Rattan furniture care guide written by PicaronaBlog
Wicker, bamboo and rattan are natural materials which, due to their characteristics, are used to make all kinds of beautiful things: baskets, furniture, hats, and suitcases. You probably have some of these at home, so we will show you how to clean them and keep them in perfect condition.
Natural materials at home and in the garden
Although wicker, bamboo and rattan are some of the most commonly used materials, we must also add cattail (a fibre that is braided to make the seat of wooden chairs) and reed to this list. The latter is used to manufacture most of the baskets that many of us use as plant pot covers, which are popular at the moment.
Having said this, it is important to stress that wicker and all the other natural fibres can be cleaned with water, as long as we avoid over-wetting them. If we placed them under the water tap or used a hose to clean the garden furniture, we would ruin them. In addition, avoid leaving your garden furniture outdoors during the rainy months, as water can cause fungus to appear.
The best advice to keep your natural fibre & rattan furniture, pot covers, and baskets in good condition is to carry out weekly or monthly cleaning maintenance, to prevent dirt from building up in the nooks between the fibre braiding.
Rattan furniture care: weekly cleaning and maintenance
I recently dug out this old flower pot holder from the junk closet. Usually, for rattan furniture care you begin cleaning the natural fibre by hoovering it, to remove most of the dirt.
If you have a hoover, feel free to use it, as it will remove most of the dust that settles on your natural fibre items. By avoiding dust build-up, the object will remain in good condition for much longer.
If you don’t have a hoover, use a cloth made of a material that doesn’t fray, as the threads could get stuck or tangled up in the fibres. It can be dry or slightly damp with water, but wring it out well before using it.
Rattan furniture care: Cleaning stains on wicker, bamboo and rattan
When one of your natural fibre items is stained, avoid using bleach, which should only be used if the stain is very dark.
These are some of the most common ways to clean stains from natural fibres. They are listed from least to most damaging to the natural fibres:
1) Water and salt
First remove the dust on the object with the hoover or with a damp cloth. Next, dissolve a couple of tablespoons of coarse salt in 1 litre of hot water. Damp a cloth with it and rub the stains until they disappear.
Let it dry in the open air, avoiding direct sunshine.
2) Water and detergent
Use hot water and add a splash of neutral detergent. If the stain is very superficial or fresh, pick up a few soap bubbles with a damp hand and apply them to the stain. Then rub with a cloth.
If the stain persists, damp the cloth in the soapy water and rub the stain. Rinse it to remove the soap residue and let it dry in the open air, avoiding direct sunshine.
3) Water, detergent and ammonia
For tough stains, try adding a squirt of ammonia to the aforementioned mix. Damp the cloth, place it on the stain and rub vigorously and continuously. You can use a toothbrush if the weft of the fibre makes it difficult for the cleaning product to penetrate. Always follow the direction of the braiding to make it easier to remove the dirt.Rinse it and let it dry in the open air, avoiding direct sunshine.
4) Steam cleaners
Steam cleaners are ideal for deep cleaning wicker, bamboo and rattan. If the object that you want to clean is delicate, such as a hat, don’t bring the nozzle of the steam cleaner too close to it.
Spray soapy water (you can also add a little ammonia) on the object that you intend to clean, let it act for a few seconds and then apply the steam to it.
Let it dry thoroughly before using it again or putting it back in place.
Rattan furniture care: remove mould stains from bamboo, wicker and rattan
Fungi or mould can crop up on these natural fibres, forming more or less circular stains of a brownish or blackish colour. In order to remove these mould stains, use hot water and bleach, which will kill the fungus and completely remove it from the fibre.
Prepare a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach, damp a cloth with it and rub the stains until they disappear.
If the mould is just beginning to form and you can see little dark dots, you can use less bleach, as they will be much easier to remove.
Rinse it well and let it dry in the open air, preferably in the shade.
If any of the fibres come off, which is what happened to the handle of this basket, you can glue it back using white wood glue.
Last but not least, here are a few extra tips that you might find useful: if you want to restore shine to wicker baskets, chairs and furniture, you can use a furniture cleaning spray product. Let it dry a bit, and then rub gently. The wax will restore its beautiful shine.
Most plant pot covers are lined with plastic precisely to prevent them from getting wet and mouldy. If yours does not have one, use a plastic bag to protect the base and sides. You can fix it onto the fibre by sewing it, so that it does not move when you remove the pot to water the plant. If you only want to protect the base from excess moisture, recycle a supermarket plastic tray, a plastic bottle or part of a tetra brik container, placing it on the bottom. Your plant pot covers will thank you for it.
Did you enjoy this article from PicaronaBlog on rattan furniture care, including how to clean wicker, bamboo and rattan furniture? Why not read our tutorial on caring for your Monstera, or Swiss Cheese, plant or even our planter buying guide!