How To Clean and Repaint a Wicker Chair

Wicker furniture is light and airy. The woven materials make the furniture look fragile yet the natural materials are strong, sturdy and can last for several years with proper care.

There are different types of materials used for wicker furniture - bamboo, reed, rattan, and willow. Due to the nature of the materials and how the furniture is constructed, a wicker chair tends to collect more dust than any other furniture. However, regular cleaning will keep your wicker chair in good condition and free from dust build up. Through constant use, wicker will also show wear and tear and some parts may bend and crack the paint. When that happens, there is no need to throw away your wicker chair. You can give it some thorough cleaning and a fresh coat of paint and it will be again ready to give you relaxing comfort for several years. Here’s how.

  1. For daily care, you only need to dust and vacuum. Use a small brush to remove the dirt and get into the nooks and crannies. Wipe off spills with a damp soapy sponge.
  2. Direct sunlight, dew and rain will damage your wicker furniture. Wicker furniture is not for outdoor use, although humidity helps keep wicker pliant and flexible. Too much dry heat can make the wicker brittle. Wipe the whole furniture with a damp sponge occasionally to restore its natural flexibility.
  3. Once a year, when it is sunny and bright and there is a good breeze, give your wicker chair a good cleaning. You may want to take this time refinish or repaint your wicker chair. Take your wicker outside and vacuum it before using a stiff paintbrush, a toothbrush, a nailbrush or a vegetable brush and a pointed dowel to reach into hard to reach places and pry away crusted dirt. Dip the brush in warm soapy water and give the wicker a good scrub. Rinse the wicker chair using a garden hose. Tilt the chair so that the running water will not seep and rest into the wooden frame. As much as possible avoid wetting all wooden parts. Do not use too much water. Wipe off the excess water with a dry cloth or paper towel.
  4. Place the wicker chair in the shade where the air freely circulates. While still damp, straighten the wicker weave so that it will dry without unnatural gaps. Allow it to dry for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Never use a wicker chair while it is still damp because you will stretch the material and it will retain that shape when it dries. Make sure to check that it is completely dry before you use the chair again.
  5. Strip off as much of the peeling and cracked paint as you can by using a liquid stripper and allowing it to soak for some time to make the paint soft enough to be pushed by a stiff brush. It will be very difficult to remove all of the old paint. Wicker is porous and will absorb the pigments. It is also very difficult to reach all the in-between of the weave to be able to remove all of the paint.
  6. Allow the wicker to dry completely. It may take another 24 to 48 hours before you can paint it. You can use a spray primer to even out the wicker that may have developed some nicks and cracks. Spray paint in light, even coats to avoid the build up of paint puddles in some areas.

In good weather conditions, it will take you about one week to completely clean and repaint a wicker chair. It may take a lot of time to restore your wicker chair to its former glory but the result will be worth it.


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