How to Care for Rattan Furniture. Rattan is as beautiful as it is durable, so most rattan furniture needs only basic cleaning and care to preserve its natural strength and color. Follow these steps to keep your rattan furniture looking as beautiful as the day you bought it.
Clean the surface regularly. A monthly or even weekly cleaning is the best way to protect your rattan furniture and prevent major damage. Clean with a little dishwashing detergent diluted into water. Skim the suds off the top of the water with a soft cloth and then wipe the furniture's surface without getting the wood wet. Be sure to get into crevices and grooves with a toothbrush or other small brush.
Keep the furniture indoors. While rattan certainly likes humidity, it is not outdoor furniture. Keep your rattan indoors and preferably out of direct sunlight and the furniture will last long and look better.
Care for stains or other major damage immediately. Use detergent and a cloth to scrub out stains as soon as they occur. For more serious damage like cracking or splitting of the wood, try boiled linseed oil to put moisture back into the material. For the real tough stuff, contact a rattan or wicker expert who can care for the wood with expertise.
Do a major cleaning once a year. A thorough cleaning will take care of dirt buildup and will also prevent further damage. Scrub the rattan with detergent, using slightly more water than you use for the weekly cleaning. Then, dry the wood as quickly as possible, using a hair dryer or setting the furniture in the sun. Finally, apply a coat of shellac or lacquer to seal the wood until the next year's cleaning.
Place rubber stoppers underneath the legs of the furniture. Keeping a bit of rubber between the wood and the floor will prevent unnecessary damage and splitting of the rattan.