Lately, vintage decorations have been the craze and baskets are an easy thing to decorate with and easy to find. But when you buy an old basket, you are purchasing other things that have been in contact with that basket like smoke and pet hair, to name a few. And your wicker basket will collect dust. Learning how to clean a wicker basket will extend its life and beauty.
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How to Clean Wicker Baskets
To begin here is a list of supplies you will need to clean your basket.
- Clean paintbrush for dusting and cleaning (I picked up one at the Dollar Tree)
- Tub or sink
- Gentle dishwashing liquid
- An old toothbrush or natural bristle brush (if needed to clean deep down between cracks)
- Lint-free dishtowel
- Pitcher of water or running tap water
Shop Wicker Basket Cleaning Supplies:
Can I Clean an Antique Basket?
This farm basket is an old basket I found at an antique store. It was used to pick fruit and vegetables on a local farm in my hometown. I love how vintage decorations have a story or history so when I found this basket in an antique store in my hometown I knew I wanted to handle it with care.
How to Clean an Antique Basket
Like I said before, this is an old picking basket which means it probably has lots of dirt and grime in between the layers. I want to bring it back as close to its original beauty without taking chances and damaging the wood.
Next, I used a lint-free old dishtowel or soft cloth that is damp with water and started wiping it from the top down. Each time I noticed my towel looking dirty I cleaned it out and brushed the damp cloth over the wood again. Be sure not to use too much moisture. Continue until you've wiped down the entire piece.
Once I was finished, I left the basket set outside in the sun until it was completely dry.
How to Clean a Thrift Store Basket
Now let's talk about baskets that you care more about getting good and clean and less about saving them.
This small hanging basket I picked up at a thrift store. I bought it to hang in my garage over my woodworking table. It holds all my protective goggles and between spider webs and sawdust, it is one dirty wicker basket with a musty smell.
So, let's give this basket a deep cleaning because I want to hang it over my mantel. But before we dive in, I want to share that this method is for baskets that you don't have anything to lose in case it gets damaged. Meaning do not try this on a basket you really love and want to keep.
First, fill a tub or kitchen sink with gentle dishwashing liquid and clean water. I used Dawn dishwashing liquid.
If you want to bleach the color of the basket you can add bleach now. But if you simply wash it with detergent there is a good chance it will lighten a little naturally.
Add a 1/8 cup of bleach if you want to, otherwise, let's move forward with cleaning without bleach.
If you have really bad stains or grease of any kind on the wicker, use an old toothbrush or brush to clean between. For best results, it's a good idea to take special care and be very gentle because when the wicker gets wet it can be bent or moved easily.
Once you feel like the wicker is clean, rinse it off gently with clear water.
Final Steps for Cleaning your Wicker Baskets
Place it in the sun to air dry.
Now let's leave them in the sun for a couple of hours. Keep a watch on the weather outside just in case it decides to rain on you.
A couple of hours have passed so let's look at the two baskets.
Wow! Do you see what I see? After a thorough cleaning, the small basket got a lot brighter and lighter.
The coloring got lighter from what it looked like in the beginning. I can imagine if I used bleach it would have lightened even more.
Now you might be wondering, can I clean wicker on chairs and outdoor furniture using this method? The answer is yes, but I would consider leaving out the bleach unless you want to bleach the wicker and take your chances damaging it.
You might also be wondering why I buy wicker baskets in thrift and antique stores. Well, different styles of baskets give so much character to any decorations. Wicker items are so versatile. The different types of wicker, colors, and textures add a lot of interest to your home decor.
First, you can hang them on the front of a mantel as I did in the photo above. And you can hang them on walls like here in my tutorial on how to hang baskets on a wall.
Here is another idea where I placed the basket we washed today above our mantel. Hanging a basket over and on a mantel is a fun and creative idea. If you need guidance on how to decorate a mantel, check out this tutorial on decorating a spring mantel.
I share lots of other finds from thrift stores in my decorating from thrift stores post.
Even More Ways to use your Baskets
Here is another idea where I took a small basket and turned it into a pendant light. This DIY basket pendant light project is super easy and you can use all kinds of different baskets from old to new.
Doesn't that looks so pretty!!
Here is an example where we used baskets from the dollar store to decorate and use for storage in my niece's rainbow toddler girl bedroom. Here's a post with more ideas on how to decorate with wicker baskets.
You don't have to spend a lot on baskets. You can find them at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and even Etsy is a popular choice. Also, for new baskets, shop in regular stores and dollar stores. We found the ones in my niece's bedroom at the Dollar General. If you take good care of your wicker baskets they will last a long time. If you want to change up the look of your basket, check out my post about how to paint wicker baskets.
Good luck and I cannot wait to hear all about it!
- First, remove the heavier dust carefully with a clean Dollar Tree paintbrush or a soft brush would work, especially between the wicker weave and around the base of the basket.
- Next, use a lint-free old dishtowel or soft cloth that is damp with water and started wiping it from the top down.
- Each time your towel looks dirty, clean it out and brush the damp cloth over the wood again.
- Continue until you've wiped down the entire piece.
- Leave the basket set outside in the sun until it was completely dry.
- Let's talk about baskets that you care more about getting good and clean and less about saving them.
- First, fill a tub or kitchen sink with gentle dishwashing liquid and clean water.
- If you want to bleach the color of the basket you can add 1/8 cup bleach now. But if you simply wash it with detergent there is a good chance it will lighten a little naturally.
- Now dust off your entire basket with a clean Dollar Tree paintbrush.
- Next, dip the basket down into the bath of soapy water. Move it up and down a few times to let the water flow between the wicker fibers.
- If you have really bad stains or grease of any kind on the wicker, use an old toothbrush or brush to clean between.
- Once you feel like the wicker is clean, rinse it off gently with clear water.
- Place it in the sun to air dry for a couple of hours.
The basket coloring may get lighter from what it looked like in the beginning.