Your Guide to Cleaning Wicker

Putting unpainted wicker furniture through the car wash is one great way to get it really clean! Providing it is wood-based wicker, that is. Learn all the tricks to cleaning all kinds of wicker, here:

Wicker furniture means that which is made from natural materials that are woven to create a strong structure.

What kind of wicker do you want to clean? Vine- or wood-based wicker can handle water. Paper fibre rush wicker can’t handle as much water so it shouldn’t be used outdoors, or cleaned with water.

Note that painted wicker doesn’t handle too much water no matter what the material underneath.

Wood-Based Wicker
Rattan wicker is made with the rattan palm vine. The vine is slit to many different lengths and used as the cane woven for the seats, and the vine itself can be used for the structure after the thorns are removed.

Willow is also commonly used to make wicker furniture.

Bamboo is increasingly being used for outdoor furniture but it doesn’t look like traditional wicker.

Paper Fibre Rush
Paper fibre rush is ropelike, manmade, and has a distinctive diagonal twist throughout the cord. After about 1930 the cords were strengthened by use of a metal wire running along the inside of the cord.

Cleaning Wicker
Unpainted wood-based wicker can be blasted with water, but it needs to be dried thoroughly before use.

Vacuuming wicker works well to remove dust.

Rattan wicker can handle light scrubbing with a mild detergent and water. Dry thoroughly.

Paper rattan needs to be dusted and vacuumed, not washed.

Make sure wicker is completely dry before using again. The sun works wonders for drying wicker, but make sure to bring the wicker inside at night while it is drying.

Placement of Wicker
Wood-based wicker does very well on covered porches as some humidity is good for it. A dry indoors environment makes wicker prone to cracking. Paper-based wicker shouldn’t be outdoors and is best suited for sun rooms.

Natural Wicker
Porch wicker (wood-based wicker), can weather beautifully into a natural hew. Paper wicker won’t, so it will need to painted. Painted wicker needs to be retouched every few years.

By Annie B. Bond

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K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Melissah Chadwick
Melissah C.5 years ago


Charles S.
Charles S.8 years ago

A furniture restorer class I took recommended for wood or rattan wicker, put 1 tablespoon Glycerin (from Drug or grocery baking supply area)into 1 quart warm water. Brush on and into wicker to soften, put damp towels on top and rub dirt off,and let dry. dirty water will run off to bottom taking dirt with it also. It lets the glycerin soak in and the water evaporate slowly.

Annie Bond
Past Member 8 years ago

REgarding the boiled linseed oil, just be very careful because most commercial boiled linseed oil contains petroleum dryers. YOu want to find a pure boiled linseed. Anybody have a good source of this? -- Annie

Jean Colburn
Jean Colburn8 years ago

Wicker can also be treated with boiled linseed oil which makes it look new again.

Gloria H.
Gloria H.8 years ago

This information was really informative and useful. Please continue to give relevant information like this.

Georgeann Grubham

nice to get educated about the various kinds of wicker. Georgiegal