look really good. Rattan is an attractive, lightweight, and durable material for furniture.
How to clean garden rattan furniture
Wicker furniture is inherently difficult to clean because of its many small corners where dirt is likely to settle. However, this doesn’t mean you shut your eyes to any dust settling on different parts of it. It still must be cleaned periodically, however time-consuming, to keep its natural beauty alive.
Before you get down to cleaning wicker furniture, find out the kind of wicker furniture you have. According to this, you can determine the kind of cleaning required. At this stage, it’s important for you to know that there are three kinds of wicker furniture–natural, synthetic and a combination of these. Your natural rattan furniture is made of paper or reed and is less durable than its synthetic counterpart because natural wicker needs sealing and varnishing which the former doesn’t need.
Here are some tried and tested ways of keeping your rattan furniture clean:
To increase the lifespan of your rattan furniture, the first thing you need to learn is how to keep it clean. By ignoring this and continuing to use it without regular cleaning, dust and debris will settle in its crevices and show up between the weaves. Not only do these foreign bodies show up immediately and look ugly, but they are also carriers of bacteria, mildew and insect infestation and work to reduce the lifespan of your beautiful rattan furniture. To prevent such a situation, here’s what you should do:
- Do a basic cleaning job each week, using a stiff brush to remove all the dust.
- Ensure you’ve got everything out by following this up with a vacuuming job.
- Once a month, you can also wash your furniture with soap and water, brushing out all the dirt from the crevices and between weaves with a toothbrush. Once you’ve gone over the entire area of the furniture, wipe it with soft cloth. This should be done once every month.
To do a thorough clean-up job or to remove stains, scrub your rattan furniture with detergent, using more water than usually used for general cleaning. When you’re done, dry the furniture with a hair dryer or place it in direct sunshine. When the rattan furniture is completely dry, coat it with lacquer using a slender paintbrush. This will give it extended protection from the elements. Do this once a year.
In a dirty environment
If your outdoors are particularly dirty, clean your wicker furniture with a hand steam-cleaner. After you’ve done this, dry the furniture completely, again using a hair dryer or the rattan may bend or become damaged. For quick drying, use a steam-cleaner when the weather is exceptionally sunny or windy.
Dos and don’ts of cleaning your rattan furniture:
- Before beginning to clean your wicker furniture, take off all cushions and wash them separately, depending on the fabric.
- Dust the furniture with a feather duster or something equally soft so that it doesn’t take off the lacquer coating.
- When you vacuüm your furniture, make sure that you set the suction level to the least so that it doesn’t damage the furniture.
- If the dust is excessive, use a paintbrush with soft bristles which can remove dust and debris from the crevices.
- Mildew or mold can be removed from your furniture by forming a solution of water and white vinegar in a 75:25 ratio. Apply this and wipe off with plain water.
- To prevent rattan furniture from splitting or cracking, fix rubber stoppers below their legs.
- Avoid using a steel wool pad, harsh abrasive or stiff brush while cleaning your wicker furniture. such an action could damage your unfinished or natural wicker furniture and take off any lacquer finish applied for protection.
- Even though this furniture is meant for the outdoors, don’t leave it in the sun or expose it to adverse climate or the material will break down.
- Don’t soak the entire piece of furniture in soap water. Instead, use a damp cloth to take off the dust and dirt. If it becomes over saturated, dry it in natural sunlight so that it returns to its original form.
- Don’t drag your furniture around, instead lift it out of its place.
- Don’t keep it exposed to extreme humidity or it will warp. Also, keep it away from harsh sunlight or it will fade. Instead, you can change its position that takes it away from exposure to sunlight or install blinds or awnings.
Protecting any kind of furniture is your duty, and so it is with rattan furniture too. Now that you’ve learnt how to clean rattan furniture, look after it well so that it’s there for you for generations.
Here’s a video you can watch on how to clean patio or garden furniture: