How to Care For Rattan Furniture

How to Clean and Care for Rattan Furniture

Reading time: 5 minutes.

When you spend money on new outdoor rattan garden furniture, it makes sense to clean and care for the furniture so it remains in good condition for as long as possible. If you have never owned rattan furniture before, or are looking for maintenance tips for the first time, our guide will tell you everything you need to know on how to clean and care for rattan furniture.


How To Clean Outdoor Rattan Garden Furniture

One of the main benefits of buying rattan furniture is how cost effective it is. Not just in terms of the price you pay, but also in regards to the longevity of the material when cared for correctly. To clean your outdoor rattan garden furniture you simply need to follow these steps:

  • Use a hand brush to gently brush down the material to remove any surface dirt and grime. You can also use a vacuum if easier.
  • Fill a bowl with warm water, mixing in washing up liquid to use as a light cleaning agent. Do not use harsh detergents as this can have a negative effect on the rattan.
  • Use a soft cloth to dip into the bubbles (not the water) and use this to wipe down the various parts of the furniture.
  • You can use a toothbrush or another soft brush to get into the crevices and hard to reach areas.
  • Rinse out the cloth and replace the warm water with cold water. Wring out the cloth and wipe down the furniture to remove any soaps suds and leave it to naturally dry outside.

To get the very best results we recommend this is done on a weekly basis, if you are regularly using the furniture. If not, then once a month should suffice.


Taking Care Of Your Rattan Garden Furniture

Cleaning your outdoor rattan garden furniture is one thing, but taking care of the various elements – such as cushions and covers – as well providing adequate protection - will extend its lifespan. Here’s what to look out for.

Invest In a Cover

While rattan is a natural material that is at home outside of your property, it is still better to give it protection during periods when it is not in use for extended periods. Investing in an outdoor rain cover will keep the rattan furniture dry during the colder months of the year, and protect it from moisture in the air, which will also allowing it to breathe and maintain its condition.

Bring Removable Cushions Inside

While rattan can withstand the various weather elements throughout the year, the same doesn’t apply to cushions used for outdoor rattan garden furniture. They can withstand the odd shower of rain, but not an ongoing torrent, which means cushions on rattan garden loungers and rattan garden chairs should be brought inside when they are not in use. A rain cover will help, but it can’t stop the airborne moisture from getting into the cushion material.

Keep the Material Clean

Accidents will happen, which means there will be the occasional spill. As you would inside your home, act quickly to clear up any spillages or marks that are noticeable. A damp cloth should be enough and you can leave the material to air out naturally.

Protect It From the Sun

Your rattan garden loungers will mostly be left outside for you to relax on to catch some sun. Rattan is a natural material that can suffer from over exposure to harsh UV rays. Try to give it shade at times so the rattan can retract and breathe, which will give your outdoor rattan garden furniture more longevity.

Take Care Of the Seat Cushions

Once your rattan garden chairs have been delivered and assembled it is easy just to keep them in the same position from that point onwards. However, some seats will get more use than others, which will lead to the cushions losing shape. If you can remove the cushions, swap them around so they each get equal use. The same goes for exposure to the sun – move round the chairs so one piece does not receive more weather exposure than any other.


How To Treat Your Outdoor Rattan Garden Furniture

Your rattan furniture needs a little TLC from time-to-time and there are three easy ways you can help its lifespan in your garden.


Staining the Material

If the finish on your rattan furniture looks faded or dull, you can stain it to restore the shine and colour. Depending on how much you need to do it can take a few days, but the end result is worth it. Follow the instructions laid out by the staining product and apply it directly to the rattan, before letting it rest and wiping off any remnants to reveal a reinvigorated material underneath.  

Polish Up the Surface

After staining your outdoor rattan garden furniture, it pays to add an extra sheen to the finish. By using liquid wax you can give the material the perfect polish to bring back the vibrancy and energy of your furniture. It only has to be done once a year as it will last for months to come.

Weatherproof Your Furniture

Rattan comes from hot tropical rain forests and when alive as a vine can adapt to sudden changes to the weather. When made into furniture it retains much of its weatherproof qualities but needs a little helping hand along the way. Applying a hardwood garden furniture treatment once a year will help protect against harsher rain elements so it can brush off the sun, rain, wind and snow thrown at it by the British weather.


How To Restore and Repair Rattan Garden Furniture

Wear and tear will happen over time, but with some care and attention you can repair and restore the rattan back to a good condition. Here are three big tips that will help you along the way.


Repairing Cracks and Splits

Overexposure to the natural elements can lead to the rattan cracking or splitting as the years pass by. But worry not, as using boiled linseed oil every year on the affected areas can go a long way to fixing the issue. It works in a similar way to the staining method, so all you have to do is apply the oil and wipe away any remnants that are left over.

Painting Your Rattan

If you choose not to stain your rattan, another great alternative is to paint it instead. It’s up to you whether you spray paint it or follow the traditional route. It works in the same way as any other surface you are painting, requiring a primer coat followed by layers of your favourite colour. As with staining, it really brings the rattan back to life and gives it a whole new dimension.

Refinish the Furniture

Refinishing the rattan works in the same way as refinishing any other type of material. The goal is to give it a new lease of life after it has been in use for a number of years. Avoid using a sander and opt for a liquid sander instead and then start to apply your colour of choice. If it’s the same colour as before, it should be easy to re-establish its vibrancy, if it’s a new colour, you may need to add a few more coats to get the finish you are after.