How to clean and stain wicker

Updated April 17, 2017

Wicker furniture often gets used outside in the garden or on the patio and can therefore get dirty. Luckily, it's fairly easy to clean. Once you clean your wicker furniture, you can stain it if it's not already treated. Staining protects the wicker from water and weather damage. Do this even if you keep your furniture inside as it will extend its life and protect it from spills.

Take a sturdy feather duster or the hose nozzle on your vacuum cleaner and loosen and remove any surface dust and dirt. The feather duster can better reach inside the spaces between the gaps in the wicker and is easier to use outside, but the vacuum will keep the dust from flying back in your face.

Open the windows and doors if you are inside to give yourself good ventilation. Then pour 6.75 litres (1 1/2 gallons) of lukewarm water into your bucket and add 22 ml (2 1/2 tbsp) of ammonia. Put on your gloves and mix the solution with your hands.

Dip your cotton rag in the solution. Wring it out so it isn't dripping (you don't want to get wicker too wet). Wipe down the wicker using a minimal amount of force. Scrub the areas you can't get with the rag with an old toothbrush.

Wet a second cloth and rinse off the cleaning solution or spray the wicker with the hose, only turning it on halfway so the pressure doesn't get too high.

Gently dry your wicker with a terry towel or paper towels or leave it in the sun for two hours. Make sure it is completely dry before you apply the stain.

Stir the can of stain with a dowel so that the colour is uniform. Then dip the paintbrush in the stain, making sure only the bristles get wet. Wipe the bristles on the rim of the can so the brush doesn't drip.

Apply a thin, even layer of stain to all parts of the wicker. Use a watercolour brush for any parts you can't reach with the regular paintbrush. Let the wicker dry for two hours. Then apply a second coat. If you like, you can apply furniture wax on top of the stain, but it is not necessary.


You can dry your wicker faster using the hairdryer, but keep it at least 30 cm (1 foot) away so you don't burn it or dry it unevenly.

Sand off any lumps in the stain. Then apply new stain in these areas.

Cover wicker furniture if you expect severe weather.


Don't sit on wicker furniture when it's wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton rag
  • Old toothbrush
  • Feather duster or vacuum with hose
  • Ammonia
  • Rubber gloves
  • Garden hose
  • Paper towels or terry towel
  • Dowel
  • Wood stain
  • Sandpaper
  • 9 litre (2 gallon) bucket
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