How To Clean Your Wicker Baskets

how to clean wicker baskets I LOVE baskets! I have a LOT of them around my house. All OVER my house. In the kitchen, in the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the living areas. I just love the natural and rustic feel they add to a space.

And if you know where to look….you can get them for next to  nothing! My number one resource for cute baskets to decorate with is our local thrift store. I would guess that about 90 percent of the baskets in my home came from there. The bonus of buying them cheap from the thrift store is that you don’t feel too bad when you ruin one or just feel the need for a change and want to get rid of one…or more.

OK…I could go on and on…but think I have established that I LOVE my baskets. But what I DON’T love is how DIRTY they get! Especially in the kitchen and the bathroom where grease and hairspray and other sticky, icky stuff coats them and attracts dust and dirt like a magnet! And it’s not like you can “dust” them either!

So there they sit….gathering even MORE dirt and dust until desperation sets in.

Well, at least that’s what happened to me.  I couldn’t stand the grimy baskets anymore and short of throwing them out….decided to experiment with giving them a “bath” instead. I mean what did I have to lose? Some baskets that cost me a few dollars each…at the most?  I could live with that if my experiment went terribly wrong.

Since most wicker baskets (at least the ones I have) are made of wood products (ie. cane, rattan, reed, bamboo) I figured a little water couldn’t hurt them. After all, most bamboo is grown in tropical climates. So a little dip in the pool (sink) seemed perfectly reasonable to me.


how to clean wicker baskets

On this particular day I needed to clean this basket that has been a fixture in our kitchen for years. It’s the basket shelf that sits next to our kitchen sink and holds all the diabetes supplies for No. 2 son. We are so used to it being there that I don’t know if we would know how to function without it! But it had been sadly ignored for quite awhile and needed a very well-deserved bath.


how to clean wicker baskets

I filled the kitchen sink with warm, soapy water (use just a few drops of your favorite dishwashing liquid) and gave it a dip.


how to clean wicker baskets

Actually SEVERAL dips. I know it looks like it didn’t fit….but after several tips and turns….and the use of the sprayer, I managed to get it all washed. Just don’t let it sit in the water for very long. A quick dip will do ya!


how to clean wicker baskets

And here is the dirty “bathwater” to prove it!  YUCK!!


how to clean wicker baskets

After letting it drip dry for a few seconds…I immediately took it outside for a little sun bathing time. On this hot, sunny day it hardly took any time at all and the wicker shelf was completely dry and ready to be put back into service in the kitchen.


how to clean wicker baskets

But this time it was clean, fresh and renewed. Much the same way I felt after successfully giving my trusty old wicker shelf a new lease on life!

how to clean wicker baskets


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  1. says

    I too put it in the shower and spray it down with my household cleaner (dawn and vinegar) then use the handheld sprayer to rinse it down. I put the handheld shower in for bathing my dogs and it has been the BEST thing I ever did for everything from spraying my plants to cleaning the tub–and even bathing the dogs! LOL

    Between washing, I use a big 6″ paint brush to dust it off. I use my big paint brush to brush off all kinds of materials like lamp shades, baskets and other pieces with little places that are hard to get to while dusting.

    • deniseinark says

      Just a big AMEN to the handheld shower. Once you start finding stuff to use it on, starting with rinsing the shower down, you’ll wonder how you ever got by. When I start cleaning at a new house, one of the first thing I start diplomatically campaigning for is a hand-held attachment for each shower or tub. Every client I managed to persuade thanked me later.

  2. Linda says

    @ Kathy-I have always used Murphy’s on my baskets. I clean them outside on a sunny day with a bucket of warm water & Murphy’s, scrub with a soft brush, rinse with the hose & dry in the sun.

  3. Sherri McNeeley says

    Another tip: wet baskets may need to be weighted even with canned goods to maintain their shape while drying. I was a basket weaver once upon a time.

  4. Kathy @ Some of These Things says

    I do exactly the same thing with the sink and the dish soap, but as I’m thinking about it, I wonder how Murphy’s Oil Soap would work…

    • Annette says

      I happened to have Murphy’s Oil Soap on hand, so I used it since it seemed, to me, to be a good (and possibly better) choice for cleaning wood. It worked just find. That said, I’d go ahead and use the regular dish soap if that happened to be all I had on hand. It’s a minor detail and a matter of preference probably.

  5. Misty says

    My mother and I have been washing our wicker this way for years! Works great! Most times I spray mine down with 409 which is an excellent grease cutter, then dip, dry and done! This also works good for artificial plants that are potted in a wicker basket. Spray the whole thing, plant and all with 409, then I stick it in the shower a few minutes and outside to dry. Makes the leaves shiny and the wicker basket all neat and clean.

  6. Lisa says

    I clean my baskets in the shower, then spray them with Pam. I have an obsession with wicker picnic baskets and have brought my garage sale finds back to life this way.

  7. JAyers says

    In the winter I put my house plants in the tub and give them a tepid shower to get the dust off the leaves. Works great and I think they like it! :)

  8. Amanda J. says

    I love this! I do this all of the time, especially rubbish bins and clothes hampers. I hate when they’re dirty. It’s an OCD issue for me I guess. I put them in the shower and turn the water as hot as it will go and use the shower head to scrub em down. Usually the water is hot enough that it evaporates right away! If not, we just lay em out on the table till they dry.

  9. wiebke says

    Hi Jill
    very good explanation. I too heard after that water dipping you should get over it with an oil soaket peace of towel or something like that to protect it a little bit and give it a nice look.
    Greetings from Germany

  10. Lucy says

    You did exactly right. In fact, it’s recommended that you soak your baskets every now and then to keep them pliable and not brittle. Baskets are made by soaking the reed or wood in water to make it pliable enough to weave. Once it’s dry, it will keep it’s form. I stick mine in the walk-in shower now and then and use the hand-held shower head to spray them down and give them a good soak. If a basket get out of shape, getting it wet and letting it soak for a while will make it easily formable again. Some of that colored water that you think looks dirty may actually be from the reed that was used. Notice I said SOME. ;-)