The Right Way to Sand Rattan Furniture

Rattan furniture is very popular due not only to its natural beauty but to the versatility and durability of the material. This indoor and outdoor material can be refurbished when it gets worn over time.

In this article, we’ll discuss if you can sand rattan furniture, how to care for it, and its advantages.

You can sand rattan furniture that has previously been covered with paint, varnish, or lacquer by using a liquid sanding preparation or using sandpaper very softly on the furniture. 

Rattan chair on the edge of the woods with table and snacks.

Rattan furniture is a sustainable material but does need some care and maintenance over time. Let’s explore how to sand rattan furniture and how to keep it looking its best.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Sanding Your Rattan Furniture

Over time, rattan furniture can become faded or dulled by sunlight and wear. Let’s go through the steps of how to sand rattan furniture in order to refurbish it. 

1. Remove Dust And Dirt

Remove any cushions or blankets so you’re left with the rattan furniture only. You can then use a duster, microfiber cloth, or vacuum cleaner to get rid of any loose dust and dirt on the piece.

2. Clean The Piece

Use a bucket of soapy, warm water and a cloth to wipe the furniture. Ensure the cloth is damp and not dripping with water.

Start at the top and make your way down to the bottom. You can use a toothbrush to get in between the weaving if you need to.

3. Let The Piece Dry

Place the freshly cleaned furniture in a covered area and leave it to air dry for at least 48 hours.

4. Sand Your Rattan Furniture

There are two options you can use for sanding rattan furniture.

You can use a liquid sanding agent or 180 – 220 grit sandpaper to sand the piece.

If you’re using the liquid sanding agent, follow the manufacturer’s specifications. If you’re using sandpaper, sand gently from the top down. 

Sanding will remove any grease or oil, and condition the surface to improve the bonding of the new finish. Be sure to wipe the dust off the rattan furniture before moving on to the next step.

5. Apply Your Paint, Lacquer, Or Stain

Decide on what type of finish you will use for your rattan piece. Be sure to use products specifically formulated for exterior use if you’ll be using your furniture outdoors.

If using paint or lacquer:

  • Primer is optional but can be worth using if your paint color is light.
  • Spray paint or a paint sprayer will make much quicker work of painting your rattan piece but a paintbrush can be used if you’d prefer.

If using stain:

  • Apply stain with a soft lint-free cloth or rag.

You’ll want to apply 2 – 3 coats, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Once you’re happy with the coverage, allow to dry and add a clear topcoat of shellac or urethane to seal.

Now your rattan furniture is ready to use!

What To Sand With? Liquid Sanding Agent VS Sandpaper 

Both a liquid sanding agent and sandpaper can be used when sanding rattan furniture, but which one is better?

Using a Liquid Sanding Agent On Rattan Furniture

Also called liquid sandpaper or deglosser, it’s applied with a rag to sand down surfaces. This liquid removes finishes, such as layers of gloss or paint, and prepares the surface to bond with a new coat of paint or varnish.

It takes less time to do the job compared to using sandpaper and is great for both detail work and large pieces. Something to consider is how comfortable you are using chemicals as this is a potent product.

Using Sandpaper On Rattan Furniture

Sandpaper is a commonly used tool when sanding furniture, and is safe to use on rattan. It does take longer to sand using sandpaper when compared to the liquid sanding agent, but sandpaper is chemical-free.

Electric sanders are also an option compared to sanding by hand. However, they’re not the best for getting into intricate details and areas. 

Overall, both the liquid sanding agent and sandpaper will do a great job of sanding rattan furniture. It ultimately comes down to what you’re sanding, how much time you have to spend, whether you prefer chemical-free tools, and how big or detailed the furniture piece is. 

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Rattan Furniture?

As with any furniture material, rattan has pros and cons. Let’s look at the key advantages and disadvantages of having rattan furniture over other types of furniture materials.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Rattan Furniture

Versatile and hardyUncomfortable without cushions
Eco-friendlyLoosens over time
Resilient outsideRequires care

By looking at this table of advantages and disadvantages of rattan furniture you can see how it can be a great long-lasting option for your home as long as you treat it with care and use pillows or blankets to increase its comfort. 

Be sure to protect your cushions if your furniture is outdoors!

5 Tips For Caring For Your Rattan Furniture 

Looking after your rattan furniture throughout the year is the key to prolonging its life. On average, rattan furniture will last approximately twenty years if maintained well. 

  1. Dust and clean your rattan furniture regularly
    It’s important to dust and clean your rattan furniture on a regular basis, just like you would with any other furniture. This goes for both indoor and outdoor pieces.
  1. Avoid direct sunlight
    You can keep your rattan furniture outside, but it is best to keep it covered and out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause the furniture’s color to fade and wear down the natural fibers.
  1. Use covers
    This is especially important for outdoor furniture so you can keep it dry and covered from any other threats when not in use. 
  1. Clean up spills ASAP
    Use a damp cloth to remove any spills as soon as possible to avoid staining the furniture.
  1. Move with care
    If you’re changing the location of your rattan furniture, ensure you don’t drag it along the ground. The feet of rattan furniture can be steel, wood, plastic, or rattan and can be damaged during moving if not lifted with care. Carry your furniture using the frames, not the woven panels. 

What Are The Three Most Popular Types Of Rattan Used For Furniture?

Here are the three most popular and common types of rattan used to make furniture. Let’s see what the differences are and how they are used.

  1. Cane Rattan 
    Cane rattan is flexible and durable, almost like rope, therefore it’s used for weaving chairs, backs, and seats. It doesn’t take stain well, which is why if you have furniture that is made from cane rattan, it will most likely be left in its natural state.
  1. Reed Rattan
    Due to its fibrous qualities, reed rattan is mainly used for creating swirls, curls, and other decorative elements on furniture.
  1. Synthetic Rattan
    This is a synthetic material that is made to look like rattan and is used for outdoor furniture as it can withstand moisture and sunlight better than natural rattan.

Here are my 7 top picks for outdoor rattan chairs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rattan Furniture Heavy Or Light?

Rattan furniture is lightweight, so it’s easy to move around when you’re setting up your space, both indoors and outdoors. Even though rattan is lightweight, that doesn’t take away its strength and durability.

What Is The Difference Between Rattan And Wicker?

Wicker is a style of weaving and can be made with a variety of materials, whereas rattan is a material. Therefore, wicker can be made from natural or synthetic rattan.

What Types Of Furniture Are Made Out Of Rattan?

There are so many pieces of furniture that are made out of rattan, both natural and synthetic. Some furniture includes tables, chairs, ottomans, seats and loungers, wall hangings, and other home decorative art pieces. 

Where Is Rattan Found?

Rattan is commonly found in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Indonesia is where most rattan is situated. However, you can buy rattan furniture all over the world.

Final Words

Rattan furniture can be sanded using sandpaper or a liquid sanding agent. It is important to sand your rattan furniture to get the desired finish you want. Sanding and applying a fresh coat is a great thing to do to give your rattan furniture some new life!

I hope you found this guide helpful — I put a lot of thought and effort into the articles I create for you and I love hearing your feedback!

I’m so excited to share that I’m one of Google’s paid early testers for their Thank with Google pilot program! Thank with Google is an experimental feature that allows you to purchase a virtual sticker to show your appreciation for content you find helpful on my website. As a loyal supporter, my hope is that this will help you feel more connected and engaged to have the ability to directly share when my work has been helpful or inspiring to you.

There are a variety of stickers to choose from and every time you send a paid sticker, you can add a personal message, which, honestly? Makes my day! I love hearing from you all.

In addition, these virtual stickers translate into direct revenue to support the work that goes into the content I create for you.

You can find the Thank with Google feature in my sidebar and at the top of each post. If you try it out, let me know what you think! Thanks as always for your support.