Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wicker Furniture Care and Cleaning

"Wicker" refers to a variety of vines, grasses and plants that are woven into furniture. There are four major types of wicker: rattan, reed, willow and bamboo.
Care Dust regularly with small brush or vacuum. Spills should be taken care of immediately before they harden or stain, by wiping with a sponge wrung from sudsy water.

Wicker likes humidity but it is not outdoor furniture. Rain, direct sunlight, and dew are damaging. Dry indoor heat dries wicker causing it to crackle and creak under pressure. Wiping occasionally with a damp (not wet) sponge may help.

Regular Cleaning To clean periodically, vacuum away loose dirt. Prepare a solution of detergent and water. Skim the suds off into a damp sponge and apply to furniture, working on a small portion at a time. Use a small brush in crevices. Do not wet wooden parts of furniture. Wipe off suds with clean damp sponge.

Special Cleaning Perhaps once a year or every other year, raw wicker may need complete washing. Dust with a vacuum brush. Scrub with warm water and detergent using sponge or soft brush; spray rinse with a garden hose outside, or put under the shower. Dry chair as fast as possible by putting in the hot sun, using hair drier, or directing a fan onto it to keep air circulating. A windy day is good to aid drying. On painted wicker only wash and rinse as you would painted wood; wetting as above may crack and peel the paint. If furniture has wooden parts, do not wet them; use only periodical cleaning method as described below.

Never use or sit on wicker until it is completely dry. Allow several days. After wicker is thoroughly dry (several days after washing), check all surfaces for sharp strands or fuzzy places. Sand them smooth with fine sandpaper.

A coating of clear varnish, shellac or lacquer can be applied. If a spray can is used, spray furniture outside. Painted wicker can be freshened with a new coat of paint. Allow several days for drying before using.

A thin coating of liquid furniture wax applied after the new finish is completely dry will help maintain the gloss finish. If sealed and waxed it can be kept clean by regular cleaning and should not need the complete washing.

CAUTION FOR BAMBOO: Wipe with sponge dampened with sudsy water, wipe with clear water and dry. Do not rinse by hosing. A thin coat of liquid wax will restore shine.

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