Rattan indoor and garden furniture can be one of the most amazing additions to your home, but as with all-natural materials, there is a certain risk of staining.
And no matter how good you are at cleaning rattan furniture on a regular basis, accidents can happen, or you might simply overlook some spilled wine or greasy food.
It’s one advantage that most synthetic rattan furniture has, but then you don’t get to enjoy the effect, comfort, and durability of natural rattan furniture.
So, I’ve put together this guide with a 10-step process for how to remove stains from rattan.
Before you clean rattan furniture and try to remove stains, you have to take a close look at what kind of stain you have and whether there are additional areas affected.
It’s also a good time to make sure that you have natural rattan and not some form of synthetic rattan furniture. With synthetic material, you’ll find that you can wipe away most stains with warm water, soap, and a cleaning cloth alone.
If you have rattan chairs and tables, you need to take a close look at the natural fibers that show the staining. See if it’s just a surface stain or whether it has penetrated deep into the plant fibers.
The first thing you want to put away is any stiff brush or steel wool pad. These will cause a lot of damage to natural rattan furniture.
Instead, gather up a few household items and head to your local hardware store for anything you don’t have.
This should be all you need to go through my 10-step process.
Here are the ten steps you’ll need to follow to clean rattan furniture and remove permanent stains.
Sometimes, you might notice just one stain, but there could be a few more when you take a closer look.
And here’s the annoying thing.
The less obvious ones will stand out more once you get rid of the most obvious stain on your rattan garden furniture. So make sure you find all the stained areas and take note of where they are.
Also, see if you can identify what type of stain it is. If you use your garden furniture regularly for dining and parties with friends and family, then there could be a mix of oil, grease, and wine stains.
The wicker weave on rattan pieces of furniture tends to collect dust and hide dirt from plain sight. So, the first thing you want to do is remove all the dust and dirt.
Start by adding the brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner and then run it over all the surfaces, into all corners, and the garden furniture’s underside.
If there’s tough dirt, then you might need to gently scrape it a bit, but don’t be too rough. The deep cleaning with water in step 4 should do the trick if it doesn’t come loose.
Some rattan furniture will have tight corners, and you can use a hairdryer to get all the dust from those sections. Or try a feather duster to remove dust from difficult-to-reach areas.
If you regularly eat food at your rattan furniture set, then it can happen that some of it drops and gets stuck in the weave. This can then attract mold and mildew that you definitely want to remove.
You can buy a lot of chemical mold removers, but they can be harsh on the rattan. A much more eco-friendly option is to use vinegar. Use a clean cloth and gently rub some vinegar into the mold. Then move straight onto the next step to give your garden furniture a deep clean.
This is a basic cleaning process that you should be doing a couple of times a year. With all the heavy dirt, dust, and mold removed, mix up some warm water with mild dish soap. Then use a soft cloth to wash all surfaces, including the underside of the woven rattan.
You might want to use a microfiber cloth, as it’s less likely to get caught in the weave and leave annoying bits of fluff behind.
Then rinse off the rattan furniture with plain water. Once you get rid of all the soap, give the furniture a shake to remove excess water.
Before you get onto the stain removal, you need to let the entire piece of rattan furniture completely dry. The best way to do this is to let it air-dry outside for a couple of hours.
I wouldn’t try to speed up this process by standing it in direct sunshine or by using a hairdryer. As the water heats up in these situations, it could end up damaging the rattan.
First, mix up an 8 to 1 solution of fresh water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
Then, spray the solution directly onto the stained section of the wicker. Take a clean and soft cloth and rub it over the stain for about a minute. You could also use a soft toothbrush to get closer to the stains.
Regularly check how the stain is lifting and stop this process once it’s gone or you’ve done it for a minute.
If there’s still some staining left on the rattan furniture, try the process one more time. If that still fails, then move to step 7.
If you successfully removed the stains in your rattan furniture in step 6, then you can skip this step.
Assuming that the stain is still there, you’re probably dealing with something that penetrated the surface of the wicker furniture. In that case, you could try to use some fine sandpaper to gently rub away the stained layer.
This can be worth trying, as the only other option would be replacing the stained wicker section.
Now it’s time to get your garden hose and wash the furniture down to remove any leftover soap and the stain removal solution.
Don’t be tempted to use a pressure washer, as this can damage the weave in both natural and synthetic rattan furniture. Spray the water from all angles, including underneath, to remove every bit of dirt and grease that came loose with your cleaning efforts.
Now all you need to do is let it fully air-dry.
For the stained section, use a dry cloth to take a look at how much it has improved. In most cases, you should have removed enough to not make it noticeable anymore.
Ideally, stand your rattan furniture outdoors on a windy day to let it naturally dry. Once it’s dry, assess whether you’re happy with your cleaning efforts’.
If you have painted wicker furniture, you’ll need to get paint or wood stains in exactly the same color. Try to apply it only to the sections where you removed stains and see if it blends nicely.
Otherwise, you might have an extra job on your hands to stain the full piece of rattan furniture and get a uniform look.
You can also buy protective coating for wicker furniture, and I would definitely recommend this, especially if you had to go through step 7 to lightly sand down the wicker.
At this stage, your rattan furniture should look as good as new, and your efforts will pay off with many more years of enjoyment.
But it might be time to take some steps to avoid stains.
Some people will argue that the best way to avoid stains is to buy synthetic rattan furniture. But you’re not going to get the same amazing effect of natural rattan.
With proper care and regular cleaning, you can avoid the worst staining. But there’s one other thing you can do to protect the rattan. It’s the simple use of boiled linseed oil.
You can find boiled linseed oil in most hardware stores, and it adds a protective layer to the surface of your furniture. This can be enough to avoid stains altogether, so make sure you invest in a bottle and apply it twice a year.
Removing stains from natural wicker furniture takes a bit of preparation and time, but it can be worth the effort to bring your furniture back to looking new.
If you haven’t been able to solve the problem, you may need to consider replacing a few rattan reeds. Or, in a worst-case scenario, you might need to buy a replacement.
And if you need to find some replacement rattan furniture, then browse our online store for some inspiration. We have great indoor and outdoor use options, with all our furniture made to order by American craftspeople.