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Interest in “rattan garden furniture” peaked in April to a whopping 823,000 Google searches – and it’s clear the UK’s current heatwave will only encourage more people to search online. Rattan furniture in particular has been in high demand which means it’s difficult to get your hands on. If you’re struggling to find the perfect rattan chairs or maybe even a rattan sofa for your garden, it may be time to refresh what you’ve already got.
Ryan Schwarze, Head of Luxury Rattan has shared his six expert tips for restoring rattan, as well as revealing when it’s time to invest in a new garden centrepiece.
1. Give it a gentle clean
Get rid of dirt and debris build up by giving your rattan furniture a once-over with a vacuum or brush.
Ryan added: “If you find there is dirt trapped in the weave of the rattan, grab a toothbrush to loosen it, you should then be able to wipe or vacuum it away with ease.”
However, if your furniture is looking like it may need more than a quick scrub, remember to avoid any harsh cleaners or chemicals that could damage delicate rattan.
The best way is to fill a bowl with warm soap water using washing up liquid.
Then, gently wipe down your furniture with a soft cloth.
Wipe away any soapy residue on your furniture before leaving it to dry outside.
2. Freshen up the feet
The feet of your garden furniture are prone to damage as they are often scraped across a plethora of materials from patios to decking and even garden lawns.
Ryan explained: “Once you’ve cleaned your furniture, make sure you check the feet of your chairs and tables.
“If they are scratched or damaged, simply replace the bottoms with new pads to bring them back to life and improve their longevity.”
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3. Rehydrate your old rattan
Rattan can crack over time which can make it look faded and discoloured.
Ryan suggests adding a layer of protection by using a household item – olive oil.
He explained: “If you have an old piece of rattan furniture that is looking worse for wear, I would recommend using a soft cloth and rubbing some olive oil onto the product.
“This will reduce cracking and add a glossy shine to your rattan, making it look as good as new.”
4. Replace the weave
If you spot a broken piece of weave, it’s time to get your DIY tools out.
But before you start re-weaving, you need to make sure your furniture is clean and dirt-free.
Ryan said: “For synthetic or poly rattan furniture, depending on the level of damage to the piece of weave, you can either remove the broken piece completely or cut the weave up to where the damage begins.
“Using a piece of replacement strand, simply weave it through the rattan and follow the original pattern – depending on the length of the strand you can either add glue along the piece or at each end to secure it properly.”
5. Paint it
Adding a coat of paint in a bright or pastel colour to your rattan furniture can really brighten up your garden as well as making it look like new.
Ryan said you need to use spray paint to achieve this and make sure your furniture is clean and dry before painting it.
He also said you will need to spray it in a well-ventilated area and wear goggles and a face mask to protect yourself.
He explained further: “You will need to start by adding a coat of primer to the rattan before the spray paint and allow it to completely dry.
“Depending on the paint colour you may need to add several thin coats but again make sure to allow the paint to dry completely before adding a layer of top coat to seal.”
“It’s important to keep in mind that modern synthetic or poly rattan shouldn’t be painted as it is usually fully weatherproof and comes coated to protect the material. Jobs a good’un!”
Although upcycling and DIY is a great way to brighten up your rattan furniture, sometimes it’s safer to buy something new.
Ryan said if your furniture has “excessive cracking”, it could be time to consider buying a new set.
He added: “Good quality poly rattan should last for years as the recycled plastic material is weatherproof and durable compared to the plant-based material used for traditional rattan.
“It’s important to consider the frame material too as steel framed garden sets tend to rust whereas aluminium frames are naturally rust resistant and when combined with weatherproof poly rattan you have added durability.”
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