Can Wicker Furniture Get Wet? Avoid Ruining Your Furniture

If you’re a fan of wicker furniture, then you probably have wicker chairs on the patio, wicker baskets in the living room, and wicker accessories just about everywhere else. Wicker is stylish, elegant, and quite affordable. So, what’s there not to like about it?

A bunch of wicker products

Many people ask the question: can wicker furniture get wet? And the answer is you shouldn’t let it get wet. For all its advantages, if this versatile material gets wet, it can have a devastating effect on the wicker furniture. However, there are some ways you can intervene and some necessary steps you can take to remedy the situation.

What Happens to Wicker Furniture if It Gets Wet?

When you leave your wicker furniture outside under the elements for too long, it will start to deteriorate. If you live in an area that gets plenty of rainfall, that will speed up the deterioration and damage. Before long, you’ll start to notice the following signs:

Odor

The first thing you’ll probably notice about a deteriorating piece of wicker furniture is the odor. When you get close to the table or wicker chair, you’ll get wafts of dank odor. That’s the smell of the organic materials breaking down due to the high levels of moisture. 

A lady holding a spray can obviously disgusted by a foul odor

With time, the odors get stronger and more offensive. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to use the furniture or even keep it on the patio or the deck. 

Mold and Mildew

Off-putting odors and mold go hand-in-hand. The reeds of the wicker furniture act as safe havens for spores of fungi to build up and mushroom. 

A set of rattan furniture

Needless to say, fungi can’t grow on dry wicker. Mold needs moisture to grow and spread all over the nooks and crannies of the basket, chair, or table. For the most part, mold and mildew have a brown color, but it’s easy to scrub off with a brush.

Weak Structure

Wicker furniture is known for its sturdy structure. The new pieces are noise-free and will not squeak under your weight. But, when water enters the equation, that is no longer true. 

A garden dining set composed of wicker chairs and a wooden table

Sturdy chairs will become too weak to hold your weight. Wicker tables will bend under the weight of a heavy tray, and baskets will sag and look like they’re about to burst at the seams. 

Can You Protect Wicker Furniture From Rain?

Just because rain and high humidity can have such a devastating impact on wicker furniture, doesn’t mean you should rule out wicker altogether. Luckily, there are ways to protect wicker furniture from the rain. Here’s the lowdown of the best ways to do that:

  • Oil: You can oil the wicker furniture regularly using tung oil. The oil will insulate the surface of the wicker and prevent water from infiltrating and saturating the furniture.

  • Paint: Paint works the same way as tung oil, but it’s a more permanent solution. However, painted wicker furniture doesn’t look the same as natural wicker, so it’s a trade-off between looks and durability.
Paint brush with three cans of paint
  • Cover: If you don’t like oily furniture, and you prefer to keep its natural color, then covering the outdoor furniture is the right option to protect it from rain. Make sure the covers are made of waterproof materials and cover the legs of the furniture as well.

  • Take it Inside: When you’re not using the wicker furniture, there’s no point in keeping it outdoors for the rain and the sun to ruin it. During the off-season, bring the wicker furniture indoors and store it in a dry place.
Wicker furniture placed indoors
  • Regular Cleaning: As an organic material, wicker takes time to deteriorate as a result of high humidity and rainfall. So, clean the furniture regularly using a bristle brush to remove any dirt. That will keep the furniture from retaining moisture and getting damaged.
A set of cleaning tools

Can You Leave Wicker Furniture Outside?

Whether or not you can leave wicker furniture outside will depend on the type of wicker your furniture is made of. Resin wicker furniture, for example, is designed for outdoor use. So, leaving it on the patio, deck or beside the pool will not damage it as fast as a wooden chair made for the indoors. 

Wicker furniture placed outdoors

But, that doesn’t mean you should leave your wicker furniture outside indefinitely. Both the sun rays and the rain can have a devastating impact. So, while it’s okay to leave your wicker furniture outside as soon as the weather warms up, you should bring the furniture indoors when the weather starts to get chilly. 

A comparison of wicker furniture that is resin based vs. one that uses natural materials

On the other hand, if you prefer natural decor and your furniture is made of natural wicker, then you shouldn’t leave it outside even overnight. You should treat it as indoor furniture that you only take outside when you’re going to use it. For natural wicker furniture, no amount of paint, oil, or protection can keep it from deteriorating quickly. 

How Can You Tell if Wicker Furniture Is Meant To Be Indoors or Outdoors?

You don’t have to be a wicker expert to be able to tell the difference between indoor and outdoor wicker furniture. The material of the furniture is a dead giveaway as far as wicker is concerned.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Wicker furniture meant for indoor use

Indoor wicker furniture can be made from four types of material. These are rattan, willow, bamboo, and reed. Although they are sturdy, none of these materials are exceptionally hardy against the elements. In particular, water damages rattan and bamboo at a faster rate.

An outdoor wicker chair with a metal frame

Outdoor wicker furniture, on the other hand, usually has aluminum frames to protect it against the harsh sunlight and excessive moisture. The weaving materials aren’t organic. They’re synthetic fibers that can resist the damage of the sun, snow, and rain. 

Resins and synthetic vinyl give the furniture an extra layer of protection.

Indoor wicker furniture in a nice brightly-lit room

If your furniture is made of natural materials, then it’s meant for the indoors. If it has aluminum frames and a good resin finish, then you can safely use it outdoors. You can even leave it outside for weeks on end. Just remember to keep it clean and maintain it.

Is There Waterproof Wicker Patio Furniture?

Since natural wicker can easily get wet and deteriorate rapidly, something had to be done to make wicker a more durable and weather-resistant material. 

Resin wicker has the best of both worlds. It has the look and feel of natural wicker but with added durability. It’s considered all-weather furniture.

Resin wicker furniture placed in a beautiful garden

You can leave resin wicker furniture outside all summer without worrying about damage, odors, or mold buildup. Of course, this durability has its limits. Sooner or later, the destructive sun rays will break down the resin and damage the woven fabric. So, we recommend regular maintenance and cleaning. And, if you’re not using the furniture for a long time, consider storing it away.

Conclusion

Contrary to what many might believe, wicker furniture can get wet as long as you take some precautionary steps. Moisture and wicker don’t mix. Most natural wicker furniture made of rattan, bamboo, reed, and willow is designed for indoor use. 

If you want to use your wicker furniture outdoors, make sure it’s made of the all-weather resin wicker variety. That way it will be made with aluminum frames and synthetic vinyl. Regular maintenance is recommended no matter which wicker furniture you use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.