Outdoor wicker patio furniture looks great, but it requires special care. Natural, unfinished wicker is not meant for outdoor use and will deteriorate quickly on a patio or deck as sunlight and fluctuating moisture from rain and summer heat take their toll on the canes. Coated or finished wicker furniture lasts longer in outdoor settings because the wicker reeds are coated against the elements. Although synthetic wicker is the most durable, it still requires extra care for a long life. No matter which type you have, here are a few things to keep in mind to make your furniture last.
Natural wicker is prone to drying out, so it should be kept out of direct sunlight that can sap the moisture out of the canes. Conversely, it can also rot if allowed to remain moist for too long, so it should also be kept out of the rain. As long as it is cleaned regularly, natural wicker can last for years on a covered porch, sun room, or other protected outdoor space, but it is better-suited for indoor use.
Natural wicker furniture can be cleaned with a dusting rag, vacuum attachment, or damp cloth. If your pieces have heavier stains or dirt, you can use also add some mild soap to the damp cloth.
To resist molding, try using a mixture of 25 percent vinegar to 75 percent water. Always rinse off the soap or vinegar with plain water on a damp rag afterward. And, if anything ever happens to your wicker furniture, you can always attempt to reweave broken or missing pieces.
PVC, resin, and acrylic wicker give the look of natural outdoor wicker patio furniture with more resistance to the elements, making it a better choice for uncovered patios and decks. While the furniture may be woven on natural cane supports, the wicker mesh is made of a plastic material that doesn't dry out or break. While this preserves the look of wicker for all-weather furniture, resin doesn't feel like natural wicker. High-end resin wicker contains UV coatings to resist fading and damage from prolonged UV exposure.
Resin wicker should be cleaned periodically to remove dirt and grime that can accumulate in the small spaces in the wicker weave. A strong blast from a hose will clean off most dirt. For body oils, use a multi-purpose spray household cleanser and rinse thoroughly. First try the cleanser on an inconspicuous location like under the seat cushion to ensure that it doesn't damage the finish.
Rejuvenating the Finish
Over time, even the most conscientiously cared-for furniture will fade from normal use and exposure. If the furniture is in good structural shape, a coat of vinyl dye or paint formulated for plastics can refresh the look of resin or PVC outdoor wicker patio furniture, giving years of more service.
Storing the outdoor wicker patio furniture in a garage or shed and out of the elements during the winter and early spring will prolong its life. Protect outdoor wicker patio furniture during the warm season by covering it when not in use. Be sure that the furniture is dry before covering, or moisture can promote damaging mold and mildew growth.