Caring for Wicker Furniture Longterm: 5 Expert Tips

Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture is one of the most lovely styles of furniture to add to your home and garden. But when their color becomes dull, and they begin to crack, your once beautiful furniture can quickly become an eyesore. Caring for wicker furniture longterm will help to prevent wear and tear and keep your furniture set looking its best. 

So, how do you care for your wicker furniture? The following steps will do well to help you maintain your wicker furniture:

  1. Protect Your Wicker Furniture From the Sun and Weather
  2. Regularly Clean Your Wicker Furniture
  3. Maintain with Wicker-Safe Oils
  4. Properly Store Wicker Furniture
  5. Resurface Wicker Furniture

In this article, we’ll be discussing the above care steps in more depth to help you care for your wicker furniture so that it lasts for years to come.

Protecting Your Wicker Furniture From the Sun and Weather

As with all outdoor furniture, wicker furniture that has been left out in the sun will lose its color and have an overall duller and drier appearance over time. Protecting your wicker furniture from the sun will help to preserve its color and extend its life. Keep in mind that no method will be 100% effective against bleaching sunlight and UV rays, though they will work to reduce the aging you see in your wicker furniture drastically. 

Here are the best ways to protect your wicker furniture from the sun:

  • Use cushions to block the rays.
  • Place your furniture out of direct sunlight. Less exposure to harmful rays, whether it be by placing your wicker furniture under a covered patio or placing it under trees or some other covering, will prevent too much sun from having an impact on the color.
  • If your wicker furniture is by windows, use window treatment. Window treatments such as thick curtains, blinds, or tints can help to prevent an excess of sunlight from entering your home, sunroom, or enclosed patio.
  • Consider installing windows that block harmful UV rays. Modern windows now can block nearly 90% of all damaging sun rays from entering your home. If you’re particularly worried about your indoor wicker furniture, you may want to purchase better windows.

How to Protect Wicker Furniture From the Elements

Protecting your wicker furniture from the sun is one thing, but what about protecting it from the elements such as rain, wind, or snow? As the seasons change, so does the weather. With weather changes such as rain, sleet, winds, or snow, you’ll want to ensure that your outdoor wicker furniture can withstand whatever comes its way.

Here are a few ways to shield your furniture from the elements:

  • Cover your wicker furniture. Whenever a storm is brewing, it’s a good idea to cover your furniture with a covering designed for outdoor use. 
  • Securely tie or velcro your cushions in place. High winds can send even heavy cushions flying across the backyard. To prevent your cushions from ending up at the neighbor’s front door, ensure that they’re tied to the wicker furniture or place velcro on the underside of the cushion for a better attachment.
  • Move the wicker under a covered porch. One of the best ways to protect wicker furniture from the elements is not to let it get exposed to rain or snow in the first place. Moving the furniture out of high winds will also prevent dust and other debris from being blown on the wicker. 

To extend any type of furniture’s life, it’s always best to keep them out of the elements as much as possible. A covered porch, deck, or patio are all great places to display wicker furniture and aid in protecting the furniture longterm.

Does Wicker Furniture Need to Be Covered?

Wicker furniture doesn’t necessarily need to be covered head to toe to keep it protected from the sunlight. However, you may want to cover it when you know bad storms are about to hit.

Even though bleaching from the sun is a reality for wicker furniture, it can be remedied or slowed with simple decorative cushions. Any type of decorative cushion will protect your wicker furniture from being exposed to the harshest of sun rays, though there are cushions that are manufactured for sun-resistance. Specially-made cushions, like the Pillow Perfect Outdoor Forsyth Kiwi Tufted Seat Cushions, work to resist both fading from the sun and prevent outdoor weather conditions from negatively impacting your wicker furniture. 

Though it isn’t always possible to know when a bad storm is on its way, if you have a heads up, use a protective covering to seal your wicker furniture from the rain

Cleaning Your Wicker Furniture

Properly cleaning your wicker furniture is one of the best ways to extend its life. Regular cleaning can remove dust and grime and prevent it from building up inside the fibers of your wicker furniture. Every few days, dust and dirt may accumulate on the arms, legs, and back of wicker chairs and sofas. 

At least once a month, you should:

  • Run over the arms, legs, back, and other exposed areas with a soft bristle brush. This will loosen any dirt or dust that has attached itself.
  • If you’re very particular, use a toothbrush to get in the small spaces. Crevices behind the arms and legs may require a smaller utensil, such as a toothbrush, to remove the grime.

General cleaning once a month will prevent significant grime build-up. However, you’ll want to perform thorough maintenance now and then to make your wicker furniture shine.

Thorough Maintenance 

Once every six months, you should perform an intense cleaning on your wicker furniture. Because wicker furniture has so many crevices and fibers, dirt build-up is practically guaranteed, no matter your monthly cleaning routines. 

To thoroughly clean the wicker furniture, you should:

  • Remove any cushions and clean them separately. 
  • Gather a bucket of water with mild, soapy detergent and a bristle cleaning brush. 
  • Use the brush to transfer the soap and water to the furniture and scrub the entire surface of the wicker. 
  • Once the dirt and grime have been removed, use a garden hose to wash away any loose dirt and dust.

After the cleaning, though it’s generally advised against under most circumstances, you should place your wicker furniture out in direct sunlight to allow it to dry completely and quickly. Wicker furniture, if left wet or damp, can mold or mildew.

Preventing Disaster: Spills and Stains

It’s never a good idea to allow guests or family to eat or drink while sitting on your wicker furniture (unless the drink is unable to spill and the food isn’t messy). Because wicker furniture is so porous, it will grab and hold on to any spills and stains that it acquires. If a spill occurs on your wicker, immediately grab a clean cloth and use warm, soapy water to wipe it up. 

The longer you allow the spill to stay, the more likely it will stain, and the harder it will be to remove. 

Using Wicker-Safe Oils

It’s common for polishes to be used on wooden furniture, mainly, but did you know that oils and polishes are also beneficial for wicker furniture? 

Oils such as natural lemon oil brighten the appearance of wicker furniture, give it a pleasing smell, and also help to prevent dust and dirt build-up. Tung oil is excellent for water resistance and will prevent moisture from soaking into and expanding the fibers of your wicker furniture. 

To apply any oil to your wicker furniture, you should ensure that the furniture is completely dry and then use a dry, soft cloth to cover the furniture in oil. Do this when you first place the wicker furniture in your home or outdoors and again every 6-12 months or so, depending on the weather and amount of exposure to the elements.

We recommend that you use the Old English Lemon Oil to keep your wicker bright and colorful. It has a pleasant odor to freshen your furniture, and the Old English brand has been trusted for over 100 years to keep furniture durable and lasting. It also conditions wood, preventing splintering and cracking. 

How to Properly Store Wicker Furniture

If your wicker furniture is generally kept outdoors, it’s recommended that you store it indoors during harsh seasons such as winter. Even wicker furniture that is varnished and covered in beneficial waxes and oils will be hard-pressed to withstand harsh winter conditions such as heavy snowfall.

You can either use your wicker furniture in your home to remove it from the elements, or cover it with a protective covering to store it in a shed or garage. Be sure that you give your wicker furniture an intense cleaning before you store it to prevent grime build-up. Remember to allow it to dry out completely before covering the furniture to prevent mold or mildew from occurring.

We recommend that you use these Protective Weatherproof Covers for wicker sofas or this protective, weatherproof cover for oversized wicker chairs. Both come in either tan or gray colors, protect against rain, and feature velcro ties to keep them in place over your furniture. They also protect against the cold and sunlight if you’re storing them in a shed with windows or without heating. Plus, they’re affordable for the average consumer, making them a great buy.

Resurfacing Wicker

Actual wicker furniture is one of the most durable and long-lasting furniture types used in the western world. It isn’t uncommon for wicker chairs and sofas to last decades — even over 100 years — when taken care of. 

If you have wicker furniture that has been passed on from generation to generation, or you plan to keep your wicker furniture to pass on to your children and theirs, you’ll want to either varnish or apply a single coat of polyurethane to the entire surface of your wicker furniture every ten years. This will ensure that the fibers stay strong and sealed from water damage, dirt, and dust build-up, and are protected from weather conditions. 

You can also repaint your wicker furniture once every 3 to 5 years with a wicker-made paint to provide an extra layer of protection underneath the varnish. It’s best to apply two coats of varnish atop a single coat of paint. Don’t forget to paint and varnish the creases, underside of the seat, and under the legs and arms. Once again, make sure that your furniture is thoroughly cleaned before you start the repainting and varnishing process.

With that said, while traditional wicker furniture will last for generations, will plastic or resin furniture last the same length of time?

How Long Does Plastic Wicker Furniture Last?

Traditional wicker furniture is made from the Rattan vine, and though it can last decades, it’s susceptible to rot in the rain and will need to be looked after more carefully than plastic wicker. Plastic wicker furniture has become increasingly popular as outdoor furniture because it holds up much better to the elements than traditional wicker furniture. 

Plastic wicker furniture has the potential to last just as long as traditional wicker (or at least a decade or two). However, the plastic may not be as sturdy and could break more easily. If you plan to have wicker furniture primarily outdoors in open areas, it could be a good idea to buy plastic wicker furniture rather than traditional rattan wicker. 

Pros of Plastic Wicker Furniture:

  • Better withstands sun and downpours
  • Won’t crack or dry out 
  • Fibers won’t expand due to moisture 
  • Less expensive than natural wicker
  • Less maintenance to keep it looking nice
  • Won’t need to be stored under a covered patio or stored during the winter 

Cons of Plastic Wicker Furniture:

  • The looks aren’t as natural or beloved as traditional wicker furniture 
  • The overall appearance and quality of plastic wicker furniture vary from company to company. You may not always find the most realistic-looking faux wicker furniture in your price range. 
  • Plastic wicker has been known to break or unravel, especially on the backs and arms of chairs and sodas. These plastic wicker pieces are not as sturdy as natural wicker, in general. 

Overall, plastic wicker furniture may last as long as natural wicker. It’s also generally easier to care for, holds up better to unfavorable conditions, and is more affordable than rattan wicker chairs and sofas. However, the look is undoubtedly less appealing than natural wicker, and plastic wicker has been known to break with constant use. 

The Best Plastic Wicker Furniture 

Brands such as Patio Sense usually manufacture high-quality, lasting faux wicker furniture. A raved-about plastic wicker chair, like the Patio Sense Coconino Wicker Lounge Chair, holds up well to outdoor conditions like rain and has an appealing, realistic appearance. 

It’s also relatively affordable for what it is and is incredibly low-maintenance and a breeze to clean, thanks to its water-resistant properties. 

What We Like:

  • Beautiful color that won’t fade quickly
  • Holds up well in the sun and rain
  • Won’t mold or mildew if left wet 
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable for the average consumer 
  • Looks more natural than other synthetic options on the market 
  • Comes from a reputable brand
  • Can recline for maximum comfort 

Overall, the Patio Sense wicker collection is an excellent choice for outdoor plastic wicker furniture. They also offer a variety of wicker chair styles, along with double and triple-seated wicker sofas for outdoor use. Each product offers all-weather protection for top-quality durability and a long lifespan. 

Final Thoughts 

When it comes to caring for wicker furniture long term, it depends on basic care such as removing dirt and grime, keeping it out of the sun and harsh weather, and giving it a thorough cleaning, varnishing, and oil bath now and again. Lemon oil is excellent at refreshing your furniture and protecting it slightly from outward invaders like dirt, dust, and fingerprints. 

Caring for wicker furniture indoors varies slightly from outdoor care, and mainly comes to sun exposure. Even though the wicker is kept indoors if it’s near a window or large door, it can still be exposed to sun rays that can fade the color, crack the reeds, and dull the overall appearance of the furniture over time. Placing indoor wicker away from direct sunlight or considering window treatments will help to combat any adverse effects the sun may have on your wicker furniture. 

To conclude, if you want your wicker furniture to last as long as you do (and even possibly your great-grandchildren, too!), you’ll have to put in the monthly work. Remember to avoid eating and drinking while using the furniture, and if spills occur, clean them immediately. General care, cleaning, and avoiding mishaps is the key to long term success with wicker furniture. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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