Can You Leave Rattan Furniture Outside in Winter? (Tips)


Charcoal colored all weather rattan patio furniture sitting out in the rain

 

Synthetic materials allow you to leave outdoor rattan furniture out in the winter month’s cold temperatures and bad weather; covered they will be cleaner and last longer.


Synthetic Materials

Today’s Synthetic Rattan furniture is not your grandmother’s rattan furniture of fifty years ago; winter, spring, summer, or fall, today’s outdoor rattan furniture can stay out in colder months and year-round.

Covered outdoor furniture with light snowfall on top

Covering with waterproof covers is the best way to assure you that your outdoor patio furniture is perfectly fit, ready for the winter season and harsh weather ahead.

Snow covered old wicker rattan chair sitting out in four inches of winter snow
Grandma’s old wicker rattan chair in the snow.

It won’t be rained or snowed on, ice won’t be forming on them, and blowing leaves and debris is less likely to collect on them.

 

Made of synthetic resins which are waterproof materials, the rattan furniture for outdoor use won’t absorb moisture and is a good choice as it won’t rot. 

Snowflakes on arm of rattan patio furniture.


Quality Rattan vs. Not Quality

The higher the quality of rattan product, the more likely it is able to stand up better to winter elements than a less expensive set of rattan; this is due to the quality of materials each is made of.

With quality rattan furniture, their aluminum frame does not rust like some powder-coated metal-framed furniture is prone to do.

As with anything we buy, there is usually the “real deal” and the “knock off.”

 This applies to rattan furniture as well; quality rattan or “all-weather wicker” will cost 4-5 times as much as the knock-offs.

 

Quality outdoor all weather rattan

Quality rattan for the patio will have aluminum frames that don’t rust, and the “rattan” will be marked ‘PE’ or Polyethylene. 

 

Quality furniture will be UV resistant meaning that its color won’t fade from being in the sun.

 

Close up of quality synthetic rattan material

 

Polyethylene is recyclable and does not emit harmful chemicals.

“Not quality” rattan furniture usually consists of a rattan made of Polyvinyl Chloride/PVC which is the same plastic as the plastic pipe used in plumbing.

More than likely, this lower quality of rattan furniture is going to have a steel frame which over time is subject to rust.

A coil of PVC rattan material

I would like to suggest not purchasing  PVC outdoor furniture, it produces harmful toxins when produced, and also emits them as it degrades/decomposes; not something you want your child/grandchildren playing on.

 

When burned, PVC emits Chlorine gas; so if “Bill” drops his cigar in the corner of the sofa one summer evening, be sure not to inhale while putting out the fire if you have PVC furniture. PVC is also non-recyclable.

 

Quality furniture sets will be marked HDPE or PE on their tag.

Quality PE rattan has a more natural look and has texture to it, PVC is shiny and has no texture.

As you can clearly see, the two are different materials in more ways than one.


What is Rattan furniture?

Rattan can be used to describe natural wicker and synthetic wicker or all-weather wicker.

 

Within the last twenty years, synthetic resin wicker furniture a.k.a.

all-weather wicker,’ became available and has only grown in popularity. 

 

Handsome, affordable, comfortable, and durable;

Many choose synthetic rattan wicker when purchasing outdoor wicker furniture.

 

The terms wicker and rattan have become interchangeable.

Wicker is a method of weaving, dating back three thousand years.


Natural rattan furniture

“Natural wicker” implies that the article (chair, table) is made of the rattan vine or other natural fibrous material such as Bamboo. 

Naural wicker arm chairs and table with snow

 

Rattan vine that has been stripped of its skin, sometimes split, and when dried, is woven and or wrapped in a manner that forms furniture or many other items such as clothes baskets, hats, or dinner mats.

 

Unlike synthetic rattan garden furniture, natural rattan if left out in winter weather is prone to soak up moisture, and in some cases cause them to rot. 

In summer months left outside in the sun, it is subject to fading, drying out, eventually becoming brittle.

Sun faded rattan furniture

If a person is unable to bring them in from wet conditions they will benefit from outdoor furniture covers.

Natural rattan furniture requires more effort in order to keep it in tip-top shape; some apply boiled linseed oil to keep it from drying out and cracking, others paint theirs with polyurethane or other protective sealants every couple of years.

 

More suited for a sunroom, natural wicker requires maintenance to keep the woven material in good shape.

 

Organic materials, mainly rattan, bamboo, reed, cane, willow, have been and are used to make various natural wicker furnishings more suited for indoor use.

 

Today people can have the look of natural wicker furniture for outdoor patio furniture, without the maintenance and concern of yesteryear wicker.


Cleaning Your Patio Furniture

The warmer months have passed, weather conditions are changing, after reading the future weather predictions, like a fishing Lodge in the Great North, you have come to the conclusion that it’s the time to shut down your outdoor space for the winter.

 

Prepping your wicker patio furniture for storage on a dry day will take an hour or two of your time; 

but next spring, you’ll be able to pull the covers off, or drag it out of the shed and be ready to entertain in no time.

 

Synthetic wicker furniture typically requires a little soapy water and a soft cloth to clean. 

If you have tough stains, bird droppings, or other types of mess, it may require a bit more than mild dish soap and a damp cloth to clean.

 

Woman cleaning rattan lounger

A soft brush, warm water, dish soap, and a good spray from the old hose should clean most of anything that is stuck on the synthetic wicker material.

 

A pressure washer makes quick work of cleaning all types of furniture; aluminum, plastic, steel furniture; the jet spray can get into the nooks and crannies where it is nearly impossible with a brush.

It would be advisable to be easy with the amount of pressure coming out of the nozzle, (Especially important if your rattan doesn’t have an aluminum frame but powder-coated steel.) you just want to remove surface dirt, not strip paint.

 

Let the excess water runoff your furniture and allow it to completely air dry before you stow it away in your shed, garage, basement, or possibly your spare room.


Storing Outdoor Furniture

Waterproof sheds make ideal storage for outdoor furniture as most people only go into them for the leaf rake or snow shovel once or twice during winter.

 

Only one car in a two-car garage? Perfect space for your outdoor furniture.

If you’re able to get them up off the ground wherever they are stored is even better, avoiding mice is nice.

 

If you lack storage space and have to leave your furniture out of doors, Find an area where high winds can’t get at it.

 

The quality rattan of today usually has an aluminum frame, they weigh next to nothing,  big winds and gusts of any magnitude would have no problem sending your furniture into the neighbor’s yard.

 

It is a good idea for extra protection against strong winds to place it somewhere where the strongest winds can be avoided. 

 

Many times this area can be found on the side of the house, depending on where the prevailing winds come from in your area.

 

You can check to see where your wind and storms come from during that time of year with this handy weather tool I have here.

 

The wind is responsible for more damage to outdoor furniture every year than we know.

 

If you don’t have a place that is free of wind, weigh them down with something such as 10 pounds of weight from your teenager’s weight set or something of equal weight.

 

Another option would be to tie the furniture down; this may all seem far-fetched, but after seeing the weather this last couple of years, I think it might pay off to be ready for just about anything.


How to Store Cushions

Although they are usually made of a type of material to endure the elements of the outdoors, cushions and their outdoor fabrics may not fare so well if just stuck away in the shed. 

Quality cushions are worth the cost, here is a link to

Sunbrella’s website.

 

With a quick cleaning to get any dirt/stuck on food etc. off of them before storing, you’ll be good to go when the warmth of spring comes back.

 

I recommend vacuuming them first, this removes any dust/dirt that has settled on them.

 

Next, follow the instructions attached to the cushions, if the tag is missing, and you know who manufactured them, you may be able to find the cleaning information on the internet.

 

If no information can be found, use a light solution of dish (¼ cup) soap and one gallon of warm water in an inconspicuous area (seam) to test for colorfastness prior to cleaning all of your cushions.

After giving the cushions a light scrub with a terry cloth or sponge, spray them off with your hose and allow them to air dry.

 

Remember that you are performing a light cleaning, and not soaking the cushions, just enough dampness to loosen any soils on the exterior of the cushion.

Once dry, you can store them wherever you have a dry space and are sure they won’t be subjected to moisture, such as in your garage, storage room, etc.


Conclusion:

No matter what type of furniture you own, natural materials such as rattan, wooden garden furniture, synthetic resin plastic furniture, wrought iron, metal frame, it pays, in the long run, to keep it in good condition with a protective cover and in a dry place (in the garden shed, garage, etc.) if possible during the cold weather so you can enjoy it the rest of the year.

 

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Dann

Hi and welcome! When I'm not writing, I can be found in the kitchen as I love to cook; when I'm not writing or cooking, I might be exercising my green thumb; and when I'm not doing any of those things... I might be on a day trip to the mountains or collecting agates on the beach, and sometimes I can be found just reading a book. Have a great day!

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