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Is It Time To Replace Your Outdoor Wicker Furniture?

Wicker is a great material for your patio’s furniture. It’s comfortable, durable, and creates a welcoming atmosphere with its classic cottage-ready design. Wicker furniture can last a long time, but you’ll need to give it proper care to ensure that it remains durable and keeps its appearance.

The care you need to provide will depend on the kind of wicker you have. Keep reading to learn how to give your wicker furniture what it needs to last for years to come, and how to tell when it needs to be replaced.

What is Wicker, and Can It Be Used For Outdoor Furniture?

Wicker is commonly thought of as a material, but the term actually describes the weaving technique used to make wicker items like chairs, baskets, and decorations. These items are made from plant materials, like rattan, bamboo, reed, or even synthetic fibers.

Wicker furniture looks great on a patio or front yard. This style of furniture has a comforting, nature-inspired look, and brings a sense of warmth as an outdoor furnishing. However, it must be maintained if kept outside. Natural wicker, which most often uses rattan, requires particularly close attention when used as outdoor furniture. Synthetic wicker is a safer and easier to maintain option for outdoor furniture.

READ MORE: Wicker Furniture

Learn more about the difference between rattan wicker and synthetic wicker.

Rattan Wicker

Rattan is the most common material used in natural wicker items. It is a vine-like species found in tropical regions all over the world. Rattan is similar to bamboo, as its skin is peeled away to be weaved. Manufacturers use rattan because it is durable and flexible, and offers a great, naturistic look.

Synthetic Resin Wicker

While rattan wicker is made from a naturally growing plant, other wicker pieces are made synthetically. This is also called All-Weather Wicker. These items are made from resins, a viscous substance that is extracted from plant matter. Synthetic wicker can vary by how it is made: some use plenty of inexpensive plastic, while others incorporate more resin. In either case, this option is more cost-effective than rattan wicker and more optimal for outdoor use.

How to Take Care of Wicker

Taking Care of Rattan Wicker

Rattan can be worn down severely by sun, rain, mold, and mildew. As a result, it’s recommended that you avoid keeping this kind of furniture outdoors for extended periods. If you do choose to place rattan wicker furniture on your patio, take extra care of it, and clean your wicker furniture regularly to maintain the material.

  • Use a cover or keep it indoors whenever possible – especially during storms.
  • When cleaning, start by using a brush to remove dust or debris from the gaps in the wicker.
  • Wash gently with mild soap and a cloth. Do not put too much pressure on your furniture when washing it, as this can severely wear down the material.
  • Make sure to let your furniture dry properly before using it again. Wet wicker furniture can grow mildew or sag.

Taking Care of Synthetic Wicker

The same maintenance process can be applied to both rattan wicker and synthetic wicker. The difference is that synthetic wicker is sturdier and better equipped for outdoor use. Thus, it faces a lower risk of damage. Still, follow the steps above to care for your synthetic wicker properly.

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Patio Furniture In Time For Winter

How To Tell If Your Wicker Is On Its Last Legs

Proper maintenance can keep wicker furniture in prime condition for a long time. However, your furniture will naturally wear down over time. As much as you may not want to toss your furniture, it will be beyond the point of no return eventually. Here are a few telling signs:


Has your wicker furniture lost its natural colour? This could have happened for a few reasons. It may simply be dirty, or it may have mildew buildup, sun damage, or rot from rainfall. If you find that, after exercising proper cleaning techniques, your furniture is still discoloured, it may be deteriorating.

Rot and Fraying

The natural plant fibres used to make wicker materials are vulnerable to damage from nature. Rainfall can severely damage wicker furniture by rotting its material. Sun exposure, meanwhile, can cause it to fray or unravel. You can repair fraying to an extent, but after many instances, the furniture will likely have deteriorated too much.


Sun damage can cause wicker furniture to become dry and brittle. This can lead to fraying, cracks, and even irreparable breaks. It is unsafe to use furniture in this state, so you may consider tossing a brittle wicker chair.

READ MORE: Face It – It’s Time To Replace Your Patio Furniture

Wicker furniture brings a sense of comfort and warmth to any patio. However, it must be cared for thoroughly and frequently. Give your wicker furniture the chance to remain sturdy for as long as possible, and when it becomes unusable, replace it with a new item.