How To Care For Outdoor Wicker Furniture

Contrary to popular opinion, the description 'wicker' doesn't' actually refer to any one particular material: it's the name of a specific weaving technique, and wicker furniture can therefore be made out of anything that is both pliable and tough enough to be woven in that way and hold shape. This means that wicker furniture designed to be used and kept outdoors can be made of much hardier stuff than indoor wicker furniture and has a far longer lifespan than you might suspect. Like anything, though, wicker patio furniture can always use a little TLC—so here's how to care for it properly and ensure that it will have a long, happy, useful life on your patio.

Keep the weave itself as clean as you can.

The number one most likely problem that wicker furniture develops over time when it's kept outdoors is that mildew and mould form inside the crevices of the weave, between the strands. This winds up turning into a much bigger problem and can in time destroy the furniture. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to keep this from happening.

First off, you need to keep the furniture as dry as you can; keep it under some shelter or buy covers to throw over it when it isn't in use. Secondly, you should brush it down quite regularly to get dirt, dust and organic material from out of the crevices and ensure the furniture is as clean as it can be. You can also vacuum wicker furniture to get this done quickly and easily, but hosing it down is usually a bad idea.

Try to maintain the regularity of the weave.

Wicker relies on maintaining a certain tension between the strands, and when those strands are out of place that tension is thrown off—which is how a small hole in a wicker item can quickly turn into a bigger problem with the structural integrity of the entire thing. You can keep this from happening to your own wicker simply by ensuring that the weave stays as regular as possible: if you should notice that individual strands have slipped out of place, you can simply use your fingers to move them back again before anything develops into a larger problem.

Let your wicker recover before putting it under strain.

Very hot weather can cause wicker to become a little more elastic and very cold weather can cause it to stiffen up, so it might be a good idea to keep it in an area of the garden that's mostly shaded in summer and let it warm up a little before using it again after a frozen spell. While these habits are both desirable, however, they're not really essential—wicker is pretty hardy stuff, and it will most likely survive the experience if you choose not to do this.

The one thing you do need to be careful about is moisture. It's important that you don't sit on or put pressure on wicker furniture while it's wet: this will cause it to sag and warp, which will in turn mess up the structural integrity of the weave and cause your furniture to begin to come apart. Make sure you either move your furniture under shelter when it rains or avoid using it till it's thoroughly dried out following a damp spell.