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How to Care for Cane Furniture. Easy Hints.

18 August 2023
9 minutes read

Want to prolong life of your cherished piece of cane furniture? Say goodbye to sagging chairs and broken strands! This blog is your one-stop guide how to maintaining and restoring the beauty and durability of your cane furniture. Uncover easy, actionable tips to clean, restore, and keep your cane furniture for many years to come.

What is Cane Furniture?

Cane rattan furniture and decor is making a stylish comeback. It’s not the latest trend, and we don’t think this is going to be something that disappears; cane furniture is a classic style that offers a timeless addition to the home.

Featured: Eva Rattan Ottoman Bed with Cane Headboard, Lifting Storage Container

Is Cane the Same as Rattan?

Cane furniture is often confused with rattan, and although the two come from the same plant, they are different. Rattan is a long, solid stemmed plant that is woven to make furniture whereas cane is the external skin of rattan plants that has been cut down to create furniture.

Cane, used in our cane bentwood chairs range, is significantly less porous than rattan which makes it better for building whole furniture pieces as liquid spills are more easily repelled.

Explore Our Timeless Cane Collection

Explore our timeless cane furniture collection

Tips for Caring for Cane Furniture

Keep your cane and rattan furniture in good condition with the following tips:

  1. Keep Away From Heat
    Cane furniture should be kept away from extreme heat and low humidity areas as these conditions can cause cane to dry out, resulting in brittleness and breakages. It is also best to avoid direct sunlight and heater ducts for the same reason.
  2. Regular Cleaning
    It is important to keep your cane furniture clean to prevent grime building up as well as reducing the likelihood of mould and mildew. Read on to find out how to clean your cane furniture.
  3. Remove Mould and Mildew
    Although cane furniture is less susceptible to moisture than its rattan counterpart, regular exposure to damp can damage the furniture. Over time, moisture softens the material which can affect its structural integrity as well as cause mould and mildew to appear.
  4. Store in Dry Place
    Storing your furniture in a dry place can prevent mould and mildew.
    Consider using protective covers to limit damage. You should also avoid basements, crawl spaces, up next to a wall, or porches where furniture may not get adequate air circulation.
  5. Avoid Heavy Loads
    Although cane furniture is durable, we would recommend not placing anything heavy on top of the furniture to prevent sagging or breakage. It is also important not to kneel or stand on top of a cane seat as this can mean the seat will need to be rewoven prematurely.
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Featured: Madrid Cane Armchair

Looking to update your cane chairs?

Cleaning Cane Furniture

To ensure longevity, keep cane furniture clean and free of dust, dirt, and grime. Using a mild detergent in warm water, with a soft cloth or a soft bristle brush can help to remove any build up, but be sure to rinse thoroughly allowing it to dry off before its next use.

Here’s some more tips and tricks for keeping your rattan furniture clean:

  1. Avoid harsh chemicals
    Using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools can damage the cane. Using gentle clean tools and cloths as well as mild cleaning products is best for your cane furniture. Consider purchasing a specific wood soap that is formulated to work best with this style of furniture.
  2. Dry thoroughly
    To prevent mould and mildew forming, be sure to properly dry out your furniture. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove any excess moisture and allow it to fully air dry before using it again. We would advise not sitting in the chair for at least 48 hours after cleaning as the cane can stretch out of shape when still wet.
  3. Eliminate mould and mildew
    If you notice mould or mildew growing on your cane furniture, use a strong solution of bleach or hydrogen peroxide in warm soapy water to clean. Alternatively, if there are only a few spots of mould, use some hydrogen peroxide on a cotton bud and gently wipe away.

Restoring Cane Furniture

Due to its delicate nature, over time cane furniture can show signs of wear and tear. If cleaning your cane furniture set hasn’t restored it to its former glory, another method for how to treat cane furniture is applying a furniture oil.

Let’s take a look at some issues with cane furniture that can occur over time, and how to solve them:

What to do if your cane seat chair or cane furniture panels are sagging?

Cane has natural elastic properties but eventually, the caned seat will begin to sag with heavy or prolonged use. It is important to tighten the cane or it will begin to wear and break along the inside edge of the seat frame, both on the sides and front and back edges.

Cane seats that are not too badly stretched or that are free of broken strands, can be revived with the following method:

  1. Turn the chair upside-down and apply a warm, wet cloth to the underside of the cane seat.
  2. Let the cloth and cane dry naturally overnight.
  3. Remove the cloth and turn the chair upright. Don’t sit on it for at least 48 hours. This treatment will dry and shrink the cane again, tightening it up in the process, taking the pressure off the inside wooden edges.

An alternative solution would be to use a spray water bottle and spritz the seat thoroughly with warm water, then let the seat dry overnight and as it dries the cane will shrink and pull tightly once again. Allow 48 hours for the cane to fully dry before using again.

This tightening process is most effective when used regularly within the first five years of recaning and won't work at all if there are several broken strands. Using this preventative method three or four times a year should be sufficient to help prolong the life of your cane seat chair for many years.

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How to Repair Loose Strands

Loose strands can occur due to the natural material and delicate make up of cane furniture. You can try repairing cane furniture using the following method:

Fixing Cane Chairs

  • Ensure the area is clean using soap and warm water.
  • Tighten loose strands using a flat head screwdriver.
  • Glue the loose strands using super glue and then slot back into the weaving.
  • Re-tighten the cane or rattan by pulling it taut then wrap it around the furniture.

Looking to update your cane chairs?
Check out our latest collection.

Featured: (1) Madrid Cane Armchair  ; (2) Madrid Cane Dining Chair ; (3) Berlin Cane Bentwood Armchair (4) Wallace Cane Seat Dining Chair ; (5) Lucien Cane Back Dining Chair
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How to prolong the life of your caned seat dining chair?

The use of a chair pad or cushion is encouraged. This especially pertains to large cane chairs with a seat diameter of greater than 14 inches. Cushion will distribute the weight evenly and take the pressure off the individual strands of cane, thus making them last longer. Distribute the weight evenly on the seat. A cane seat is intended to take evenly distributed weight of the person sitting on the seat, not concentrated weight, like a knee or foot.

Featured: Robin Cane Bentwood Rocking Chair

Can I place my cane chair outside?

While cane furniture can be used outdoors, it's crucial to protect it from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and rain. Using it in covered patios or porches and bringing it indoors during inclement weather will prolong its life.

How often should I clean my cane chair?

Regular cleaning is essential. Gently dust the cane once a week and occasionally wipe it with a damp cloth to prevent dirt build-up. Ensure the chair dries thoroughly after cleaning.

Is it normal for a cane to discolour over time?

Yes, with age, cane can naturally darken due to environmental factors and usage. To minimise discoloration, avoid placing it in direct sunlight and clean it regularly.

What should I do if the cane begins to crack or break?

Minor cracks can sometimes be repaired, but if the damage is significant, it might be best to seek professional re-caning services or consider replacing the seat.

Can I paint or varnish my cane chair?

Yes, but be cautious. Whilst paint might seem like a good way of rejuvenating cane furniture, it can seal the cane's pores, making it less breathable. If you decide to paint or varnish, ensure you use products specifically meant for cane or wicker furniture.

How to prolong the life of your caned seat dining chair?

The use of a chair pad or cushion is encouraged. This especially pertains to large cane chairs with a seat diameter of greater than 14 inches. Cushion will distribute the weight evenly and take the pressure off the individual strands of cane, thus making them last longer.

Distribute the weight evenly on the seat. A cane seat is intended to take evenly distributed weight of the person sitting on the seat, not concentrated weight, like a knee or foot. So NEVER kneel on a cane seat or use it as a ladder or step stool. Doing so will cause the cane strands to break and the seat will need to be rewoven prematurely.

If you’re looking to invest in a lovely piece of caned furniture – or maybe an entire collection for your house this season, look no further. We are sure these pieces will become classics coveted 50 years from now.

The pieces’ caned surface allows light and air to flow through the furniture while casting fine patterned shade across the furnished space.

Featured: Be My Guest Cane Sideboard 130cm by Warm Nordic

Cane furniture encapsulates a perfect blend of timeless elegance and current design trends. Cane rattan is so versatile – it can be used for making furniture, mirrors, chairs, bed headboards and lampshades to name but a few. It can look stunning when used together in various shapes and forms.

Its resurgence in popularity brings with it the need to understand its care and preservation. Despite its delicate nature, with the right knowledge, you can ensure its longevity and maintain its charm for many years to come. Understanding the way to clean it as well as how to store it is integral to ensure the longevity of this beautiful furniture style.

For the latest styles and a wide selection of cane furniture, check out PEPPER SQ today!

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