Rising temperatures, longer days, and more sunshine indicate that summer is right around the corner. After a harsh winter, chances are you're ready to get your patio prepped for a fun season of outdoor entertainment. Keep in mind that even if you took the necessary steps in protecting your Rattan Lounge Set against harsh conditions, the winter weather still might have taken a toll on it.
Not Too Dry
Natural rattan or cane furniture is essentially dried, dead plant matter, which means it is subject to becoming even more dried out and brittle in certain conditions. If used on a patio or porch during warm weather, keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid fading or brittleness. In the same manner, keep it away from heat ducts or an indoor fireplace. If the air inside is dry, a humidifier helps moisten the air enough to keep the furniture from drying out.
Not Too Damp
Much like dry conditions, overly damp conditions are not good for rattan. Extremely humid environments without ample lighting lead to a mustiness on the furniture, which indicates mold or mildew. Exposure to rain or wetness over time also damages rattan, so it is best kept indoors or in a covered, moderate location when not in use.
Keeping It Just Right
Basic maintenance such as dusting or a gentle cleaning keeps that rattan in peak condition. Dust it gently with a a feather duster when you notice dust, or vacuum it with an upholstery brush attachment for the main surfaces and a crevice tool for deep, hard-to-reach areas. A slightly damp, soft cloth wiped over the rattan gives it a general cleaning, while a bit of oil soap mixed into water, rubbed onto the furniture with a toothbrush, helps clean those stubborn spots. When you use moisture to clean rattan, dry out the piece in a well-ventilated area so it does not stay wet long.
Mold and Mildew Maintenance
A vintage rattan chair or furniture left in storage a long time may have a musty smell. Small specks indicate mold and mildew; wipe them away with a sponge dipped in equal portions of bleach and water, wringing the sponge out to keep it damp, but not soaking wet. A toothbrush comes in handy to remove stubborn mold or mildew. Wipe down the entire piece with a fresh damp cloth or sponge to remove any bleach residue, then allow the furniture to sit outdoors on a dry, breezy day. Repeat the cleaning process if the furniture still shows signs of mold or mildew.
Avoid damaging wicker furniture by being careful not to press too hard on its slats.
If you have damaged or broken slats, make repairs with wood glue (e.g., Titebond, available on Amazon), allowing ample time for the glue to dry before continuing to clean. Of course, if the damage is extensive, you may have to take the piece to a professional.
Do not use a stiff brush, a steel wool pad, or any harsh abrasives on wicker. Doing so could severely damage unfinished, natural wicker and could remove the protective finish from a lacquered piece.
Never saturate or let water pool on wicker, as moisture can result in either spotting or deformity, or both.
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