How do I Care for Rattan Garden Furniture?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

Taking care of rattan garden furniture is relatively simple and involves regular cleaning, in-depth yearly cleaning, and the proper placement of the furniture. The care of this type of Asian furniture also requires quickly taking care of any stains or tears. Wicker, or rattan, furniture is often made from materials such as bamboo and other grass-like plants that can be dried and woven to create durable and beautiful outdoor furniture. Some rattan sofas and chairs are intended to be used unadorned, while others feature plush cushions, often designed with tropical print. Many people also choose to purchase rattan tables and desks to fully furnish their outdoor living space.

Rattan furniture with fabric cushions should be allowed to dry thoroughly after they get wet.
Rattan furniture with fabric cushions should be allowed to dry thoroughly after they get wet.

In order for rattan garden furniture to remain in good condition, it is essential to treat it to regular cleanings. Most experts suggest using a soft cloth soaked in a gentle dish detergent and water solution to clean the surface of the furniture on a monthly or weekly basis. Tools, such as a small brush or toothbrush reserved for this purpose, may be used to reach into the natural crevices of this material. The technique used to clean the rattan sofa and chairs should minimize the amount of water left on the surface of the furniture to avoid potential water damage. Any furniture with fabric cushions need to be allowed to dry thoroughly before the cushions are properly placed again.

Most gardening experts also suggest that the best care for rattan garden furniture includes yearly cleaning. Like regular cleaning, this process also uses dish detergent and water to effectively remove dirt and dust from the surface and crevices of the furniture. It is advisable to more deeply saturate the furniture with the cleaning solution once a year, however, before using an electric hair dryer to quickly dry the wicker. After the furniture has had ample time to dry, a coat of sealant or shellac should be applied.

It is common for rattan garden furniture to be placed in recreational areas of the home such as the patio, sun room, and deck. While wicker material does very well in humid conditions, it is important for the life of the furniture to limit its time in direct sunlight. Too much sun may very well cause dry rot and severely reduce the look and function of the furniture. Wherever the homeowner chooses to place the rattan furniture, the life of the furniture legs can be prolonged by placing rubber stoppers under the legs to reduce the likelihood of splintering and damage.

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Discussion Comments


I have some outdoor garden furniture that looks like it is made of rattan, but is made to be outdoors. I really do like this better as far as being able to leave the furniture outside.

I have had a rattan garden set in the past, and would make sure and give it a deep cleaning every fall before I put it away for the winter.

I would also use an old toothbrush to make sure I cleaned out all the crevices and tried to keep the rattan looking nice. While I love the casual look of wicker and rattan, I know they don't do well in humid weather.

I live in the Midwest where we are known for our humidity, and that is probably the biggest reason I had a hard time keeping my rattan in good shape.


@John57-- I gave up trying to keep rattan patio garden furniture outside. I never really understood why it is called patio furniture when it really isn't supposed to be outside in the first place.

I also struggled with the cushions getting wet all the time. I tried to keep up with the cleaning on a regular basis, and wipe the rattan down with a cloth, but you can tell it has been weathered.


Has anyone been able to keep rattan furniture clean if it is outside and exposed to the elements?

I have some rattan garden patio furniture on a covered porch, but it still gets wet if there is a heavy rain. Over time, the rattan looks like it has darkened and doesn't look as shiny as it did when it was new.


I have always loved the look of garden rattan furniture and have a set of this in my sun room. Keeping the furniture inside helps keep it clean, but it is also exposed to quite a bit of sun.

I have two rattan chairs, each with their own end table next to it. I keep plush cushions on the chairs, and this makes a comfortable spot to read or just relax.

I keep my rattan furniture in this room all year long, but am not the best about keeping it cleaned on a regular basis. I might give the furniture a good dusting from time to time, but other than that, I don't do much to keep the rattan clean.

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