Every year we have a family ritual when we clean our house from top to bottom. This includes all of the wonderful wicker baskets and containers used for organizing “stuff” around the house. Wicker is great for organizing things and depending on the things or area it is being used to organize, it will eventually need to be cleaned. Like most things found in a home, wicker can collect dust – and if left alone, that dust can really add up!
Typically, the task of cleaning all our wicker products falls on me, and after a few years of doing this I have a pretty effective strategy for tackling it. It all starts with dividing and conquering the various wicker items into categories. Let’s get started:
This first category I’ll cover is the easiest in my opinion, and the majority of your wicker items will fall into it. I start by gathering up all the big wicker baskets used for dirty linens, magazines, firewood, etc., and place them on the patio in the backyard. They usually have cloth inserts that I remove and drop in the washing machine. Once the inserts are being washed, I mix a bucket with mild soap and warm water for the baskets themselves. I give each item a quick rinse with the hose, and then gently wash them with the warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Finally, give them another quick rinse and a light shake to remove excess water. I let them dry in a shaded area of the patio, usually overnight. Here’s an optional tip that I use when I need them to dry in a hurry – just hit them with a leaf blower for a few seconds each – it is amazing how much water clears off by doing this (obviously, you will want to be in relatively clean area, grass works great for this). My wife is not a big fan of this method due to the noise and prefers I simply pat them down with utility towels.
The second category is for items that cannot get wet and washed properly. I gather those on the side of the house near the garage and set up a small table to work with them. I use the air compressor to gently clean off the dirt and dust gathered over time. In a pinch, I’ve used canned air for this and found it to be just as effective. Just remember to use some eye protection because there can be a lot of dust and debris in the air while cleaning with this method.
At this point, I usually flip the inserts into the dryer and start returning the air cleaned items to their proper places. I can accomplish this in about an hour flat, plus another 15 minutes the next day putting the inserts in place and returning the items back to their original wicker homes.