Indoor rattan cabinet and outdoor rattan chairs

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Caring for a Rattan Cabinet. 

Indoor rattan cabinet and outdoor rattan chairs

Like all furniture, rattan cabinets require regular care and maintenance to transform one’s living space. These furniture pieces can breathe life into one’s patio, kitchen, bedroom, and balconies, wowing visitors with a breezy feel for decades. 

But to ensure longevity, it’s vital to keep that the rattan cupboards, cabinets, garden chairs, and tables in excellent condition. Fortunately, this article provides procedures on how to clean and maintain rattan cabinets to make your work easier. 

Let’s start with cleaning procedures before diving into maintenance. 

Tools and Supplies for Cleaning Rattan Furniture

Rattan furniture dusting and cleaning supplies

Natural rattan furniture needs regular, gentle cleaning to ensure it lasts longer. One will require the following cleaning tools and supplies:

  1. A small soft-bristle brush: One will need this cleaning tool to remove loose dirt and dust without scratching the rattan surface.
  2. Microfiber/soft cotton cloths: After removing dust from the rattan and wiping with a damp cloth, one will need dry soft microfiber to wipe and polish the wicker cabinet without leaving residue.
  3. A vacuum cleaner: with a brush attachment- Besides removing dust using a small soft-bristle brush, this equipment can help clean dust and debris in hard-to-reach areas.
  4. Mild dish soap as a cleaning solution: Harsh chemicals could damage the furniture.
  5. White vinegar: Some stains and mildew are stubborn and may require white vinegar to remove. 
  6. Soft toothbrush: It’s needed when cleaning the crevices and intricate patterns of rattan furniture. The normal brush may not remove dust lodging in the places.
  7. Furniture polish or beeswax: Outdoor or garden furniture often loses luster because of harsh weather elements hence the need for polish and oil to provide a protective layer.
  8. Rattan sealer (optional): Rattan furniture can quickly deteriorate when left in the rain or extreme summer sun. Rattan sealer protects the furniture from these elements

How do you clean and maintain rattan furniture?

Rattan furniture is ideal for coastal décor, however, the design’s small spaces and cracks often collect dust and debris, necessitating regular cleaning. Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule ensures the furniture goes the distance. 

Cleaning techniques depend on the type of material and stain levels. Follow the universal steps below to clean any rattan furniture (natural and synthetic).

Step-by-step instructions for routine cleaning

Steps of cleaning rattan cabinet from brushing to drying

Step 1. Dusting and removing loose debris

The first step is removing dust and loose dirt from the rattan’s surface and crevices. These places often collect dust, food particles, and debris. A soft-bristle brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment are excellent tools one can use to clean them. However, remember to be gentle to avoid damage or surface scratches.

Step 2. Wiping the rattan cabinet’s surface

Once the dust is out, use water to clean the furniture. Mix lukewarm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Dip the soft cotton cloth in the solution and wring out excess moisture. Rattans are sensitive to moisture buildup. 

Now, gently wipe the rattan cabinet, reaching all its surfaces. Pay extra attention to areas with visible stains or spills and clean them in circular motions.

If the stain or mildew is stubborn, use a mixture of white vinegar and water (1:1) to remove them. 

Step 3. Cleaning rattan weaves and crevices:

Some rattans have intricate weaves and crevices that the cloth can’t reach. But one can still clean them with a soft toothbrush dipped in the soapy water solution. 

Note: Ensure you rinse the toothbrush frequently and change the water when it becomes dirty. 

How often should I clean my wicker cabinet?

The best practice is to clean the rattan cabinet at least once a month to prevent dirt and dust from building up. Nevertheless, other factors like the environment and frequency of use may influence cleaning intervals. 

Regardless of the cleaning schedule, ensure you immediately clean spills and stains before they become stubborn. 

Deep cleaning

well-arranged rattan shelf and woven rattan double wardrobe

Some furniture, like rattan storage cabinets and rattan bar cabinets, may require seasonal deep cleaning to restore their lost luster. 

Let’s dive into deep cleaning procedures. 

Step-by-step guide for deep cleaning rattan storage cabinet. 

Step 1. Preparing and dusting the cabinet

 If the cabinet has drinks, a TV, loose cushions, or fabric elements, remove them before dusting. Like in regular cleaning, use a soft-bristle brush to gently remove loose dust and debris from all surfaces. 

Step 2. Removing stubborn stains

After the first cleaning, you may identify stubborn stains (e.g., food, ink, and wine) on the rattan’s surface. And since regular soaps can’t remove them, apply appropriate stain remover to blot the stain with a clean.

If the stain remains, repeat the process until you achieve the desired results. However, take care not to oversaturate the rattan.

Step 3. Treating mold and mildew

This step fits cane cabinets with mold or mildew stains. Since a mild soap solution may not remove these stains, one needs a stronger solution.

 A mixture of white vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:1 is effective in treating stubborn stains. Spray the affected areas with a spray bottle and allow the solution to sit for a few minutes in the area before scrubbing with a soft brush or toothbrush. Next, rinse with plain water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Step 4. Reviving faded parts rattan

Patio furniture like rattan shoe storage, tables, and chairs will likely fade from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Reviving their color is one way to maintain and care for them. 


  • Mix a little furniture polish or beeswax with a damp cloth and rub it onto the faded areas to restore their luster.

Note: Avoid using excess water as it can weaken the rattan’s weaves. Ensure the furniture is dry after deep cleaning to prevent mold growth.

That’s all on cleaning procedures. Now, let’s consider how to maintain and restore wicker furniture. 

How to care for rattan furniture: Maintenance Tips

While outdoor wicker cabinets are adorable and provide a rustic feel, they are susceptive to mold, mildew, and sun bleach. Fortunately, with a good maintenance routine, one can extend their life. 

Here are simple to keep natural rattan looking new for long. 

1. Use garden furniture covers

waterproof garden furniture covers

Since most outdoor rattan furniture is exposed to weather elements like rain and winter snow, mold can build on them. Protecting them with polyester garden furniture covers is one way to reduce this risk. But before you buy a cover, ensure they’ve a PVC backing, are showerproof and breathable.  

2. Avoid direct exposure to UV radiation

outdoor rattan furniture under an umbrella shade

Prolonged exposure to the sun can weaken, bleach, or dry out garden furniture materials. Some people protect their outdoor rattan furniture from the effects of UV radiation using these techniques. 

  • They set the rattan chairs and tables in a shaded or partially shaded area.
  • They invest in umbrellas or sunshades if no natural sun shade is available.  
  • They buy and use waterproof garden furniture covers 
  • They periodically rotate wicker furniture to prevent uneven fading.

3. Properly handle rattan furniture

Unlike iron or wooden furniture, rattan is delicate and will require extra care. Consider some tips for proper handling. 

  • When moving rattan cabinets, tables, or chairs, lift them (don’t drag) to prevent scratches or damage to the legs and weaves.
  • Evenly distribute the weight in the rattan file cabinet to reduce sagging or weakening of the joints.
  • Promptly handle minor repairs, including fixing loose weaves with clear adhesives and tightening screws and bolts.

What are the best oils for wicker furniture?

Wicker furniture cleaning oils

Another way to care for unpainted indoor wicker furniture is by oiling it. This gives them a fresh look and prevents drying out. Some of the best oils for wicker furniture include:

  • Linseed oil
  • Teak oil
  • Tung oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Danish oil

These oils help moisturize the rattan cupboard, leaving a pleasant scent. But before applying the oil, ensure the wicker is clean and use a soft cloth or brush. 

How to restore wicker furniture?

Before and after pictures of restored outdoor rattan chair

Like any other furniture, rattan cabinets can deteriorate from heavy use, exposure to harsh elements, or accidents. 

Rattan furniture will require restoration when there is structural damage, extensive weave unraveling, or deep staining that regular cleaning can’t address. And while DIY techniques can transform these antiques, some items may need a professional restorer to raise them to their former glory. 

Besides, restoring a rattan is time-consuming, unless one wants to learn a new skill. 

Nevertheless, here are the basic steps if one decides to restore their cane cabinet. 

Step1. Inspect the rattan cupboard to establish the damage or extent of needed restoration. Extreme damage may need a professional to fix. 

Step 2. Dust then clean the furniture to remove dirt, grime, and stains.

Step 3. Repair minor structural issues, such as loose joints or broken strands with appropriate adhesives.

Step 4. Reapply the finish or sealer to protect the rattan and regain its luster.

Step 5. Cover the restored furniture with polish or beeswax to protect it from deterioration.

If you hire a professional restorer, especially where the rattan cupboards are extensively damaged, know their experience, references, portfolio of previous work, and customer reviews. 


Regular maintenance and occasional restoration ensure that rattan cabinets continue to grace living spaces with their natural beauty for years. Remember, the longevity of the garden furniture depends on its quality, so research and choose wisely.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *