How to Clean Bamboo and Rattan Furniture

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Bamboo and rattan furniture are trendy and look fantastic wherever you place them. They give a natural appeal to any space and are durable with excellent care. So, how do you clean bamboo and rattan furniture?

It is advisable to clean bamboo and rattan furniture daily and deep clean at least once a year. For everyday cleaning, you can wipe the pieces with a dust rag. Deep cleaning involves washing with soapy water, drying, and applying protective oil.

This article explores whether you can pressure wash rattan and bamboo furniture. I also discuss how to clean bamboo and rattan furniture and if both types of furniture are the same. To conclude, I describe how to restore rattan furniture.

Can You Pressure Wash Rattan and Bamboo Furniture?


Bamboo and rattan furniture have a lacquer layer or other protective cover. A pressure washer can easily destroy this layer, leaving the furniture exposed to damage from the elements. Pressure washing these furniture items may also cause parts of their outer layer to tear off.

Pressure washing is bad for natural bamboo and rattan furniture, but not synthetic bamboo and rattan furniture. These furniture items are usually made for outdoor use and can withstand exposure to the elements. Therefore, you can pressure wash them from a safe distance without damage.

How to Clean Bamboo and Rattan Furniture

Bamboo and rattan are natural materials that make stunning furniture, and they are also eco-friendly if you are interested in living sustainably. However, like other wood and cane furniture, they may be challenging to maintain.

Since cleaning is a huge part of maintenance, it is essential to know how to do it properly. As I mentioned earlier, you can clean bamboo and rattan furniture daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.

All cleaning processes are uncomplicated and easy to follow. For regular and deep cleaning, these are the materials you need:

  1. Two microfiber towels/rags or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
  2. Warm water
  3. Dish soap or oil-based soap (effective for cleaning mildew)
  4. Branded furniture cleaner
  5. Ammonia
  6. Compressed air
  7. Wood furniture or boiled linseed oil
  8. Lubricating oil

The oil-based soap and compressed air are optional, and you can still do an excellent job without them.

Now that you have the materials ready, here’s how to clean your furniture:

Regular cleaning

You can do this daily or weekly, depending on how much time and resources you have. First, dust your bamboo and rattan furniture with a duster, soft cloth, or your vacuum cleaner with its brush attachment.

If you clean weekly, then wipe the furniture with a solution of mild detergent and water. You can also use a mild furniture cleaner and damp cloth for this purpose. After wiping the furniture down, place it outside to dry in the sun.

Be careful with branded furniture cleaners, avoiding products with acids or oil. These ingredients may react negatively with the bamboo or its construction agents, like sealants.

Deep or heavier cleaning

Dust or grime accumulation over time prompts a more comprehensive cleaning method than just dusting. In these five steps, you’ll have your furniture gleaming.

  1. Wipe off loose dirt: Before bringing in the big guns, you can remove excess dust and dirt. A microfiber towel, soft brush, or other dusting tools can help you get rid of surface dirt.

If these tools cannot reach the crevices, a toothbrush or bottle of compressed air can help remove the dirt in these areas.

  1. Wash with soapy water: Mix regular dish soap with warm water in a bowl or bucket to make suds. Adding a teaspoon or two ammonia to the mixture gives it extra power. You can also use a homemade cleaning solution without dish soap.

Mix two tablespoons of vinegar and 1/4 cup of ammonia in a quart of warm water and wipe the furniture with it. Next, wipe down the pieces with a soft brush or rag, using mild pressure to avoid damaging the wood. 

Ensure you wring the rag entirely before using it to avoid soaking the furniture. If the bamboo or rattan furniture has a mildew problem, you’ll need something stronger than soap. Using a gentle oil-based soap and hard wire brush to scrub off the mildew is effective.

  1. Rinse thoroughly: After cleaning the furniture sufficiently, rinse off the soap and other substances thoroughly. Next, get a fresh bowl or bucket of warm water and a clean rag and wipe down the furniture. Remember to wring the rag properly, removing excess water.
  1. Put it out to dry: It is best to let your bamboo and rattan furniture dry thoroughly to avoid struggling with mildew later. If you cannot dry them outside, place them in a space with plenty of air movement. Please refrain from using it for several days to ensure that it dries fully.
  1. Apply lubricating oils: Oiling your rattan and bamboo furniture keeps the fibers lubricated and conditioned, keeping them from becoming brittle. It also prolongs the lifespan of the furniture. Only apply lubricating oils when you are sure the furniture is completely dry.

Bamboo and rattan furniture oils usually consist of mineral oils and extracts (for fragrance) and suffice for lubrication. Boiled linseed oil is a natural lubricant. If you use a branded product, please follow the instructions on the bottle to avoid damage.

Check for evidence of bugs and mildew spots regularly, and deal with them promptly. Proper care of your furniture will allow you to get the best out of them, as they can last for decades.

Are Bamboo and Rattan Furniture the Same?

Although bamboo and rattan furniture items have certain physical similarities, they are not the same. Differences abound from their growth patterns to the kind of furniture they make.

Rattan is a vine plant that curves as it grows, while bamboo grows straight up out of the ground. Bamboo is also too strong to be curved and hollow. On the other hand, rattan is solid, and you can bend and mold it.

Consequently, rattan furniture usually consists of long, strong strings, while bamboo furniture is hollow and pole-like.

Both have horizontal markings that make their furniture design look similar and make wicker furniture. Another similarity they share is their durability. If you care for them properly, bamboo and rattan furniture can last for at least 30 years without breaking down.

How Do You Restore Rattan Furniture?

Rattan furniture may fade with age or because of improper care. Restoring rattan furniture is not an easy process, as you need time and patience for a good revamping. However, it is doable, and here’s how to get it done:

  • Deep clean the furniture according to the instructions described in the previous section.
  • Sand down the item (s) to remove the glossy finish and any residual dirt or grime you couldn’t clean.
  • Fix the binder cane by replacing, sanding, or painting it.
  • If you paint the binder cane, allow it to dry for 24 hours before doing the last step.
  • Finally, oil or wax the entire piece to restore the natural wood, protect the finish, and give it a shiny look. If it still looks dull, you can apply a layer of varnish.

After restoring the furniture, remember to protect them by using furniture covers and placing them in well-ventilated areas.

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