Table of contents:
- Living sustainably with rattan furniture
- What is rattan?
- How do you recognize good quality in rattan?
- Natural material versus plastic
- The right care for rattan
- Wellness for the wicker furniture
- Rattan furniture lasts a long time
Video: Rattan: advantages, disadvantages and care
Rattan furniture is the trendy sibling of wooden furniture: delicate yet robust, elegant but not pompous. For a long time now there has been more furniture made from natural materials than just the classic, semicircular curved shelf: from beds to cupboards to chic lounge furniture. But how to choose the right piece? And keep it in good shape?
Living sustainably with rattan furniture
For a long time, rattan furniture was literally dusty in Europe, often found predominantly among fans of Asia. However, more and more people are recognizing the advantages of the comparatively fast-growing raw material and rely on rattan for sofas, tables, chests of drawers or even decorative items. It is lighter than wood and therefore easier to move or store - which also makes it interesting as a material for conservatory, balcony and terrace furniture. Natural, just waxed, rattan furniture gives the room a cozy, but not overloaded atmosphere. They captivate - especially in comparison to the traditional German oak cupboard - by their reserved presence, they allow air to breathe in the room. Rattan furniture that has already been painted or even painted sets individual accents in the room. White, red, gray, dark brown - just as you want.
What is rattan?
Rattan is a prickly, slender palm tree that grows mainly in Southeast Asia. There are around 600 different types of plants, but only around 30 types are used to manufacture furniture. The rattan palm can be more than 100 meters high and has a diameter of five to 80 millimeters. If you saw up the rattan tube, the inner honeycomb structure becomes visible. This gives the natural material its incredible elasticity, but at the same time makes it quite porous. Rattan can be bent well over an open flame or after it has been steamed.
How do you recognize good quality in rattan?
Most rattan furniture is made by hand. The better the initial quality of the raw material and the more complex the braiding structure of the piece of furniture, the more expensive the end product. Good rattan furniture therefore costs more than glued chipboard products from the department store. Make sure that your rattan furniture has been connected with wooden dowels and wooden cones. This is an important quality feature. You should rather stay away from pieces of furniture with iron nails. These can rust quickly, making your new armchair not only unsightly, but also dangerously porous.
With its clear shapes, the rattan couch brings lightness into the room.
Photo: living4media / Matteo Manduzio
Natural material versus plastic
You can buy real rattan furniture made of the natural material rattan or rattan, and so-called poly rattan, i.e. an artificial variant made of polyethylene. If you choose the plastic version, you should also choose the more expensive version: Vilo and Hularo plastics, which are free of pollutants and recyclable, cost more than the plastic parts pressed together from fiber residues, which are often full of pollutants. In this case, quality is guaranteed by products from Indonesia. Poly rattan is mainly used for patio and balcony furniture, because quite a few people still shy away from the idea of using natural material furniture outdoors - mostly because of the care. But the effort is limited.
The right care for rattan
Rattan is an easy-care material. The only challenge with the maintenance of the rattan furniture is the right amount of water: too much the natural material softens and it decomposes. Too little, and it dries out, starts to creak and tears open. It is therefore important to always clean with damp, not too wet, cloths.
Rattan furniture, both made of natural rattan and synthetic rattan, should be vacuumed regularly to remove dust, crumbs and lint from the grooves. If you use the furniture on the terrace or balcony, you should do this more often, especially in spring, because pollen and flowers easily settle in the wattle. The sofa brush attachment of the vacuum cleaner is best suited for cleaning. Alternatively, you can tackle the dirt with a soft, dry cloth and a toothbrush or brush. Robust poly rattan furniture can also be cleaned with compressed air.
After that, it is advisable to clean the furniture with a mix of warm water and mild soap with a lint-free cloth. Wipe with a cloth dampened with water to remove any soap residue. Remember: waterlogging is not good for rattan. Let the rattan furniture dry well. But: do not blow dry, because warm air helps the natural material to dry out and crack.
In contrast to the natural variant, nothing can soften in the case of waterlogging in the synthetic variant, but the plastic could also become discolored if it is wet for a long time, or unsightly water marks could form on the surface.
The sledge-shaped rattan bed fits perfectly into the rustic bedroom.
Photo: living4media / Bressan e Trentani
Wellness for the wicker furniture
As soon as the real rattan furniture has dried, it is time to take care of it: Every eight to twelve weeks, whether lacquered or left in its natural state, they should get their wellness treatment - otherwise they risk becoming cracked, discolored and creaking. There are special products in specialist shops and on the Internet to protect rattan and poly rattan furniture: spray wax, for example based on beeswax, rattan care oils and care butter or various varnishes and sprays to protect the polyethylene.
A proven home remedy for the care of real rattan furniture is linseed oil. Simply put a little of it on a piece of cloth and carefully rub the lacquered furniture with it. Then polish with a soft cloth. With natural, not varnished rattan furniture, you can even combine the cleaning and care process: Mix a liter of warm water with a tablespoon of turpentine and add half a glass of linseed oil. Clean the rattan furniture with a soft cloth and then rub with cold, clear water.
Make sure that the wicker furniture in the apartment is not too close to the heating - if it cannot be avoided, spray it with water every two months as soon as the heating is on. The dose makes the poison: do not spray too much, otherwise you will damage the rattan furniture.
Rattan furniture also cuts a fine figure outdoors. If they are not in use, they should be protected against wind and weather with a throw.
Photo: living4media / Werner Krauss
Rattan furniture lasts a long time
If they are taken care of regularly, rattan furniture is practically “indestructible”. That makes them, in addition to solid wood furniture, the perfect basis for a sustainable lifestyle. The only disadvantage: the material does not grow in Europe and must always be imported.
Balcony or patio furniture is protected from too much sun, rain and snow when not in use with a throw or cover. The undersides can remain open and do not have to be packed. The ends of the chair and table legs, however, already. Otherwise they are slowly but steadily softened and decomposed by the rain that remains on the tiles or the snow left behind. It is best to store the wicker furniture on a pallet or platform under the roof, in the garden shed or in the basement. Then you can sit comfortably on your rattan furniture for many years to come.