Wicker furniture consists of a natural or synthetic vine woven around a frame. Natural wicker uses, of course, natural fibres such as rattan vines or reeds. Synthetic wicker "vines" are usually composed of PVC or another highly durable manufactured material. Advantages of synthetic wicker include weather resistance, lower price, wider availability and a larger colour selection. However, there are times when your synthetic wicker piece may need some maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Inspect your synthetic wicker furniture for rust spots at the frame joints. Higher-end furniture manufacturers will use galvanised and rust-resistant metal such as aluminium for the frame and screws. However, if you see a rusty screw, remove it and replace it with a galvanised one.
Remove the cushions, and scrub the wicker with a nylon brush and a few drops of mild detergent in a bucket of water outdoors. Rinse well with a garden hose. Allow the wicker to dry completely.
Insert the ends of any frayed or broken synthetic "vines" back into the weave of the furniture to hide them. A few breaks here and there will not affect the stability of the furniture. You can even trim off the broken piece with a utility knife to neaten the appearance of the furniture. It is possible to reweave a small area that has become frayed. However, you should take the furniture to a professional wicker repair shop if there is extensive damage that needs reweaving.
Paint your synthetic wicker furniture if it has begun to fade, although many years may pass before this is necessary. Spread a large cardboard sheet or newspapers on a flat surface outdoors. Apply an even coat of primer designed for the specific material of your synthetic wicker and let it dry completely. Apply two coats of paint, allowing it to dry completely between coats. Use spray paint and primer to cover all the nooks and crannies in the wicker.
Replace ripped, mildewed and worn cushion covers. Find updated prints or solids to refresh the look of the furniture. Replace the cushions themselves if they are worn or mildewed.
Paint mismatched pieces of synthetic wicker so they'll match. Buy matching or complementary cushions for all the pieces. Check patio and pool supply shops for replacement cushions and cushion covers.
Do not use abrasive cleaners or scrub pads on synthetic wicker, as they can scratch the finish.