If you are reading this article, then you are probably just putting your rattan furniture out or are just getting ready to put it away for the winter. Anyway, you definitely want to make sure that it is cleaned first and that any possible damage is repaired. Did you know that even the smallest damage to your rattan furniture can cause it to fall apart altogether. It is almost like dominoes, once one strip is ripped, the others will follow.
Most people do not notice any damage to their rattan furniture until they clean it. This is why I always recommend that you clean your rattan outdoor furniture at least twice a year. First when you are putting it out at the beginning of the season and for the second time when the season is coming to its end and you are putting it away for the winter. If you by any chance spot any damage, then you should take action immediately and start with the repair.
So how do you do it? Don’t worry, the process is really simple. I did some research and cleaned & fixed my own rattan furniture before writing this article. It now contains all the important steps, so you should be good to go after you have read it.
Well, let’s start with cleaning your outdoor rattan furniture, shall we?
How to clean your outdoor rattan furniture?
Just like I have mentioned before, it is vital that you clean your rattan outdoor furniture before you repair it. Only once your furniture is spotless you will be able to see what kind of damage you are dealing with, if any at all.
What you will need to clean your rattan patio furniture?
-A bucket of warm water (about 1 gallon in size)
-Water hose with running water
If you use a brush that is not rattan friendly (not soft enough) you will do damage to your furniture. You can find my favorite brush to do the job HERE.
Also, I would personally never use a pressure washer when it comes to cleaning rattan furniture. It might be okay to use it for cleaning other wicker furniture that is made out of synthetic materials but original rattan is just too delicate to be cleaned that way.
Once you have all the things that you need it is now time to start the process. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Step 1: Rinse your rattan furniture
Take your water hose and start rinsing your rattan furniture. If it’s already sunny outside then I would recommend that you do this in a shady place, because it has to stay wet for later. You should have a hose nozzle for this. Set it on spraying because you are trying to rinse your rattan furniture and not water it. Using a pressure washer for this step could damage your rattan furniture so it’s better to just use your water hose.
Step 2: Mix dishwashing liquid with a gallon of warm water
The amount I go with usually is ¼ cup of dishwashing liquid and a gallon of warm water. When water is warm, it is much more effective at cleaning than cold water. Make sure that you mix those two up by stirring them. It is best to use a bucket because you are probably going to move it around. One bucket should be more than enough to clean your entire bistro set or furniture set.
Step 3: Dip your soft brush into the bucket and start cleaning
I have found some articles online that are suggesting that you use a toothbrush for this. Well, I have tried cleaning one chair with a toothbrush and the other with a much larger soft brush. Guess what? There was a big difference in the time that it took me to clean one single chair. But speaking of cleaning them, there was not so much difference. In fact, when I tried to do the process with a toothbrush the chair got dry before I could finish so it was left with spots on it.
My conclusion? Don’t be stupid enough to use a toothbrush. Having a much larger soft brush will make your process much shorter and your furniture a bit cleaner.
If you have any tougher stains on your furniture, then you should pay more attention to that part. What usually works best for me is brushing them in a circular motion.
Step 4: Rinse your rattan furniture again
There is nothing much to say here. Use your water hose and set it on spraying just like at the first step. Make sure that your table, chairs, etc. don’t get dry before you are finished with this step. If they get dry while there is still soap on them then you will end up with spots on your furniture. Again it is best to clean your rattan in the shades if it is sunny outside.
Step 5: Leave to dry
Now it is time to let your furniture dry out in the sun. Some people use cloths to wipe it and make the process faster but I think that it is perfectly fine to just leave it out in the sun. While you are waiting for your rattan furniture to dry you can clean your cushions if you have any.
Step 6: Inspect your rattan furniture for any possible damage
If you are using it outdoors, then the chance of your table or chairs being damaged is much higher than if you are using it indoors. Anyway, take a closer look and see if there are any damaged parts.
How to spot damage on your rattan furniture?
To spot damage on your rattan furniture you will have to look for 3 things.
Faded color is the most common damage that your rattan might have. While it is not as harmful as the other two, it is definitely making your furniture set look old and ugly. Renewing it will make a big difference and will brighten up your backyard by a lot.
This is probably the worst thing to happen to your rattan piece. Once the weaving is broken it will only get worse if you do not repair it. Don’t worry I will describe the full procedure later and make sure that you get it fixed as soon as possible.
This is when your weaving is clearly damaged but not broken yet. If that is the case for you, then you are lucky that you can prevent the breaking of the weaving before it even occurs.
Once you spot any of those 3 signs I recommend that you do not lose any time and immediately start with the repair/renewal. You will need some special products for this. I do not recommend using regular glue or paint.
What you will need to repair rattan outdoor furniture?
-Strong glue for wood
-Gardening shears (only in some cases)
-Some extra rattan (only in some cases)
How to repair and renew rattan outdoor furniture?
Whether you spotted either faded color or damaged/broken weaving you should take immediate action. But the process of repairing is a bit different. We will go through both processes. I always repair rattan before renewing it and so should you, because in that way it will look much nicer.
Step 1: Make sure that your rattan furniture is clean and inspect for damage.
If you go repair a dirty rattan table or chair you might end up failing the process. Always clean it first, but since you are reading this article I think that you are already aware of that. Also, make sure to inspect your rattan pieces thoroughly. I once repaired and renewed a really nice rattan table only to find out later that I did not repair all the cracks. Make sure you do not repeat my mistake.
Step 2: Get some new rattan and cut it as long as your void is.
For those of you that have broken weaving but no void, you can skip this step. But for those of you that are not as lucky, you will have to get your gardening shears and cut the exact length of how much you need. Keep in mind that the weaving, when stretched out is longer, so make sure to cut a piece longer than the void. You can start with a longer piece, insert it in and shorten it later when you know how much excess of it you have.
Step 3: Slide the new piece of rattan into the weaving
This might be tricky since pure rattan is wooden and therefore this step might require some patience. Take your time and do the job right rather than trying to cut corners and end up with damage that is even worse than the one in the beginning
Step 4: Apply glue to the ends of rattan parts that you want to glue together
I would highly recommend that you use a strong wood glue that turns invisible once it is dry. This will make your rattan set look much nicer. Making it look better is the whole purpose of this project, right?
Step 5: Leave to dry
Once you have applied the glue, you can sit back and relax. Well, you might not want to sit on your rattan chair just yet if you have fresh glue on it… What I meant was you can now just wait for it to dry, because your work here is done.
If your rattan also has faded color, then I would recommend that you renew it as well. But wait for it to get dry first.
What you will need to renew your outdoor rattan furniture?
For renewing your outdoor rattan furniture (getting rid of faded colors) you will need some more special stuff. Don’t worry, it is not so expensive.
How to renew your outdoor rattan furniture?
Step 1: Make sure that your rattan furniture is clean and any possible damage already repaired.
If you apply oil to dirty rattan you will end up doing a bad job overall. I always say that cleaning things before you repair, renew and/or restore them should be the number 1 priority.
Step 2: Apply the first layer of oil with a brush
You can do this with a roller or a spray gun if you have one too. Just make sure that you mix the oil first. But make sure that you do not apply too much of it. This will later have bad results. And another friendly reminder… Protect the floor before you start applying paint to your rattan furniture. You can use old newspaper. If you get any Linseed oil on your floor (and you will) then you will have a really hard time cleaning it afterward.
Step 3: Leave to dry
I like to take my time and leave it overnight to dry or if I have applied oil in the morning, then it would be okay to apply the second layer in the evening. And make sure that there is no excess oil. If you are in a hurry, then I would say that 7 hours is the minimum amount of time it takes for the oil to dry.
Step 4: Apply the 2nd layer of Linseed oil
Nothing much to say here. Just repeat the first step and make sure that you don’t leave anything out. If you do then you will have to repeat the whole process over.
Step 5: Use your cloth to remove any excess oil
If you see any excess oil in a form of bulbs, etc., then you will have to wipe them off with a cloth. If you don’t do that, then you will end up with the surface drying sticky.
Step 6: Leave to dry
Once again leave your outdoor rattan furniture to dry before you start using it again. Once it is dry you are ready to enjoy your repaired and renewed outdoor rattan furniture set.
How to protect your outdoor rattan furniture?
-Apply 2 layers of linseed oil at least every second year
The color of your rattan will fade away if you don’t take proper care of it. But this is not really the biggest danger that your rattan is facing. The worst thing that will do damage to it is definitely the outside weather.
-Cover your rattan set
You should probably buy a cover and cover your rattan furniture set if you have it outside. I would recommend that it is always covered unless you are planning to use it. In this way, you will achieve the longest lifespan of your rattan furniture possible.
-Winterize your rattan set
The thing that improves the lifespan of your outdoor rattan furniture is definitely winterizing it (putting it away for the winter). I recommend that you put it in your garden shed and cover it. If you can you can even put it indoors, but you have to make sure to protect the legs of your furniture so that you don’t do any damage to the floor.
Thank you for reading this article and if you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Have a nice day!