How to Protect Wicker Furniture



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The proper care of wicker furniture is probably not the most vital concern for the deck-bound summer enthusiast, but it’s also true that quality wicker furniture doesn’t always come cheap and taking care of your investment is just good common sense.

Different Kinds of Wicker

Briefly, wicker is a process rather than a material, which means wicker patio furniture can be made of many different things. (We discuss this in depth in a different article you can read here.) Rattan, raffia and bamboo are common natural materials used in wicker, but synthetic wicker is also very popular.

Knowing your material matters because it will determine how you can (and should) care for your patio furniture.

Wicker Care by Material

Synthetic (Resin) Wicker

Resin wicker looks and squeaks like the real thing, but is made of extruded synthetic fiber that is practically indestructible when compared with the natural alternative. Polyethylene is often the synthetic of choice because of its durability and resistance to UV radiation, water damage, staining and infestation.

The only care required here is an occasional scrub-down with mild soap and water. Spraying it with a protectant would be the equivalent of bulletproofing a bulletproof vest.

Natural Wicker 

Paint: Yes, you can paint natural wicker, or repaint wicker that’s already been painted. Between spraying and brushing, spraying will probably give you a more even all-around coat that doesn’t glob as much in the cracks. Once painted, you can seal the deal with a coat of wax.

Varnish/Lacquer/Shellac: Yep, yeah and you betcha – you can protect your wicker with any one of these methods.

Wicker Washing

Mild soap and water is recommended for most types of wicker, although it’s important to remember that natural, unfinished wicker can take a long time to dry and you shouldn’t use it until the drying process is complete. This could take several days, so plan ahead and wait for sunny days when washing your natural wicker.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to mold and milder on your wicker. But, if it’s too late – use a potent mix of bleach and water and cross your fingers. It will require a thorough scrubbing, a good rinse and lots of drying time.

Natural Wicker and Weather

Be sure to keep your natural wicker dry to avoid the nasty chore of scrubbing mildew off of it. This includes humidity. If it can’t be avoided, consider one of the protective methods above to save yourself the trouble of the scrub brush.

Caring for wicker furniture, whether natural or synthetic, can take a little bit of love, but on those sunny summer days it will definitely love you back.

This wicker lounge set from Whitecraft by Woodard includes a loveseat, ottoman and end table in your choice of 19 all-weather fabric colors. 

This rattan chair from South Sea Rattan & Wicker Furniture comes in either white or chocolate finish and a selection of 14 upholstery options.

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