Rattan is a species of palm found in Asia, Africa and Australia. It is one of the strongest types of wood and also happens to be easy to clean and care for, making it a great choice for garden furniture. Rattan garden furniture is extremely durable and long lasting, however proper care is required if you want it to withstand the elements and last for years to come.
Rattan is a type of palm found in Asia, Africa and Australia. It is often referred to as wicker, however wicker is actually a type of weaving method and not a material.
Although rattan garden furniture
is often kept outside all year round, if you do not keep it protected it may bleach when exposed to sunlight. Rattan furniture can also develop cracks and splits if not cared for properly. Cleaning and maintaining your garden furniture will allow you to continue using it for decades. Here we will explain some of the many ways you can clean and care for your outdoor rattan furniture.
Cleaning rattan garden furniture
What you will need:
Vacuum cleaner with small brush attachment or Toothbrush / nailbrush
Mild washing up detergent
2 x soft cloths
If you leave your rattan garden furniture outside on your patio, it is likely that it will collect dust and debris in its weaves over time. Dust, dirt and debris need to be removed from your furniture or they may end up collecting in the crevices of the weaves and causing mildew. A great way to remove loose dust and dirt is to use a vacuum cleaner. We highly recommend using the small brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, if you have one. This will remove the loose dust and dirt quickly and easily.
Alternatively, you could always use a brush with non-abrasive bristles, like a toothbrush or nailbrush. Brushes of this size will be perfect for getting into all of the crevices of the weaves.
Once you have removed the loose dust and dirt, we highly recommend cleaning your rattan furniture using warm water and a mild washing up detergent. If you own natural rattan furniture, it is important not to get it too wet. Instead of submerging a soft cloth into the water and soaking your furniture, we recommend just skimming the bubbles off the top instead.
After you have cleaned any dirt and marks off your furniture, slightly dampen a clean cloth and wipe it over your rattan dining table and chairs
. Make sure you allow your furniture plenty of time to dry before using it again.
Synthetic rattan garden furniture can withstand getting slightly wetter, so you could always use a hosepipe to clean your furniture instead. Just make sure that the water drains off properly and that you carry out the cleaning task on a windy day so your furniture dries quickly.
Most people use cushions and seat covers on their rattan garden chairs
to make them more comfortable. These cushions and seat covers need to be washed on a regular basis in order to keep them in tip top condition. Most covers and cushions will be machine washable, but it is always best to check the label first. It is unlikely that you will be able to tumble dry them so make sure you leave them out to dry and do not put them back on your rattan chairs until both are dry.
If you use seat covers and cushions on your rattan furniture, make sure to regularly wash them to keep them in a good condition. It is also advised that you keep the cushions and seating covers inside when you are not using them.
Removing stains and mould from your furniture
It is important to avoid spilling anything on your rattan dining sets when eating alfresco. If you do accidentally spill something on your furniture, take care of it as soon as possible to avoid the liquid soaking into your furniture and staining it. If you do notice stains on your furniture or mildew (brown mould spots that do not come off with soap and water) try mixing a solution of bleach and water together. You will need to scrub your furniture, but be careful not to damage the weave. If this doesn’t work, you may need to drip a Q-tip in bleach and apply it directly to the stains.
How often to clean your furniture
We recommend vacuuming or dusting your rattan garden furniture every week to keep it in a good condition. You probably only need to clean it once every month, however if you use it a lot or the weather is particularly bad, you may need to clean your furniture more often. Every year we highly recommend carrying out maintenance on your furniture. We will discuss some of the ways in which you can do this below.
Repairing rattan garden furniture
What you will need:
Boiled linseed oil
Extreme heat and direct sunlight can cause rattan garden furniture to split and crack. The best way to avoid this is to keep you rattan garden furniture in a protected and shaded area. If you notice that this has already happened to your furniture, you can try using boiled linseed oil to repair it. Always buy boiled linseed oil from your local DIY store. Do not try boiling linseed oil yourself, as it is highly flammable.
Apply a thin layer of the oil to your furniture and wait for it to dry. You can then re-apply more layers, buffing your furniture with a cloth and letting it dry in between. When you start to notice the oil is not sinking into the furniture as well, then you will have applied enough of it. Whilst the boiled linseed oil will not actually fill in the cracks and splits, it will moisten the rattan and cause it to expand, making the damage less noticeable. It also provides a shiny finish that will add to the furniture’s stylish aesthetics.
If you notice the weaving on your furniture is looking a little loose, you may be able to gently put it back in place with your fingers. One of the best ways to avoid loosening the weave of your furniture is to avoid using it when it is damp. If you sit on your rattan garden chairs before they are fully dry, the weight of your body can cause the seats to sag.
Using boiled linseed oil on your furniture can help to soften the rattan, preventing further cracking. It will also cause the rattan to expand which will help to disguise any existing cracks and splits in the weaves.
Seeking professional help
In worst-case scenarios, you can have your furniture repaired by professionals. However you have to consider the costs. Would it be cheaper to have your garden furniture repaired or would it be more cost effective to buy a new set?
Protecting rattan garden furniture
What you will need:
Clear sealant / shellac / lacquer
Paintbrush or compressor sprayer
One of the best ways to protect your rattan garden furniture from the outdoor elements is to apply a protective finish. You can use anything from sealant to shellac and lacquer. These can all be applied either by using a paintbrush or a sprayer. It is best to carry out the work outside to avoid it causing damage to your home. Always leave your furniture to dry for several days before using it again.
If your rattan furniture is feeling a little dry, you can always moisten it using lemon oil. This can be purchased from your local hardware store and applied with a cloth.
Painting rattan garden furniture
If you are tired of your old rattan garden furniture but it is still in a good condition, why not consider painting it? Using a waterproof or oil-based paint will refresh your rattan furniture and give it a brand new look.
What you will need:
Oil-based or waterproof paint
Paint brush or compressor sprayer
If you own painted rattan furniture, over time you may notice that the paint fades and chips. It is easy to carry out small touch-up jobs using a small paintbrush. Alternatively, if you want to refresh your garden furniture and give it a new look, you could re-paint it in a different colour. Spray-painting your furniture is probably the easiest and quickest method.
Before painting your rattan furniture, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Usually an oil-based paint of waterproof garden paint will be fine. You may also want to consider buying a primer, especially if you are changing the colour of your rattan furniture from light to dark or dark to light.
Before painting your furniture, it is best to remove as much of the flaking paint as possible. When doing this, be careful not to damage the weave of your rattan furniture. Once you have done this, you can then lightly sand the rough edges to tidy up the furniture. We also recommend roughing up the surface for better paint adhesion.
As we mentioned before, if you are changing the paint colour dramatically, we recommend using a primer. You should be able to pick up a suitable oil-based primer from your local DIY store. Two coats should do the job!
Once you have primed your furniture, you can apply your paint. If you are looking to get the job done quickly and efficiently, a compressor sprayer will be a great tool to use. Make sure you carry out the work outdoors and put dust sheets down to avoid the paint spreading all over your lawn. Allow several days for drying before using your furniture.
If you want to keep your rattan furniture outside all year round, we highly recommend investing in synthetic rattan. This furniture is usually made out of PVC and is much more durable than natural rattan furniture. It will require less maintenance and it will not be susceptible to mould and mildew.
Things to keep in mind
Although rattan furniture can be used outdoors, you need to be aware that the weather can have an effect on its condition. If you are planning on leaving your furniture outside all year round, we recommend investing in synthetic rattan furniture, rather than natural rattan garden furniture. Synthetic rattan furniture is much more durable and able to withstand the elements
It is important to remember that temperatures can have an affect on your rattan furniture. If it is too cold, your furniture may stiffen, however if it is too hot it may become more elastic and therefore susceptible to damage. If your rattan furniture experiences too much moisture, it may start to sag and may even suffer from mildew.
If you are keeping your furniture outside, make sure it is placed in a protected spot. You can always use a canopy or patio umbrella to stop both the rain and sun from damaging your furniture. Alternatively you can keep it inside your garage or summerhouse, covered over with a dustsheet. The proper placement and storage of your rattan garden furniture is the first step in making sure it is protected and will last for many years.
It is worth cleaning and maintaining your rattan furniture on a regular basis to keep it in a good condition. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last you, providing a better return on your investment. Rattan furniture that is cared for can last up to ten years.
Image source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7379/9033713818_b722633054.jpg
With the right care and cleaning methods, outdoor rattan furniture can last for decades. Cleaning and maintenance is definitely worth the little effort it requires so your furniture lasts for years and continues to look as good as the day you first bought it. Keep in mind these top tips for caring for your rattan garden furniture and you will find it an easy and hassle free task.
Image credits: Wakx
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