Rattan and wicker furniture is the perfect addition to any space— whether it's a patio, a sunroom, or an indoor living area. However, no matter how well you clean them, these pieces of furniture will never be completely shiny or spotless.
That's okay! Rattan and wicker furniture are from a natural wood product that ages beautifully with use.
But it doesn't mean that it can't be taken care of. There are many ways to help preserve its beauty. And before that, it's better to know the history of rattan and wicker, so it'll help you understand why certain things need to be done for the furniture to last longer.
Quick History of Rattan and Wicker Furniture
Wicker is an ancient craft that combines natural materials with traditional knowledge. The Romans were inspired by wicker furniture and adopted it as their own. This spread throughout the Roman Empire.
The story of rattan is a story of frontier expansion and conquest by Europeans. Rattan has been imported for centuries, but the fact that it grows in wild Asian jungles gives it a certain mystique.
Rattan predates the trip to America by probably thousands of years. It was used for wicker baskets and chairs, but that's about it. Then camePaul Frankl, who brought rattan into the dining room. He was a daredevil, for sure.
Wicker dates all the way back to3,000 B.C., and in recent years has made a stylish comeback. The furniture we recognize today started with Dutch makers who created high-backed chairs and baby cribs during the 17th century.
What is the difference between wicker and rattan?
Confused about the difference between rattan and wicker? Think of it this way: Rattan is a plant grown in tropical regions, where it’s used to make cane furniture.
Wicker, on the other hand, is a weaving technique that can be applied to many different materials (including rattan).
Technically speaking, Rattan is the material, and wicker is the technique. Wicker can be woven from rattan as well as many other natural or synthetic materials, but the confusion often lies in using the terms interchangeably.
A wicker sofa like the Lucara could be made from synthetic rattan (like this particular style is), natural rattan, bamboo, cane, or any other suitable material and still qualify as wicker due to its construction.
Wicker is a furniture-making technique that has been around since ancient times. It's easy to see why it gained in popularity during the 1970s.
How often should you clean your rattan and wicker furniture?
As anyone who has ever owned a rattan and wicker furniture can tell you, those furniture have a lot of nooks and crannies where dust and dirt can collect.
You should dust or vacuum your rattan furniture at least once a week with an upholstery brush, but if you eat in front of the television, you might want to make that fortnightly.
It's also a good idea to clean away any food, drink, or mud stains right away—don't let them sit on the furniture for too long. Once every year or two, inspect your rattan pieces for splits in the fibers and mold and mildew growth. If you spot anything that looks unsightly or problematic, take the time to clean it away before it gets any worse.
Things you Need to Do When Taking Care of your Rattan and Wicker Furniture
Like anypiece of furniture with intricate details, cleaning wicker furniture can be tricky, but we've got some tips that'll make the task easier.
Remove Dirt and Crumbs
Don't try to rub mud or food in your rattan furniture. That will only make it worse! Just use a spoon or dull knife to lift off bits of dirt, food, and fur. Once you've removed all the solids, apply a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the area and allow it to air dry.
Leave No Dust Unturned
To keep rattan furniture looking good and prevent excessive soil build-up in the weaving, use a microfiber dust cloth or disposable duster or a vacuum with an upholstery brush to dust the surface.
Use a Cleaning Solution
Fill a bucket with water and dishwashing liquid. Stir the mixture until suds form. Use this when cleaning the furniture and when you're ready to rinse out your cleaning cloth, drain the soapy water and fill the bucket with fresh water.
Wipe the Stain Away But Do it Carefully
Wipe down the rattan with a damp microfiber cloth, frequently wringing the cloth out until it is only slightly damp. Use a toothbrush to remove any dirt and grime built up in the weaving of the rattan.
When doing this, make sure to do it carefully so you won't create a scratch or dent in the furniture's design.
Don't Let it be Soaked Wet For a Long Time
Rattan that has been overly wet should be allowed to air dry. It usually happens for outdoor furniture, so check them regularly, especially after unexpected rain. If there is excess water on the furniture, use a soft cloth to dry it off.
Examine your Furniture Regularly
The goal is to find telltale signs of damage. So, remove your cushions, and look for splits and broken areas in the frame. If you've spotted any mold or mildew - this usually appears on the legs of a piece.
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South Sea Rattan St. Tropez Square Dining Table
St. Tropez Outdoor Square Dining Table by South Sea Rattan SKU #79317 Commemorate laid-back summer nights with the exquisite St Tropez Collection by South Sea Rattan. The St Tropez Outdoor Square Dining Table can be an excellent addition to your… read more
Tips on Keeping your Wicker and Rattan Furniture in Top Condition
- Rattan brings a tropical look to any space but you need to care for it properly to make it last. Don't pick it up by one end if you want your furniture stays in one piece.
- Try not to bang your rattan sofa against the wall or slide it across the floor as this can damage the fibers.
- Don't place your rattan furniture on a grassy area, on the beach, or near a water feature as it absorbs moisture and humidity.
- Moisture can cause mold and dust mites to form so keep rattan furniture away from humid areas such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and showers. If you're willing to take on these challenges, however, rattan is a great option for living room sets or even outdoor patio chairs.
Extending The Lifespan of Your Rattan and Wicker Furniture
Wicker furniture has a tendency to accumulate dust and dirt, and if you're not careful, it can begin to look pretty ragged and get damaged early.
Dust your furniture often with a soft cloth. Use furniture polish every so often if you like, but be gentle when you do it! Don't use paint thinners on your wicker furniture. You can use it sparingly, but don't get carried away.
Take care when cleaning your rattan furniture, as it is sensitive to moisture. If possible, dry it outdoors in the sun. If a mild furniture cleaner is used, test it first on a small area of the furniture; and never soak it in water. Don't bend rattan while wet, because this may cause warping or splitting.
If you have any issues with mold or mildew, we recommend a thorough scrubbing with household bleach and then drying the furniture outside in direct sunlight.
Use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean the woven rattan on your furniture. Your vacuum can also be used to clean crevices by hand.
When moving rattan furniture, lift it instead of dragging it. That way you won’t split the fibers.
Put felt pads or rubber stoppers on the bottom of each furniture leg to help protect your wicker and rattan furniture from small children who love to tip over things.
To keep rattan furniture from fading, rotate it regularly to ensure that all its fibers get plenty of sunlight. Fading is natural and not necessarily bad, but if you can reduce extreme sun exposure with blinds or awnings, it's better for your furniture.
Keep it moist: Most natural fibers require a certain level of moisture, so keep furniture away from places with severe heat. Also, if you’re in a particularly dry climate, add some moisture to the air with a humidifier.
When rattan furniture has split due to excessive dryness, the best thing to do is avoid making things worse: seal the rattan with tung oil or boiled linseed oil and raise the humidity level.
The weave is strong yet flexible, providing comfortable accommodation that naturally sags over time. That's why most rattan furniture seats are made to be used with a pillow - it's more comfortable that way, and it also distributes your weight more evenly across the seat's surface.
You can also give your wicker furniture a protective coat of stain and sealant to protect it from the elements and keep it looking great for years to come.
You might be asking, is rattan furniture waterproof?
The answer is yes and no. It Depends on the Kind of Rattan, But generally speaking, the answer is a "yes". However, a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration such as its materials and how it is made. So it is important to choose the rightrattan wicker furniture company to purchase from.
While rattan can tolerate all kinds of weather, the color of paint on most rattan furniture will fade over time. To make it last longer, keep your rattan in a shaded area when not in use.
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