Can I Powerwash Wicker?

Erik Johnson

Wicker furniture is beautiful and quite durable when cared for properly. All types of wicker patio furniture and many pieces of indoor wicker furniture can be quickly washed with a home or automotive power-washer. Furniture made with paper wicker, however, would be damaged by water and should be cleaned by hand.

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor wicker furniture is designed to resist wind and moisture and, thus, withstands power-washing well. Furniture made of natural rattan, willow or reed should be pressure washed with cold water to avoid softening the glue that holds the piece together. Synthetic plastic wicker often has an inner aluminum frame and can be washed with hot or cold water. Use the low pressure setting on your power-washer, between 1,200 and 1,350 pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). Remove the cushions and spray the entire piece of furniture from top to bottom. Painted wicker should not be harmed by water if the paint is intact, but the spray will help remove flaking paint. If the wicker still appears soiled after the initial rinse, scrub the surface with a sponge, a mild detergent and cold water, and then rinse again with the power-washer. Let the wicker dry completely, and then polish it with household paste wax or coat it with urethane or a fresh coat of paint to keep weather from harming the wicker.

Car Wash Sprayers

If you don’t own a pressure-washer, commercial car wash sprayers are a great way to clean your wicker furniture. The high pressure setting on an automotive sprayer is generally set below 1,200 psi to avoid damaging paint. Load your furniture in a truck or trailer and spray down the wicker. Use the cold water setting, and avoid using automotive soap or wax.

Indoor Furniture

Indoor wicker furniture made from solid canes can be power-washed in the same way as outdoor wicker. Pieces of furniture with a wicker seat and antique pieces may be made from paper wicker, which shouldn't be power-washed. Wicker made from paper fiber has the color of a brown paper bag, although it can be painted. You can distinguish paper from cane wicker by looking for a seam or gap between the woven pieces. Strands of paper wicker are sold on large reels, and so you won’t find the gaps common in reed construction.

Vacuum paper wicker to remove surface dust and compressed air to blow away dirt trapped between the fibers. Wipe heavily soiled areas using a damp, soft cloth with a mild detergent such as baby shampoo.