How to Clean Outdoor Wicker Furniture

Earlier this year, we totally revamped the back patio area. I can honestly say it’s gotten a lot of use over the past few months and has been well worth all of the effort we put into the makeover. Although we have a big farmhouse style table with plenty of seating on the back patio, we noticed people would migrate from the table to the fire pit area to relax and just enjoy hanging out after dinner.

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I was a little apprehensive about bringing my vintage wicker furniture from the front porch to the back patio. The patio gets a good amount of sun and is open to the elements. I wanted to make my guests comfortable though, so, I took two chairs and a wicker table out there and they were put to good use. I’m almost embarrassed to say, I got busy with my summer and forgot to check on the condition of the wicker.

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I was totally shocked at the shape they were in after only 4 months.

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I immediately decided to clean and repaint the outdoor wicker furniture before I put them back on the front porch. It took a bit of work but they’ve definitely been given a second chance. Thankfully, I bought these pieces from a fellow vendor so I knew their history when I bought them a few years ago. But I know that is not always the case.

Before I get into how I cleaned my wicker furniture, I want to direct you to the EPA website for information about working on pieces with lead-based paint. I’m not an expert but I’ve worked on enough pieces to know you have to take every precaution possible and educate yourself as much as possible before tackling a project like this. Also, if you’re working with an heirloom, take your pieces to a qualified professional to have them cleaned or repaired. Finally, make sure you wear protective eye, respiratory and body gear throughout the entire process.

First, I removed and laundered the chair cushions and pillow covers that were on the wicker furniture. Then I used a soft bristle brush to sweep the surfaces and crevices. I used a shop vac to further remove dust, dirt and any chipping paint. If you have the soft bristle attachment, I highly recommend using the attachment. Vintage wicker needs a gentle touch.

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Next, I took a soft bristle brush, a bit of mild dish washing liquid and filled a bucket with warm water.

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Then I used the soft bristle brush to gently scrub the wicker. It’s important to note, do not scrub or press too hard as you don’t want to break any of the wicker strands.

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Rinse with a water hose (a pressure washer is too harsh) and allow to dry 24-48 hours in the sun if possible.

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After the wicker had completely dried, I used a Rust-oleum spray paint that was specifically made for the outdoors in white. Since there will be a lot of painted white wicker on the porch I’m varying the shades of white so it’s not too matchy matchy.

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I’m sure the paint will continue to crack and chip over time with use. For now, I’m happy to have all of my vintage wicker pieces back on the front porch.

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See you guys back here tomorrow. I’ll share how we gave the front door a refresh too.

Many blessings,



  1. says

    It looks great girl! I actually never bought wicker for the reason that I wasn’t sure how easy it was to clean. But after reading this, now I know it isn’t that difficult and nothing a fresh coat of paint can’t fix 🙂 Have a great day! ♥ Angeline

    • says

      Thanks so much Angeline! Outdoor wicker can be easy to take care of as long as it’s not exposed to the elements as long as these pieces were. After going through this experience I definitely would only use vintage pieces on a covered porch. I’m looking for a few new pieces for the back patio now so we’ll be on the hunt together. Hugs for a happy day, Coco

  2. says

    Great tips! I have a few pieces of wicker furniture that need attention. I’m thinking of spray painting them a sunny yellow, and I’ll definitely try this method before giving them a new coat of paint. Hopefully I’ll have pictures to share soon!

    • says

      Yellow would be so pretty Jamie! I’m still not over your mudroom makeover. It was so awesome. I can’t wait to see how your pieces come together. My biggest tip is using a gentle touch with vintage wicker. Hope your day is a happy one, Coco