How to restore outdoor wicker furniture – explore our expert guide

Learn how to restore your outdoor wicker furniture in time for the warmer weather with our helpful tips

Wicker furniture on outdoor patio
(Image credit: Lulu and Georgia)

Wicker furniture is a wonderful option for your outdoor space. It's lightweight, durable, long-lasting, stylish, and weather-resistant, making it one of the best outdoor furniture options on the market. 

Over time, however, wicker can start to fray and fall apart, so knowing how to restore your outdoor wicker furniture to keep it looking as good as new is an important trick to know.

Follow our simple tips on how to restore wicker furniture, as well as expert advice on wicker maintenance and protection.

How to restore wicker outdoor furniture

Beena Shaikh, a home furniture expert, takes us through the steps needed to restore outdoor wicker furniture.

Clean: start by giving your furniture a good clean. Create a soapy solution consisting of warm water and some natural dish soap, like this from Amazon. Use a soft wire brush, we love this brush set from Amazon, to get rid of any loose dirt and remove flaking paint.

After cleaning the dirt off your wicker furniture, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe up excess soap. Be sure all soapy residue is completely removed by rinsing it off with a hose and letting it dry completely in the sun. Alternatively, if there is not enough sun, place a fan outside in front of the wicker furniture to help dry it.

Outdoor wicker furniture is also susceptible to mold and mildew, especially due to the outside humid air. To remove, you should avoid using bleach, and instead use a solution made from one part vinegar to four parts water. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe off the mold, and then use a separate damp cloth to clean with water.

Repair damaged areas: Check for any damage, such as fraying, weaving problems, or loose joints. Glue any broken pieces back into place with wood glue, such as this wood glue from Amazon, and let it dry. For more significant repairs, and if the weave is unraveling, carefully weave in replacement wicker strands using a needle-nose plier or spring clamp to hold the joints together, you can then weave them back into place.

Prime and paint the furniture: If the color of your wicker looks faded, you can also consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. Apply an oil-based primer using a natural bristle brush, brushing slowly and consistently over each section to avoid drip marks.

Use a spray paint formulated for wicker furniture to get an even coat. Remember to do this in a well-ventilated area. Apply two coats of oil-based paint, stopping to wipe up any drips. For raw wicker, consider using an oil stain.

Beena Shaikh
Beena Shaikh

Beena Shaikh is a seasoned expert in home furniture craftsmanship and content writing. With extensive experience in woodworking, she blends artistry with functionality to create exquisite pieces. As a skilled content writer, Beena covers topics ranging from interior design to woodworking techniques. Passionate about sustainability, she advocates for eco-friendly practices in furniture production. Beena's work inspires both craftsmen and enthusiasts, leaving a lasting impact on the industry. 

How to protect wicker outdoor furniture

Once you've restored your outdoor wicker furniture, it's important to know how to protect it. 

Apply a clear varnish or polyurethane topcoat to protect the wicker from the elements. This will help prevent future wear and tear. Look for a sealant that's specifically made for outdoor wicker furniture. This will protect the furniture from future damage. Use a synthetic brush, like this one from Amazon, and apply to the furniture carefully.

Keep your wicker furniture covered when not in use, out of the sun, and away from rain and cold weather. Regularly clean the furniture with mild detergent and water, and hose it down with water when needed. Avoid using harsh chemicals or high-pressure water, as these can damage the wicker.

For an extra layer of protection, Tony O'Neill, founder of Simplify Gardening, suggests that twice a year you should wipe your outdoor natural wicker furniture down with lemon oil, such as Cliganic’s USDA Organic Lemon Essential Oil from Amazon. Only use the lemon oil on natural outdoor wicker furniture and not painted wicker as it will stain the color.  

How do you make old wicker look new?

By regularly cleaning and protecting your outdoor wicker furniture, you can make any old wicker look as good as new. 

Of course, over time your outdoor wicker furniture can slowly show signs of wear and tear (especially if it gets a lot of use in the spring and summer) so for a fresh new look, and as we have explored in this piece, consider painting your wicker furniture a brand new color.

By following these steps, your wicker furniture will be ready to face many more seasons, helping to make your outdoor space feel cozy and inviting. If some of your wicker furniture looks too damaged beyond your repair, you can always consider calling in a professional to save it before buying new.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.