A rattan garden furniture set is one of the essential set pieces British garden and patio owners are learning not to go without. While plastic or aluminium-based garden furniture remains popular and widely purchased across the British Isles, there is just something about the rustic, naturalistic look of rattan garden furniture which gives it that extra appeal in the eyes of Britons looking to spruce up their outdoor area.

What most of these home-owners are also learning, however, is that rattan furniture comes with the added requirement of tender love and care. A sturdy yet easily damaged material, rattan must be handled extremely gently, at the risk of a beautiful set of outdoor furniture turning into a frayed collection of broken wicker edges. This is why more and more home-owners are gravitating towards synthetic rattan, a polyethylene alloy which boasts most of the characteristics of traditional rattan while being considerably easier to care for. In this article, we will aim to offer tips and suggestions on how to properly care for both types of rattan, so you can ensure your brand-new set of rattan garden furniture gets the attention it deserves, and remains in good shape for as long as possible.

Caring for natural rattan

As mentioned above, natural rattan is as delicate as it is versatile and beautiful. Most of the usual products used to clean furniture will be murder on rattan, so home-owners wanting to keep their wicker furniture in good condition should avoid them at all costs. Instead, their rattan garden furniture should be dusted down with a soft-bristled brush (ideally weekly) and cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. Water should likewise be used sparingly, and never on paper rattan – to wash this material, a damp cloth should be used. Drying is best done by leaving the furniture out on a dry but blustery day, although a fan or hair dryer will achieve a similar effect in case of necessity.


Where upkeep and maintenance are concerned, similar care should be taken to ensure natural rattan furniture retains its appealing look. This material damages rather easily, but fortunately, most of this damage can be prevented through a series of easy steps and measures. For instance, a simple, thin coat of UV-protective wax will suffice to prevent exposure damage, while linseed oil will restore cracked or dry furniture, provided it has not been painted. A set of rubber stoppers will similarly stop the wood from scuffing through contact with the floor. Finally, any natural rattan garden furniture should be protected with a cover when not in use, and stored in a slightly humid place if kept indoors. Finally, while painting natural rattan furniture is not necessarily advised against, owners of rattan pieces should be aware that painting them reduces their market value, and could harm their status as antique pieces down the line.

These simple steps will go a long way towards ensuring natural rattan furniture remains in good shape for extended periods of time.

Caring for Synthetic Rattan

Popular amongst garden-owners for sporting all the qualities of natural rattan while being much easier to care for, synthetic rattan requires significantly less effort to be kept in good shape than its natural counterpart. Indeed, many of the shortcomings of natural rattan do not apply to its synthetic 'cousin', and home-owners will be delighted to discover they can wash their synthetic rattan garden furniture with water without risking damaging it. Otherwise, most of the tips and tricks detailed above apply to synthetic rattan just as well as to natural rattan.

By following the simple guidelines provided in this article, owners of rattan garden furniture can make sure their furniture stays in tip-top shape, and continues to be the envy of the neighbourhood!