How to Clean Rattan Furniture
Rattan furniture is a beautiful choice for many people, whether it’s adorning your conservatory or enhancing the comfort or design of your garden patio, rattan is as popular as ever. But, like all furniture (especially if you use it outside), it is better to look after it and it’s going to need a clean from time to time.
But how do you clean rattan furniture? Luckily, there are some easy steps that you can take to ensure your rattan furniture looks its best! This article will provide you with the information you’ll need.
How to care for rattan furniture
Rattan furniture is generally resistant to fading, attack from fungi, and decay. It does however need a little care and attention to keep it looking great.
If left to weather unprotected, the fibres of the rattan can split and deteriorate, meaning that your furniture will look old and worn. For this reason, it is a good idea to take proper care of your rattan furniture with some basic regular cleaning:
How to Clean Rattan Furniture – 2 Step Guide
Our two simple steps guide to cleaning your rattan furniture is below. Follow this guide and you’re rattan furniture will look as good as new!
Clean the rattan in a mild solution of washing-up liquid and dish-washing detergent. You generally won’t need anything more than this. It is also safe to use a mild household detergent spray then wipe-over with a cloth.
Avoid using bleach if you can but just make sure you rinse off properly if you do have to use it for those stubborn stains.
It’s best to do this on a sunny day so you can wipe off any excess wetness with a towel/cloth then leave the furniture to dry naturally in the sun.
Once dried, it is a good idea to oil your rattan furniture with a light coating of danish oil (or similar).
This will help to maintain the furniture and protect it from damage, as well as preserving its colour and restoring its water repellency.
Use a Cover
Any furniture that is left outside for long periods of time should be ideally be covered when not in use.
Furniture covers will prevent the furniture from discolouring or fading. If you’re going to cover your furniture, do it as soon as possible after using it but not before you’ve cleaned and protected it.
If you’ve cleaned it, make sure the furniture is dry before you cover it.
We would always recommend you use a cover that will protect against all weather. Rain will eventually cause damage to your furniture but rattan furniture’s worst enemy is the sun, so make sure any cover you buy has really good UV protection.
How Long Does Rattan Furniture Last?
Rattan furniture is actually quite durable and can last a long time if it is cleaned occasionally and not left uncovered outside permanently. As with all furniture, it is best to store the pieces indoors when you are not using them.
You can ensure your furniture lasts longer by making sure you look after it, keep it clean and once a year give it a light coat of oil (see below)
How to Fix Splits and Cracks
If you notice any cracks or splits on your rattan furniture, don’t panic. Just remember that rattan is a natural product and will often have natural imperfections.
These imperfections are often more noticeable in the darker shades of rattan which means that lighter shades won’t necessarily show them to you.
The most common reasons rattan splits and cracks often occur are:
During use, the rattan will have been subject to stress on one side or the other. This is often the case when a piece of furniture is placed in a corner. Rattan furniture will continue to split and crack when it gets stressed as this can’t be avoided.
When two pieces of furniture are placed together that aren’t at right angles, they can often stress each other out and cause splits. This is the most common reason why rattan furniture cracks and splits on its own.
When too much sunlight is shone directly into a piece of rattan furniture, it can weaken the weave. When this happens, the weaving will often split and crack. To avoid this from occurring, make sure you cover your furniture as sunlight can do a lot of damage to rattan fibres.
Rattan furniture can be quite heavy. This means that the rattan will often weigh down the furniture and it can therefore cause stress on individual points. The result of this could be a split or crack in the weave causing splitting of the rattan to occur.
The most common type of damage occurs when moisture has entered into cracks and splits, causing them to rot.
A lot of people will get splits and cracks in their furniture from time to time. Rattan is quite tough, but like all fibres, it can break down over time and become weak.
If you have any splits or cracks in your rattan furniture, here are a few things you can do:
You can repair splits in rattan by using glue. There are a lot of glues out on the market so you have plenty of choices, and you can use a fast-setting glue (think super glue or gorilla glue) but we’d recommend using one that is specially designed for rattan.
The glue will be really easy to apply and it’ll get into the weave almost immediately. Always make sure that you completely cover the crack so that it’ll fix together perfectly.
If you have a break in your rattan weave, you can reinforce it using thin strips. Cut strips of rattan to the same width as the weave and glue it into place.
How to Refinish Rattan
You can easily refinish rattan furniture and keep it in good shape by using a combination of light sanding and oiling.
To sand your rattan, you should use a fine grade of sandpaper. When you’re sanding, cover the area with a heavy cloth to absorb any dust.
When you’re giving your furniture a new coat of oil, don’t go overboard with the amount that you put on. This is because you don’t want to make your furniture too slippery.
You will only need a thin coat of oil on the surface – put a drop of oil onto a cloth and rub the cloth over the surface. This will mean that you can still have a great finish on your rattan and it’ll still be protected from the elements.
Another, slightly quicker way is to use a spray-on protector. Brands like Scotch guard offer sprays that are easier to apply than oil and still purport to offer the same water-repellent protection oil would give you. Again, apply sparingly, you really don’t need much, rattan is naturally water-resistant anyway.
You should treat your rattan with oil once a year no matter how often you use it. Don’t put oil on more often than this as it will only make it become slippery.
Rattan is a great material for outdoor furniture as it’s durable, strong, and naturally water-resistant. It’s easy to work with and it comes in a range of different styles so you can find the perfect thing for your patio or garden.
Of course, natural materials are always going to be susceptible to damage from the elements so like any other wood you should take good care of your rattan furniture if you want it to last you for many years to come.