How to Clean Cane Furniture

How to Clean Cane Furniture

Not sure how to clean cane furniture and keep it in pristine condition? Use the below hints, tips and suggestions to maintain your cane seat chairs or wicker furniture and other pieces for years of life and enjoyment.

How to Clean Cane Furniture

How to Clean Cane Furniture

First, I discovered that cane furniture could be cleaned with bleach and water. If you can’t find any bleach, you can use Selley’s Tile and Laminate Cleaner to clean wicker furniture or rattan furniture. To finish the job, use a soft bristle brush or soft brush attachment and pressure washer.

The tile and laminate cleaner is pretty powerful. I’ve seen it lift paint off wood. Do not use it on your natural wicker furniture if you want the varnish to stay intact. You should also make sure you do this in a space with good ventilation. So that no water would go to waste, I cleaned our cane furniture on the grass.

After giving each chair a spray with tile cleaner, I began scrubbing off the mildew and dirt. It only took a short amount of time before the chairs were sparkling clean! The pressure washer made it easy to remove any tough grime that was left on the chairs, and then I allowed them to dry in the sun.

Fixing Up the Cane

The pressure washer had some interesting consequences – a lot of the cane strapping that held the chairs together came loose or snapped because it was very old. So, I rethreaded and tacked some bits back into place. Also, one of the cross bars on the base of one chair needed attention but screwing it back in place wasn’t difficult at all.

Because it was such a lovely day, I decided to give my cane chairs a new coat of clear gloss varnish. The spray dried in only 20 minutes, so I did a second coat and put the chairs back on the verandah. Now we’re ready for another round of summer afternoon drinks!

Cane Furniture Care Tips

1. With regular or extended use, your cane seat will eventually start to sag. This is due to the natural elasticity of cane itself. If you don’t tighten the cane, it will begin to wear and tear along the edges of the seat frame – both on sides rails at front and back as well as inside edge closest to you.

To revive a cane seat that isn’t too badly stretched or has broken strands, turn the chair upside-down and apply a warm, wet soft cloth to the underside of the seat. Let the cane and damp cloth dry overnight.

Remove the cloth after one day, turn the chair over, and do not let anyone sit on it for two days. This will dry and shrink the cane again so that it is tighter and takes pressure off of the wooden edges.

Another potential solution is to use a spray water bottle and soak the seat with warm water. Let it dry overnight, during which time the cane will contract and become tight again. For best results, do not let anyone sit on the chair seat for at least 48 hours while it dries completely.

2. Keep cane chairs and furniture away from extreme heat or low humidity situations. These conditions could cause the cane to dry out and become brittle, eventually breaking. Likewise, avoid direct sunlight or heater ducts. Using a whole room humidifier in winter can be helpful to keep the air moist and not too dry.

By using a furniture polish with high oil content when you dust, you also help keep the cane supple. A few times a year, apply lemon oil, orange oil, or mineral oil (use sparingly) to both the top and bottom of the cane seat–this is usually sufficient.

3. The seat of a cane is designed to hold the even distribution of weight from the person sitting, not concentrated pressure in one area. For example, never put all your weight on the seat by kneeling or use it as a step stool–this will cause individual strands to break and you’ll need to purchase an entirely new seat much sooner than necessary.

Final Thoughts on How to Clean Cane Furniture

Cane furniture is a beautiful and elegant addition to any home, but it does require some regular care and maintenance to keep it looking its best. Whether you are dealing with mildew buildup, loose or broken cane strips, or simply routine dusting and polishing needs, there are a few tips that can help.


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