How to clean Rattan Garden Furniture and make it last longer

How to clean Rattan Garden Furniture and make it last longer

Rattan furniture is the ideal addition to your garden and we can all agree that yes, it looks great. However, it’s important to be confident that it will last from a practical point of view. 

The high levels of quality and durability mean that rattan can withstand all that the British weather may throw at it. Still, there’s no harm in giving things a little brush-up and wipe down from time to time. 

If you already own some or are planning to buy, it’s important that you know how to clean rattan garden furniture. 

Even the simplest of maintenance tasks will ensure that you get the most longevity out of these pieces - and keep them looking pristine. 

In this blog, we’ll explore how to clean rattan garden furniture to keep it looking as good as new for a long time.

 Santiago Rattan Deluxe Corner set

What is real Rattan made of?

In order to best take care of your rattan outdoor furniture, you must know exactly what it’s made of. 

Remember that wicker is a method of weaving, not a material. When you hear about wicker furniture, that does not necessarily mean real rattan. Wicker can be made from any number of materials - some far more durable than others - so it’s definitely worth checking. 

So, what is real rattan made of?

Bear in mind that real rattan, the earth-grown most authentic stuff, is made from natural abaca strands (palm). 

There is no doubt that it is absolutely beautiful, but as such a delicate material, it is quite impractical for outdoor use. Therefore, man-made fibre is a much more sensible alternative. 

Manufacturers generally use polyethene to produce artificial rattan. This is made to have the same look and feel as natural rattan but can be used safely outdoors without risk of damage. This is what makes our rattan garden furniture so long-lasting.

 Close up of rattan weave

How long does rattan garden furniture last?

When we said that rattan garden furniture was durable, we really meant it. But, how long does rattan garden furniture last?

Synthetic rattan furniture can last as much as 20 years outdoors, even if left out all Winter. However, the longevity of the furniture will depend on the quality of the furniture plus how well they are cared for. 

Many rattan pieces, including our Harbour Lifestyle ones, are composed of strong aluminium frames which serve to hold the shape and support the weight. 

Additionally, if the weave is securely made and covered in a UV protective coat, it will not weaken or discolour with sun exposure. 

All rattan is weather-resistant and relatively easy to clean and maintain. But as with any well-made furniture, a little TLC goes a long way. 

Maintenance and gentle upkeep will make all the difference in allowing you to enjoy your rattan garden furniture for years to come.


Is rattan garden furniture weatherproof?

Weather-resistant, weatherproof, waterproof… it can be hard to distinguish these terms from one another. 

Is rattan garden furniture waterproof?

Unfortunately, there is no form of rattan that is completely waterproof. For something to be waterproof, the moisture must land on the surface but never be absorbed.

But, can rattan garden furniture be left outside?

Yes, synthetic rattan furniture is weatherproof, or weather-resistant, these labels are interchangeable. Having the aluminium frames powder-coated offers further protection from adverse and wet weather conditions including frost and snow. 

This means that rattan garden furniture can be left outside, even in the rain, sun or frost. Plus, all our products are UV protected so that they will not fade in sunlight, resulting in years of enjoyment. 

However, while the rattan garden furniture itself is weatherproof, the cushions should not be left out in the rain and should be stored away somewhere dry when not in use. 

The rattan garden furniture may also contract and expand based on the current weather conditions. In warm weather, our rattan will expand and then contract back to its original state once temperatures become cooler. This is a completely normal trait for rattan garden furniture and as a result, will stop the weave from snapping and becoming brittle in the winter months. 

However, there are additional measures to take that further protect the integrity of your rattan furniture and lengthen its lifespan.


How to secure rattan garden furniture…

One of the most important ways to keep your rattan furniture looking fabulous for longer, and to extend its lifespan significantly, is to make sure that it is covered when it’s not in use. This is optional, but highly recommended, just for extra security and to keep things looking tip-top.

As a general rule, this primarily goes for the colder months when rain and snow showers are more frequent. A cover is going to be the easiest way to keep your outdoor furniture safe, and luckily for you, we supply for free with most of our sets. 

The covers prevent mould from developing and protect from possible water damage as a result of rain or snow lying atop the furniture for a long time. 

So, if you know you won’t be using your rattan garden furniture while winter is in full force, it’s probably best for you to cover it. 

Whether it be with one of our free covers or even locked away in storage space, there’s no harm in being extra protected.

 Santiago rattan 8 seat oval dining set with a parasol

How to store rattan garden furniture…

As mentioned above, your rattan garden furniture can be stored outside all year round, although we recommend covering it for the Winter. 

How to store rattan garden furniture in winter…

Our winter protective covers provide superior protection from the elements. It is strongly advised to not store any cushions underneath this protective cover, due to the risk of them becoming water stained. In order to preserve their fresh and pristine look, all cushions should be stored in a dry location when not in use. 

Another of the many benefits of rattan is that as a material it is very lightweight. This makes rattan garden furniture easily transportable. So, if space allows, you could even store pieces indoors over the harsh winter months.

A step-by-step guide to clean rattan garden furniture…

Cleaning your rattan garden furniture is so simple and will ensure that it is kept in mint condition for longer. 

Of course, if you have any little spills or stains, cleaning these sooner rather than later will avoid any long-lasting blemishes. 

With regard to general maintenance, we recommend cleaning your furniture (without the cushions) at least once a year. In the grand scheme of things, that’s really no time at all. 

This little step-by-step guide will set you on the right track when it comes to cleaning your pieces…

Firstly, brush the furniture down to remove any leaves and debris. 

Use a handheld vacuum or a brush attachment to remove loose dust and soil. 

If necessary, use a toothbrush, cocktail stick, or any other fine tool to remove stubborn dirt.

With a bowl of warm, soapy water and a soft cloth, gently wipe dirt away. Scrub thoroughly on parts that require more attention, and use a toothbrush to apply the bubbles to cracks and crevices.

After the dirt has been removed we recommend rinsing your furniture, with a hose or power washer. 

Finally, place the furniture outside in the sun or a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry thoroughly. This is essential for avoiding any mildew or mould development.


Harbour Lifestyle care instructions for Rattan Furniture…

Now, more specifically referring to the ranges we sell at Harbour Lifestyle, all materials used are basically maintenance-free. The synthetic rattan has been distinctly manufactured to withstand sun damage, rain, snow, and frost alike.

As well as warm, soapy water or a light jet wash, we recommend our bespoke rattan cleaning kits. 

Our fabric cushions are zipped to allow for machine washing at 40°C. This is perfect for an occasional freshen up. Please note that the chair covers should not be tumble dried, but rather air-dried. 

We’re so confident in our beautiful Santiago rattan furniture that we offer a 5-year guarantee for this range.

By following these simple care instructions from time to time, your garden pieces will retain their ‘like new’ quality.


Ready to buy your own rattan garden furniture?

As far as maintenance goes, the care needs of rattan garden furniture is more than manageable. 

This is even more convenient when remembering that these pieces will last you a very long time if taken care of.

In terms of investment, these are really furniture pieces of the utmost quality. Weather-resistant shells and machine-washable fabric teamed with protective covering and gentle maintenance ensure that this quality will not fade away. 

If you’re ready to elevate your space and buy your own rattan garden furniture, head over to our Harbour Lifestyle rattan page.