Wicker is a very sturdy form of furniture, but does require occasional cleaning and care. A sturdy high quality piece of wicker, if cared for correctly, can outlast other furniture items. Caring for wicker furniture from the beginning will extend the life of any wicker item.
Regular routine dusting can be done using a small soft brush for dusting. This is to remove any type of dust, dirt, or gime build-up on the wicker. Any pieces of hair or fuzz should be gently removed. Vaccuming with a soft attachment also works great and is a gentle way to remove dust and dirt. A soft cloth or soft toothbrush or a very soft paintbrush with the top cut off will also work.
Spills should be wiped with a damp cloth immediately using a mild mix of dish detergent and water.
When washing wicker furniture do not get wooden parts wet..
Clean reed wicker with a spray hose, but make sure it is a gentle spray similar to a light shower. If the spray is to harsh it will cause paint and finishes to chip and peel.
For bamboo furniture it should be hand washed to avoid damage to your furniture. After cleaning a thin coat of liquid wax will restore the shine.
Most importantly Do Not Use your wicker funiture until it is throughly dry. Sometimes drying can take several days. Never sit on wet wicker, weight can cause reeds to bend causing irrepairable damage.
Applying a finish will give additional protection for wicker furniture. Lacquer, varnish, or shellac are common finishes. Additionaly after finish is dry, add a thin coating of liquid furniture wax cn be applied to keep a glossy appearance.
For your comfort and to prolong the life of wicker chairs padded cushions is a good investment.
Humidity levels in the air play a big role in extending the life of your wicker furniture. Direct heat to wicker furniture will cause wicker to become brittle and crack, but at the same time you must make sure the humidity is not to great. High humidity (leaving wicker in the rain) will cause mildew. First try a dishsoap water solution to remove the mildew, if this does not work, clean with a mild solution of bleach in water. Use bleach only if there is no other choice. Bleach will cause the wicker to dry and become brittle. Make sure to wash bleach solution throughly after cleaning mildew to prevent the reed from drying as much as possible. If mold does not leave after a mild solution, a stronger solution of bleach may be needed. Take the furniture outside on a sunny day and apply a stronger bleach solution to spot clean and allow the furniture to dry outside. Make sure to let the furniture dry throughly after a through rinsing with water. There are some times that a piece is to far gone, and the only option is to replace the material where the mold and mildew is located.
High humidity levels can also cause your wicker to permaturely sag. If this happens dampen the wicker and then let it dry throughly, several days. If the wicker has not stretched to much it will retighten as it dries. (Never use wicker when it is damp, this will prevent sagging.) This usually works on furniture five years or newer, but will not help if there is breakage in the wicker.
Outdoor wicker furniture should be weather treated or manufactured from weather resistant materials, usually resin or plastic. During winter months store your wicker indoors. Doing this simple thing will extend years of life to your wicker furniture. During the rest of the year your wicker furniture should not be left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, outdoor wicker furniture included.
Never use stripper on painted wicker. Stripper will dry out the reed and cause the reed to become extremely brittle.