How can I clean old wicker furniture that stays outside on a porch?

Question: How can I clean old wicker furniture that stays outside on a porch?

Answer: By “old wicker,” you might mean furniture made of natural materials, such as rattan, reed, willow or bamboo. Or maybe you mean a more modern but somewhat aged interpretation made of metal and strands of plastic?

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If you’re dealing with natural materials, vacuum off loose grit. A brush attachment works well. If the furniture is still dirty, mix a little clear dish soap into a bucketful of warm water. Scoop the suds onto a sponge, and use that to wipe the surface clean. Be careful not to soak the wicker, especially the framing. When you’re done, wipe off any residue, rinsing the sponge frequently in clear water. Let the chairs dry completely before anyone sits on them, or the wicker could stretch out of shape.

Synthetic wicker stands up to water better, so you can use a few shortcuts. Start by hosing it off. If you’re careful, you can even use a pressure washer set to a very low pressure. Use a sponge and soapy water to clean any areas that still look grimy, then rinse again with a hose.

With both types of wicker, prevent the fading and brittleness caused by the sun. Bring the furniture indoors between uses, or at least cover pieces that will sit unused for extended periods. Protect against mildew by making sure the furniture is clean and completely dry before you cover it.

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