How To Restore Dried Out Wicker Furniture (A Practical Guide)

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Dried-out or cracked wicker furniture can be restored and brought back to life with a little TLC. 

Have you ever purchased a piece of wicker furniture, brought it home, and lived with it for several years? Then one day you notice that the color has faded or there are water spots on the fabric seat. 

You realize that this piece is not in nearly as good shape as you thought it was when you bought it. Well, don’t despair because oftentimes these problems can be solved through proper care and cleaning. 

If your piece is too far gone, however, there are restoration services available that can breathe new life into your old wicker furniture.

Here we guide you through how to restore dried-out wicker furniture step-by-step, and show you how to fix those cracks and holes. Read below to learn how to work on your wicker:

dried out wicker furniture

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Step 1: Applying wood glue into a crack in the wicker

Step 2: Work the glue deep into the crack using a bamboo stick before removing any excess.

Step 3: Filling up all the spaces of an intricate design of cane is easier with this trick. As it’s extremely hard/impossible to apply glue where there simply isn’t any exposed cane fill up these areas by first painting in the gaps with wood glue before pressing in a filler stick.

Step 4: Filling in larger holes using wicker strips. After painting over the hole/gap, allow the wood glue to dry until it’s tacky – not wet, not completely dry. Fill up the hole with thin bamboo strips dipped into wood glue then squash them flat before they harden. 

You’ll need about 3 or 4 layers of wicker sticks to build up enough thickness. Each layer will take roughly an hour to dry before you can add another one on top. 

If your furniture is outside, be aware that rain may warp your freshly glued furniture so place some old towels underneath where you are working or bring the piece inside possible.

Wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth before it dries completely. Once dry, if needed, apply more coats of paint over the affected areas to even out the coloring. 

Allow each coat to dry for at least 3 hours or more depending on how thick you are applying the paint. Apply as many coats as required until you have achieved an even finish and desired tone.

Step 5: Once your wicker has dried out and has stopped squeaking after applying WD40, you can then treat the furniture to restore its natural wicker sheen. 

The best method we’ve found is by using sewing machine oil/liquid metal polish (we used Sewing Machine Oil from Spotlight). This restores any fibers that were damaged during deep cleaning/ treating woodworm etc. 

Start by wiping over the wicker with a cloth, focusing on any faded areas. Then apply some oil directly to the surface and use an old toothbrush/toothpick (or similar) to work it into all of the holes and crevices in your wicker. Work it into each gap individually before moving on to another section.

Step 6: Once you’re done, wipe off any excess oil with a clean cloth dampened with turpentine or mineral turps. 

If you used sewing machine oil make sure to rub off any residue using dry kitchen paper rather than a wet one as this can cause streaks or smudges if water is applied after.

Wipe down again with turpentine after cleaning up to remove any excess oil.

Please read the following instructions about how to clean, condition, and protect your wicker in order to keep it looking its best for years to come:

How to clean wicker furniture

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Step 1  –   Wicker furniture should be cleaned on a regular basis in order to remove all dust, dirt, and grime which has accumulated over time. 

If you have not done so already, purchase a natural bristle brush. It is best for these brushes to have long handles in order to reach the bottom of your furniture pieces without help. 

When buying your cleaning supplies make sure that they are weatherproof. This will ensure that you can use them during all four seasons.

Step 2 – Before beginning any type of cleaning process it is essential that the surface be free from water or moisture. Water left sitting on the fabric can cause mildew, mold, or even after extended periods of time.

Step 3 – Soak the brush in a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish detergent or soap. 

Gently scrub wicker with this solution to remove dirt and other grime that has accumulated over time. Use caution when cleaning wicker as it can break easily if too much pressure is applied

Step 4 – Rinse your wicker with clear, cool water using the same bristle brush. This will make sure that all soap residue is removed from the surface of furniture pieces

Step 5 – Thoroughly dry the piece before continuing with any additional treatment

Step 6 – For The paste wax will also help keep dirt from sticking to this proofing use either a good grade wax or an acrylic-based spray which will protect and revitalize your wicker’s appearance without ruining it.

How to condition wicker furniture

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The sun, wind, and rain can all take their toll on wicker. If not treated properly over time it will fade or lose its attractive appearance. 

Therefore, it is important that you keep your wicker looking new by conditioning it regularly.

Step 1 – Take a clean cloth and use either lemon oil, orange oil, or mineral spirits (paint thinner). Apply this light coat onto the surface of your furniture piece in order to protect against the elements. Steps 2 & 3 should be done at the same time.

Step 2 – Next apply a thin coat of paste wax to seal up any small cracks which may have formed along the surface of woven pieces. You can use a soft cloth to apply the wax but make sure that it does not leave any residue.

Step 3 – If you have been using lemon oil or orange oil for your previous treatments then you should wait at least one day before begin applying the wax cover-up. 

Otherwise, these two items will mix together and create a cloudy film which is hard to remove

How to protect wicker furniture

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Now that you know how to properly clean and condition your wicker it’s important to keep it looking its best by protecting against dirt and moisture through the application of weatherproof sprays. The following steps explain how:

Step 1 – Use a damp cloth and wipe down your furniture piece in order to remove any dust or debris that has accumulated during the course of your cleaning process

Step 2 – Next apply a coat of weatherproof spray onto the surface. This will help protect against the elements and greatly improve how it looks for years to come

Step 3 – Rub furniture piece using a clean cloth in order to push product into the fibers

A couple of tips for you:

– If water gets in through a crack any attempt to restore will be unsuccessful so avoid placing this under trees, they are great when dry but if it rains they produce pools of water on top which can seep in. 

This also applies to outdoor storage so bring them indoors during winter months or store them somewhere that isn’t exposed directly to rainfall.

If there are any large holes filled with tufts of cane then repainting these areas will not stop water getting in so avoid leaving these areas to the elements too, try and cover over these with a patio table cloth if you can.

– When applying water onto your painted wicker furniture it will leave streaks – this is just the paint coming off so don’t panic. You should then apply another coat to ensure all gaps are filled before oiling for maximum protection.

– Woodworm isn’t just confined to joists/beams it can also affect cane webbing especially if they are in direct contact with damp ground whether that be grass or soil. 

Treating outdoor furniture for woodworm is not always necessary but make sure you are aware of any damaged cane or loose joints when moving it around after treating. If in doubt treat it.

– If you notice that water is seeping through your furniture and causing damage then either dry it off as best as possible or place something underneath to save the surface. 

Remove any stains immediately with turpentine and treat the affected area again before oiling.

– A restoration process like this can be tedious and time-consuming however it’s a worthwhile investment since dried-out wicker becomes very stiff and rigid due to losing its shape over time – if left for too long it will become irreparable so do try and restore as soon as possible.

The cost of restoring outdoor rattan furniture can vary depending on which method you use however we found that using the WD40 method then simply applying paint worked just as well as using other methods so it is a cost-effective solution.

– Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using chemicals such as WD40, turpentine, and any other cleaning products to avoid damaging your furniture. Always wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with chemicals just in case.

– Apply 2 or 3 coats of paint/ primer before applying your topcoat. The more the better since this will help protect against scratches too. Remember that painting your wicker furniture does reduce its lifespan slightly so try not to use these pieces if you have brand new ones available for everyday use.

Conclusion

Shiny restored wicker furniture is now ready to put back outside in your garden. Make sure the surface is completely dry before leaving your restored furniture out in the rain or it can warp/damage the newly restored finish.

Wicker is a beautiful addition to any home, however, it can require special care in order to keep it looking its best. A little elbow grease now will prevent costly repairs down the road. 

Please follow these steps you should see improvement in your wicker item’s appearance immediately after proper treatment.

It’s important that you do not overdo this process as it can damage or ruin your furniture pieces if too much wax is used.