How to Clean Wicker Furniture So It Lasts Longer

Keep your wicker furniture in tip-top shape with these cleaning tricks.

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Yield: Clean Furniture

Wicker's easy, breezy style makes it a perfect addition to a patio—or even a sunroom or other indoor space where you want that outdoorsy vibe. The word wicker actually refers to the woven look that's the hallmark of the style. That woven construction can make it challenging to clean wicker furniture, as dirt and grime can get caught in the weave.

Traditionally, wicker has been made of wood or plant fibers, like bamboo, willow, or rattan, but nowadays, you'll find a lot of wicker outdoor furniture made of resin and other synthetic materials that stand up to the elements better, and are much simpler to keep clean than natural wicker.

Whether you're looking to clean natural wicker furniture or a newer synthetic wicker piece, here's everything you need to get the job done. Here's how to clean wicker the right way so that it lasts for many years.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

To Clean Resin or Synthetic Wicker

  • Garden Hose
  • Soft Brush or Cloth

To Clean Natural Wicker

  • Vacuum With Brush Attachment
  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Toothbrush or Paintbrush


How to Clean Synthetic Wicker

Cleaning synthetic wicker is a much simpler process than cleaning natural wicker, as it can be safely hosed down and scrubbed with a mild detergent.

  1. Remove the cushions.

    Take off the cushions and wash them according to the manufacturer's directions. Usually, wiping with a damp cloth, perhaps with a touch of dishwashing detergent or other mild soap, is the way to go. For canvas cushions, follow these steps.

  2. Hose it down.

    Use your garden hose to take a first pass at rinsing away any dirt or grime. Avoid a heavy-duty power washer, which could stretch or damage the material. If you don't have a garden hose, a watering can refilled as needed will also work.

  3. Break out the soap to clean your wicker.

    Use dish soap diluted in water to give your wicker furniture a good scrub. Use a soft scrub brush or cloth, and avoid anything abrasive, which could damage the finish.

  4. Rinse away the dirt and grime.

    Use the hose (or watering can) to wash away the soap and dirt.

  5. Help your wicker furniture dry quickly.

    Wash your wicker furniture on a sunny, breezy day, or set up fans to help it dry quickly to reduce the possibility of mold and mildew.

How to Clean Natural Wicker

Natural wicker can become weak and damaged if regularly exposed to the elements—especially moisture—so it's best used in covered areas, like a porch. Regular maintenance can help keep your wicker looking great for years.

  1. Vacuum or dust regularly.

    The weave can really trap dust and dirt, so regular dusting with a microfiber cloth or a vacuum with the brush attachment will help keep dust in check.

  2. Wash wicker gently and sparingly.

    "Getting true wicker wet isn’t the real concern: it’s repeated wetting and drying that can cause issues," Berry says. You can use mild liquid dish detergent with warm water, or diluted oil-based soap and a damp microfiber cloth to go over dirty areas, then rinse it with clean water. Some experts recommend just using the bubbles from the soapy water to minimize moisture on your natural wicker.

    You probably only need to wash your outdoor wicker furniture twice a year—at the start and the end of the warm season, if you're somewhere where the weather changes drastically in fall and winter.

  3. Clear up mold and mildew.

    Mold and mildew are a regular issue with outdoor furniture, but it's easy enough to clean. "You can use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water to remove mold and mildew on wicker," says Katie Berry, cleaning expert and founder of Housewife How-Tos. "Scrub gently, remembering that wicker is fragile when wet, and hose it off."

  4. Let it dry completely.

    Don't put any weight on wicker furniture until it's thoroughly dry. "Wicker slackens when it’s wet and tightens as it dries, so any weight on it when it’s wet—such as a person or even a cat sitting on it—can cause it to lose shape," Berry says. A fan, sunlight, or a good breeze can help the furniture dry faster.

  5. Condition your wicker.

    After you do your deep clean, you can condition your wicker furniture to keep it from becoming brittle. "Unpainted indoor wicker and rattan will look new for years if you moisturize it with a wicker conditioner or even mineral or linseed oil," Berry says. "For the oil, rub it in with a white cloth and let it sit for 15 minutes, then buff away any excess. Reapply if necessary so there’s an even layer."

  6. Take care of messes swiftly.

    "Keep pollen or dirt buildup and bird droppings from turning into permanent stains if you clean them immediately," Berry says. That'll help minimize the need to deep-clean.

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