Today many people choose to furnish their homes with rattan furniture. Not only is this furniture extremely practical, but it also adds character to any room it is placed in. Rattan furniture is also commonly used as garden furniture, as its natural look blends in well with garden surroundings, whilst also adding a touch of luxury.

Whilst rattan is not too expensive, at the same time it is not the cheapest of materials, so you will want to make sure that you keep your rattan lounges, dining sets and stools in an excellent condition. Here we will provide our top tips on how to clean rattan furniture.

Rattan furniture requires regular dusting and cleaning in order to keep it in a good condition. Luckily it is very easy to clean and will not take you very long at all.

What is rattan furniture?

Rattan furniture is a type of wicker furniture. It is eco-friendly and is made from woven palm plants which are both fast growing and plentiful. In the house, rattan furniture is commonly found in dining rooms and conservatories. It is also used in the garden as patio furniture.

Many people favour rattan furniture over other types of furniture, as although it is lightweight, it is strong and durable. Rattan furniture is also very aesthetically pleasing, especially if you are going for a natural look. Another reason why people choose to furnish their homes and gardens with rattan furniture is because it is very easy to clean. There are many ways you can go about cleaning rattan furniture. See our tips below for more information.

What you will need?

Items you will need to clean your rattan furniture are:

  • Hoover with brush attachment or a small brush with non-abrasive bristles.
  • Mild washing up detergent.
  • Bucket.
  • Soft cloth.
  • Tea towel.
  • Hose pipe (optional).

It is a good idea to dust you rattan furniture on a weekly basis. We recommend using the small brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to get the job done quickly and easily.

Removing dust from your rattan furniture

If you keep your rattan dining set inside, it is likely to get dusty, just as the rest of the furniture in your house does. The best way to remove dust from your rattan furniture is to use your vacuum cleaner. Simply swap the main attachment for the small brush attachment. Take off the cushions and seat pads from the chairs, plugin your vacuum cleaner and move the small brush gently across the furniture. Vacuuming your rattan furniture using the small brush attachment is probably the quickest and easiest way to remove loose dust and dirt.

Alternatively, if your vacuum cleaner does not have a small brush attachment, you can simply use a non-abrasive brush instead. Anything like a paintbrush, toothbrush or nailbrush will do the trick. Simply dust your brush over your furniture and it will have it looking clean and beautiful in no time at all. It is recommended that you dust your rattan furniture at least once a week to keep it in a good condition.

Cleaning your rattan furniture

In order to keep your rattan furniture looking as good as the day you bought it, you will need to make sure that you clean it regularly. There are a variety of different cleaning methods you can use. Some methods are more suited to natural rattan furniture, whereas others are more effective for synthetic rattan furniture.

We suggest taking your furniture outside so that you have more space to clean it and do not have to worry about any solution getting on your carpets or flooring. To start the cleaning process, mix a solution of one gallon of warm water with three tablespoons of soap in a bucket. Any mild dishwashing detergent will do.

Mix the solution together to create bubbles. If you are cleaning natural rattan furniture, it is best to try and avoid getting it too wet. Rather than dipping your soft cloth in the water, we recommend skimming some of the bubbles off the top. Next wipe the solution over your furniture, ensuring you get in between the weaves. If you are really struggling to get between the tight weaves of your rattan furniture, you could always use a toothbrush. Again, do not submerge the toothbrush in the water – just skim some of the suds off the top.

Once you have finished cleaning your furniture, rinse your cloth in clean water and ring it out. Then go back over the furniture with the clean cloth, ensuring that all suds have been removed. You can then leave your furniture out to dry in the sunshine.

We highly recommend washing your rattan furniture outside to avoid getting your carpets and flooring wet. You can also leave your furniture outside to dry. It is best to carry out the cleaning process on a windy day as this will help your furniture to dry much more quickly.

Cleaning synthetic rattan furniture

Water will not cause the same damage to synthetic rattan furniture, as it will to natural rattan furniture. Therefore, if you want to give your furniture a really good clean, you can simply use a hosepipe. We recommend tilting your furniture so that the tighter weaves are at the top. That way, the water will run down them, to the larger weaves and then out the bottom.

You can use the same detergent to clean your synthetic rattan furniture, just make sure that you thoroughly rinse it afterwards to prevent it seeping into the cracks and crevasses. Soak some of the water up by drying your rattan furniture with a tea towel and then leave it out to dry. We highly recommend cleaning your rattan furniture on a windy day, as it will allow the furniture to dry quicker.

Washing the upholstery

Most rattan dining sets come complete with cushions or seating pads. When cleaning your furniture, do not forget to wash them too! Most cushions and seating pads are machine washable, but it is best to double check their labels first. It is unlikely that you will be able to put them in the tumble drier and will instead have to leave them to air dry with your furniture. A word of advice, do not put the cushions back on the rattan chairs until both are fully dry as this can cause molding. Your furniture should take between twenty four and forty eight hours to dry if you leave it in a sunny spot in your garden.

Things to keep in mind whilst cleaning your furniture

When cleaning your rattan furniture, take care not to obscure its shape. This type of furniture softens a little when wet, so you do not want to accidentally manipulate it. Make sure you handle it carefully and that you don’t apply too much pressure when scrubbing out stains. Applying too much pressure can crack the rattan and loosen the weaves, which will cause your furniture to lose its shape.

If whilst cleaning your rattan furniture you notice that there are splits and cracks, you will need to try and repair them. It is recommended that you use boiled linseed oil. This can be picked up at your local DIY store. The oil will moisten the furniture and make it less prone to cracking.

If you notice any cracks or splits in your rattan furniture’s weaves, try and repair them using boiled linseed oil. This will be found at all good DIY stores.

Removing stains from your rattan furniture.

If when dining inside or alfresco you accidentally spill something on your rattan dining table or chairs, make sure you wipe it up as soon as possible. The quicker you wipe up the spillage, the less likely it is to seep into your furniture and cause permanent damage.  If you do have stains on your rattan furniture, use the same cleaning method detailed above. You may need to scrub a little harder and use slightly more detergent if you are tackling stubborn stains.

Removing mould and mildew from your rattan furniture.

Unfortunately natural rattan furniture is susceptible to mould and mildew if you choose to keep it outdoors. If you notice little black spots on your furniture, which cannot be removed using soap and water, then this is likely to be mildew.

In order to stand a chance of removing mildew from your rattan chairs and table, you will need to create a solution made up of a cup of bleach and a gallon of water. You will then need to dip a soft bristle brush into the solution and scrub at the mildew marks. Make sure you rinse your furniture afterwards to prevent the bleach residue causing permanent damage. You will also need to thoroughly dry your furniture using a tea towel to get the worst off.

If you find that after scrubbing the mildew marks with a brush they have not disappeared, you will need to find a way of applying the bleach directly to the stain. We recommend using a Q-tip. Simply dip the Q-tip in bleach and place it over the mildew spots. Again, you will need to make sure you rinse your furniture thoroughly afterwards and dry it with a tea towel to prevent water damage.

In order to avoid your furniture growing mould or mildew in the future, make sure you keep it in a place that has low humidity and excellent air flow. Although rattan furniture can be kept outside, it will last longer and look in better condition if you keep it inside, covered over with a dustsheet. Synthetic rattan furniture is much more durable than its natural counterpart and will not be susceptible to mould or mildew, even if you keep it outside.

Prevent your natural rattan chairs, tables and loungers from mildew and mould by keeping them inside, covered over with a dustsheet when not in use.

Protecting your rattan furniture.

It is recommended that you thoroughly clean your rattan furniture once a month. Vacuum cleaning it every week will be enough to keep the dust at bay. Every now and then after you have cleaned your rattan dining table and chairs, it is recommended that you apply a coat of a lacquer. You can do this with a paintbrush and it will not take very long at all. Applying a lacquer will provide added protection, helping to keep your rattan furniture in tip top condition. You should only need to apply a lacquer to your rattan furniture once a year. You should be able to pick up a good quality lacquer at your local DIY store.

If you want to make sure your furniture stands the test of time, whilst also retaining its quality aesthetics, you may want to consider applying a layer of lemon oil to it. Simply apply the lemon oil lightly over your furniture using a soft cloth. This will not only protect your rattan furniture, but enhance its shine too!

Applying lemon oil to your rattan furniture will strengthen it, whilst adding to its shine. Apply the oil using a clean, soft cloth.


Before cleaning your rattan furniture, it is important to identify the best method. In order to do this you need to establish whether you own natural or synthetic rattan furniture. Remember natural furniture should not be soaked in water, nor should it really be kept outside if you want it to last you for years to come.

If you want to get your money’s worth of your rattan furniture and prevent yourself from having to maintain it or replace it every few years, it is important to take proper care of it. Make sure that you dust it every week and than you clean it on a regular basis (we recommend every month). It is equally as important to make sure your rattan furniture is protected from the elements, especially if you plan on keeping it outside. Providing you take good care of your furniture and clean it on a regular basis, there is no reason why you cannot maintain its beauty for years to come.