How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets

I use wicker baskets to hold just about everything in my home. However, all of my baskets are purchased secondhand which means they’re coming to me after years of use. But it really isn’t a complicated process to clean your wicker baskets if you follow these easy cleaning methods!

Stack of three thrifted wicker baskets needing to be cleaned.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy and privacy policy.

Nothing Prettier than a Vintage Basket

I absolutely love wicker baskets and always pick them up when I find a good deal in a thrift store. In fact, they’re on my list of 40 Home Decor Items to Always Buy from Thrift Stores. And they easily rank #1 in 15 Functional Decor Ideas For Your Home.

So why are they such a popular choice? Well, the natural materials of wicker baskets are a beautiful way to add texture, warmth, and craftsmanship to your home decor. The best part is they’re also a natural choice for hiding the ugly.

However, no one is voluntarily going to decorate with a dirty wicker basket.

And even if you purchase clean baskets it’s easy to inadvertently use less than clean hands when handling them. And grease of any kind is a big dirt attractor to the natural wicker fibers.

I’m ashamed to say I’m not in a habit of cleaning wicker baskets. In fact, I am willing to admit I avoid it and typically avoid owning items that require special care. And even though they’re a pretty popular home decor item, there’s a good chance you don’t clean your wicker baskets either.

How to clean two picnic baskets and a wicker trash basket with a few steps. Secondhand wicker baskets definitely deserve a regular cleaning.
How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – “Wicker is made of natural fibers and dust over time will inevitably stick to those fibers. “

One of My Favorite Types of Home Decor

Naturally, I gravitate towards a certain type of wicker and I can be particular about a certain wicker weave, coloring, and even basket shape.

I use them in practically every room of my house, including my living room, dining room, and even my laundry room. In fact, one of the favorite wicker baskets I own is my wicker laundry basket.

Wicker is made of natural fibers and dust over time will inevitably stick to those fibers. Which equals the need for a routine cleaning and maybe occasionally a deep cleaning of dust particles and surface dirt.

So, let’s you and me clean our baskets with a few simple steps.

Watch this on Youtube:

What Exactly is Wicker?

Wicker is the oldest furniture-making weaving process known to history. First documented in ancient Egypt, it dates as far back as 5,000 years ago.

In today’s world, it is made from pretty much any pliable or easily woven organic material. The word wicker or “wisker” is thought to be of Scandinavian origin: vika, “to fold” and vikker means willow. And is traditionally made of materials such as willow, rattan, reed, and bamboo.

And though it is most often associated with baskets and outdoor furniture, wicker actually refers to the weaving pattern itself.

How to clean small longaberger basket on top of two vintage picnic baskets. The top basket was damaged and so I painted it white and distressed it.
How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – “The wicker weave is not only attractive but extremely versatile and light yet sturdy.”

Why Should You Clean Your Wicker Baskets?

Natural wicker and even synthetic wicker are a favorite for many great reasons. The wicker weave is not only attractive but extremely versatile and light yet sturdy. And can be used indoors and outdoors.

However, because they’re so widely used that means many opportunities to gather all kinds of germs, dirt, mold, and dust which are mainly comprised of human skin cells. Which is disgusting.

What Can You Use Wicker Baskets For?

Some great uses include:

  • Laundry Baskets and other baskets of varying shapes and sizes
  • Outdoor Wicker Furniture outdoor furniture like tables, chairs, and ottomans
  • Indoor Wicker Furniture of similar types
  • Plant Pot Covers great beautiful pot covers for indoor plants.
  • Garden Hose Covers are almost like outdoor furniture but cover up the ugly of hoses.

3 Signs It Might Be a Good Idea to Clean Wicker Baskets

There are a few easy ways to tell it might be time to get out your duster, cotton cloth, or vacuum.

  1. Musty Smell there’s always a chance of a basket having been kept in an area of high humidity and the natural fibers make wicker a prime target for mildew or mold.
  2. Visible Dust natural materials are great dust collectors. Just something that comes with the territory.
  3. Staining I use my baskets literally everywhere including my kitchen and laundry room. Occasionally things will get spilled in them and on them.
Thrifted wicker baskets stacked on top of each other, with a beautiful grey waffle weave hanging out of the middle.
How to Clean Wicker Baskets – “It’s not necessarily a complicated process, but if you have a love of vintage, or fragile antique baskets it’s never a bad thing to have a bit of a strategy before you begin. “

How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – Step by Step

It’s not necessarily a complicated process, but if you have a love of vintage, or fragile antique baskets it’s never a bad thing to have a bit of a strategy before you begin.

Tools to Clean Your Wicker Baskets

Step One – Eliminating the Surface Dirt

For this step, you’ll need a clean microfiber cloth, a small brush, the brush attachment of your vacuum, and your vacuum cleaner.

Vintage picnic baskets stacked on top of each other. The top picnic basket was repurposed after damage by being painted white and being distressed. It has a grey waffle weave throw hanging out of the inside of it.
How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – “The best way to start a basket cleaning is by starting simple.”

The First Step to a Good Cleaning

The best way to start a basket cleaning is by starting simple.

  1. First, empty any contents of the basket.
  2. Then using a small brush, like a make up brush, get into the wicker weave. And dust all the cracks all over the entire basket.
  3. For heavier dust use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum and make sure to thoroughly clean the base of the basket.

Step Two – Washing Baskets for Best Results

For this step, you’ll need clean water, mild soap, cleaning cloths, and a large bowl.

A word of caution before you start. Use your best judgment before using water on any natural fiber basket. And definitely avoid using any harsh chemicals.

However, this particular method is definitely the way to go if you are fighting mildew or mold.

Wicker baskets used as functional home decor, a stack of antique books sit on top next to a vintage oil lamp. A grey waffle weave throw hangs out of the top picnic basket.
How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – Most times baskets need a light cleaning.

How to Wash a Natural Wicker Basket

  • A couple of Drops of Dishwashing Liquid
  • 1 Cup of White Vinegar
  • 3 Cups of Warm Water
  • Damp Microfiber Cloth

On very rare occasions would I ever feel the need to completely immerse a basket in any large container of warm water. I would save that extreme cleaning for the worst offenders for sure. And only if you’re absolutely certain it wouldn’t fall apart afterward.

The best way to do this is to bring the basket to your kitchen sink, use a damp microfiber cloth, and some soapy suds, and gently scrub with as little water at a time as you can get away with.

Step Three – The Basket Drying Process

For this step, you’ll need a dry microfiber cloth and air!

The best way to dry a basket made of wicker material is by gently patting it with a dry microfiber cloth. When you’re done let it air dry.

I would say to sun dry it, but we all know how well the sun is at bleaching natural fibers. So, unless you’re ok with losing a patina don’t put your basket in direct sunlight.

How to clean picnic basket even repurposed ones that you may use for other things like a toy basket for a toddler.
How to Clean Your Wicker Baskets – “Toy Baskets I use picnic baskets to store my toddler’s toys. The bonus is they’re fun to get into with the little lids.

When Cleaning Doesn’t Work

Since natural wicker is made of a natural material there is a chance that it will degrade. And in the worst situations, it may have deteriorated past the point of cleaning.

How to Recycle and Repurpose Wicker Baskets

Ideas to Repurpose Old or Ugly Wicker Baskets

  • Organizational Tools in sheds, gardening, garages, etc.
  • Flower Pot Covers, unless it’s a beautiful patina on a terra cotta, most flower pots are ugly
  • Paint Over Damage I have on more than one occasion painted unsightly damaged baskets.
  • Toy Baskets I use picnic baskets to store my toddler’s toys. The bonus is they’re fun to get into with the little lids.
  • Unusual Uses Look for any other ways you use containers and replace them with a basket!

When It’s Time to Recycle

At the end of a good basket’s life, you may come to a time when you need to give it a good burial in your recycling. But before you do make sure you remove anything plastic, metal, or other non-recyclable materials.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope I’ve helped you figure out the best solution to clean your wicker baskets and keep them fresh for all your organizational needs.


Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→


      1. This is so helpful! I love baskets and have quiet a treasure trove of them at this point. I am so excited to know how to take care of them. Thank you!

  1. This is so helpful! I usually just notice dust in the wicker baskets, but I know they need a deeper cleaning occasionally. Also, love the ideas for repurposing them!

  2. I would have never though about cleaning wicker baskets – but now I feel more confident getting that slightly dirty-looking but otherwise pretty basket from the thrift store next time I am there!

  3. I have never thought about cleaning my wicker baskets, but now it seems so obvious! Thank you for sharing this great method of getting the baskets cleaned up!

  4. This is very helpful, thank you for sharing Julie! I love collecting wicker baskets and I use them pretty much everywhere in my house. Since most of them come from the thrift store, I feel I just needed this post lol

  5. I seriously just considered wicker stuff to be disposable ultimately but I’m also really frugal so I appreciate any challenge to maintain things

    1. There is a point definitely when they’re not useful any longer, that’s for sure! Like most things made with natural fibers. But ME TOO. I try to be a good steward of the things I own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *