How to Remove Mold from Wicker Baskets: A Complete Guide

If you are new here, welcome! I am a basket weaver, natural dyer, and fiber artist. I share tutorials and tips on these topics on this blog. Today, I want to discuss removing mold from wicker baskets or any basket with mildew or mold issues. Let’s dive into the process!

What Causes Mold on Wicker Baskets?

This basket, which I’ll show you up close, has a fine layer of mold on it. It was hanging on my mom’s front door with a flower arrangement, and the weather where we live is very humid and cold. So, it ended up mildewing because I didn’t stain or seal this basket.

How to Prevent Mold on Wicker Baskets?

Suppose you’ve followed any of my basket weaving tutorials. In that case, you’ll know that I usually suggest finishing off your basket by allowing it to dry for up to 24 hours, often a bit longer, so all the layers can completely dry. Then, apply a coat of sealer or basket stain to protect it from grease, dirt, weather, and humidity, which also helps prevent mold and mildew.

What Sealers Should I Use?

One of my favorite ways to protect baskets is using a weaver stain. I got this from basketmakercatalog.com. This Danish oil finish is clear and covers the natural color of the reed. If you want a darker color, dye the basket first and seal it with this to protect it from grease, mildew, and mold.

How to Clean Moldy Wicker Baskets?

What Supplies Do I Need?

You’ll need a scrub brush, soap, and water to clean your baskets if they get moldy. It’s a simple process of scrubbing the mold away, allowing it to dry, and then applying a coat of sealer once it’s scorched. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide:

  1. Scrub the Basket: Use a scrub brush with soap and water to remove the mold.
  2. Dry the Basket: Allow it to dry completely, which may take a day for a small basket or longer for larger ones.
  3. Apply Sealer: After the basket is completely dry, apply a coat of sealer.

Safety Tips for Cleaning Moldy Wicker Baskets

  • Wear a face mask and rubber dishwashing gloves to avoid breathing in mold spores or getting them on your skin. Mold spores can become airborne as you clean, and you don’t want them in your lungs or skin.

How to Apply Sealer to Your Wicker Basket?

Why Should You Work in a Well-Ventilated Area?

When applying a sealer, it is important to work in a well-ventilated area. Place a piece of cardboard or paper under your basket and the basket on top.

How to Apply the Sealer?

  1. Shake the Can: Shake your can of sealer, like Weaver Stain (link in the description below).
  2. Spray the Basket: Hold the can about six inches away from the basket and spray the surface in short bursts. Cover the outside, edges, rim, seagrass, and handle if there is one.
  3. Drying Time: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time. Usually, you’ll need at least two coats of sealer, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

How Many Coats Are Needed?

For this basket, I applied two coats. I did the first coat, allowed it to dry for 15 minutes, and then used the second coat. This process ensures the sealer gets into all the nooks and crannies.

How Does Sealer Affect Wicker Basket Color?

The basket’s color might slightly change, like when the reed is wet. This clear, natural finish gives it a somewhat yellowish tone rather than its initial tan. You can use various wood stains and sealers, but basket-specific stains like Weaver Stain provide a higher-quality finish without crunching the reed.

How to Maintain and Refresh Wicker Baskets?

Baskets used in the garden or for other purposes will inevitably get dirty. You can clean them with soap and water and periodically apply a new coat of sealer to refresh and protect them. Baskets improve with age, gaining more character and shifting to a deeper brown color.