Product Care - A quick guide about how to care for your rattan furniture.
Before we look at how rattan can be treated, it’s useful to know a bit more about the material. Anyone who owns a leather chair, for example, will know that harsh chemicals can potentially damage the natural fibres. Rattan is exactly the same. As with most things in life, simplicity is always best.
Our rattan is sourced from Indonesia; abiding by strict fair trade regulations. We have a wonderful relationship with our supplier, and we take the time to understand how our products are made. The rattan plant is somewhat similar to bamboo. It’s harvested, cut into 13 foot length, and left in the sun to dry out. Once this process is completed, the inner fibres (the reed) is removed and used to make rattan furniture. The steps taken by our rattan specialists ensure that the material is always made to the highest possible standards. This isn’t an elaborate industrial process. Our rattan is made by hand, so that every piece of furniture is as unique as you are.
It will come as no surprise, then, than rattan should be cared for in a similar, non-fussy way. There are many tips and tricks available online; but we’ve selected the advice which we think our customers will appreciate the most. At Desser, our family have been working in the rattan industry for over three generations. This means that you can trust our advice; we’ve had a lot of time to think about it!
Maintaining Rattan Furniture
Although our rattan furniture is incredibly strong, it’s important to ensure that it’s properly maintained. In extreme circumstances, rattan can sometimes split and crack due to excessive wear and tear. It’s not difficult to avoid this, but we do appreciate that it can happen. Here is our tip...
To treat split rattan, gently apply boiled linseed oil to the material and allow for it to cool down. You can even use a small paintbrush or cotton bud to massage the oil into the rattan fibres. This will help to strengthen the rattan and will act as a barrier against any further damage.
In addition to oil treatment, it’s also possible to use coloured wax sticks to disguise any minor scratches. These products are widely available in home appliance stores and can make a real notable difference.
If you are getting into the habit of cleaning your rattan on a regular basis, then you might want to consider treating the wood with lacquer. There are a variety of lacquer products available on the market; each catering specifically to different shades and wood types. Once you find the right product for you, it’s possible to incorporate lacquer into your rattan cleaning routine.
Lacquer protects and reinforces the rattan. If your rattan has been exposed to moisture, for example, then it’s worth applying a coat of good quality lacquer directly to the fibre (once everything has been dried off). If you need a quick solution to dampness, then you can adjust your hairdryer to a mild setting and remove the moisture accordingly. Make sure not to overheat the rattan, however; this could do more damage than good.
For those of you who are interested, it’s also worth noting that rattan furniture can become damaged due to prolonged exposure to the sun. We know this is troubling; especially considering how popular rattan furniture is. However. by treating your suites, you can prevent any long-term issues. The cane frames should be cleaned by gently wiping with a soft, very slightly damp cloth and the use of a dry paintbrush to regularly dust between the grooves is a good idea. Alternatively a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attachment can be used. An occasional spray of any good furniture polish will keep the cane looking its best – avoid applying benzene, thinners, abrasive creams or other potentially harmful chemicals. Cushions should be turned as often as possible so that any fading caused by direct sunlight is evenly spread. They can be cleaned either with a little soapy water on a cloth, or with a dry cleaner fabric spray. Remember, cane furniture is hand made from natural products, no two pieces are exactly the same which is all part of its natural beauty. As a general rule, cane furniture should be kept in a dry environment and not left under direct sunlight for prolonged periods. If the furniture is in a conservatory then we recommend that you move it around occasionally so that different parts are exposed to the sun. Where possible, blinds should be used. A cane suite purchased from Desser has been individually made by hand using the highest quality materials to the most exacting standards of design and finish. If properly cared for it will provide a lifetime of pleasure.
If your house is humid, then this can have an adverse effect upon rattan. Excess heat can cause rattan to split and become structurally weak. In some extreme cases, humidity can potentially promote mould between the grooves. However, if it’s too cold, then rattan can also dry out.
This might seem worrying, but we assure you that rattan isn’t high maintenance. Most of these concerns apply to people who live in extreme climates.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that rattan furniture isn’t an ideal accompaniment next to a fireplace. Much of this is already common sense, but it’s always worth remembering.
Wear and Tear
To protect your rattan furniture from everyday usage, it’s worth using pillows and throws as a barrier between you and the rattan. We aren’t suggesting that you drown your rattan in fabrics, but this is a useful tip. Soft furnishings will cushion the rattan and ensure that it remains in prime condition.
Not only this, but cosy and beautiful furnishings will help to make your rattan furniture extra comfortable. This is the perfect excuse to cuddle up and enjoy your new rattan suite.
Cleaning Rattan Furniture
Many rattan and wicker furniture pieces come with their own upholstery cleaning codes. This is a rough guide, should you ever require it:
Light cleaning; such as brushing or vacuuming.
Light cleaning; using brushing and water-based products.
Only use water-based cleaning methods.
Clean with a mild solvent (such as an upholstery shampoo). Avoid toxins.
Clean with upholstery shampoo, light brushing, and mild solvents.
Cleaning rattan furniture doesn’t have to be time-consuming and difficult. Some of the most effective methods are the simplest, like using a toothbrush. Here are some useful tips and tricks (with no elbow grease required):
If you have a wicker chair, for example, then you’ll know that dust can often get trapped between the grooves. This isn’t difficult to remove, but it can be a daunting process if you have a whole rattan furniture suite to clean.
To remove this dust and grime, fill up a bucket with hot water and add some mild detergent. Make sure that you’ve removed all of the cushions from the furniture (just to prevent it from getting wet). Once you’ve done this, mix the water and detergent together to create lots of bubbles.
The reason for this is simple: too much water will damage the rattan. So, grab a cloth and gently apply the bubbles to the rattan. This will clean your furniture without making it excessively wet. If you really want to remove the dust from between the grooves, you can also use a toothbrush.
Once you’re finished, make sure to gently pat down the rattan to make sure all the moisture is absorbed.
Depending on how frequently you use the furniture, you may wish to consider repeating this process once or twice a fortnight.
It’s almost inevitable that your furniture, regardless of the material, will succumb to the occasional stain. Given that many people use our rattan suites for dining and relaxing, we hardly blame them. In the case of an unfortunate accident, here is some useful advice.
Like the basic cleaning process, add some detergent to some hot water. Let the bubbles develop and grab yourself a soft cloth. Once you’ve saturated the cloth, ring it gently but make sure it isn’t bone dry. You can then begin to wash the rattan stain. Like most stains, the quicker you treat the problem the better. Rattan will absorb liquid so make sure you pat everything dry once you’re done.
If you’re looking for a quick way to eradicate dust build-up, then you could always gently apply a vacuum nozzle over the fibres. It’s important that the vacuum isn’t too strong, however, or it will potentially lift up and damage the rattan. Nevertheless, for those of you who are careful, then this is a quick and effective way of removing dust.
It should be noted that vacuuming is not a substitute for actual cleaning. Although this is an efficient method, it won’t actually remove any of the grime and dirt which builds up in rattan over time.
What about wicker furniture?
Wicker furniture is very similar to rattan, particularly in terms of maintenance and upkeep. Some specialists will advise you to wash your wicker furniture on a daily basis. In an ideal world, this would be a fantastic way to prevent grime and dirt building up in the wicker grooves. However, at Desser, we’re realists; this is simply not feasible for the majority of people.
Small, consistent efforts are by far the best way of cleaning your wicker furniture. A weekly treatment should be more than sufficient. In some cases, you could even use a wet wipe (or two) to go over the surface of the rattan. This should remove any surface dirt and carry you over until the next cleaning.
How to clean rattan furniture: a summary
Rattan is a beautiful and low-maintenance material, especially if you know how to look after it properly. At Desser, we only source the highest quality rattan which is known for its durability and strength. We have a wonderful relationship with our suppliers; helping us to understand how our rattan is made and how to properly care for it. Our company has been around for over half a century now, so we have all the expert advice you could possibly need.
While all of our furniture ranges have been designed to endure, we do understand accidents happen. It’s important to have the knowledge and resources around you to deal with these issues properly. Whether it’s a simple stain or general wear and tear, there are a variety of options available to you.
The staff at Desser don’t believe that cleaning and general maintenance needs to be laborious. Overall, it’s best to make lots of small and consistent efforts to keep your rattan in tip-top condition.
Overall, there are several methods of cleaning and maintaining your rattan. They include washing with water, dusting with a brush, and vacuuming. This will help to ensure that your rattan doesn’t become excessively grimey and lose its shine. Furthermore, you can also apply a thin coat of lacquer to your rattan to protect it from the elements. It doesn’t need to be applied every day, but is useful for treating our furniture which has been exposed to moisture.
There are also several useful pieces of information for people who invest in rattan. First of all, it’s not advised to keep your rattan out in the sun. It will become dry and potentially weaken. Furthermore, you should always make sure that your rattan and wicker doesn’t succumb to dampness. This will cause your furniture to rot and drastically decrease its life expectancy.
If you have any questions, or would just like to learn more, then please get in touch with us today.
Washing Instructions for Machine washable fabrics only
Use pure soap agents, ie: Lux, Flakes, Dreft etc. Do not use bleach or soda and, particularly on natural colour products, do not use powders containing optical brightening agents as they will "whiten" from the original natural colour. It is recommended that powders are fully dispensed in the water to avoid concentration of the powder in one place giving uneven colour difference on your cover. Do not use the ball type of dispenser for this reason.
Ensure that the water temperature does not rise above 40°. Keep wash times to a minimum followed by a cold rinse and a short spin. Tumble drying should only be done at a low temperature. All covers should be washed at the same time to avoid shade variation. There may be some colour loss on initial washing which is normal. Please allow 3% for residual shrinkage.
We hope that you find this information useful and in doubt seek professional advice before washing.