Why Do Wicker Baskets Smell

Wicker baskets are popular for storage, decor, and even picnics. They add a natural, rustic charm to any space. However, over time, they can develop an unpleasant, musty smell.

This odor can be frustrating but don’t worry. Several effective methods exist to eliminate the smell and keep your wicker baskets fresh.

What is a Wicker Basket?

Imagine wicker baskets like woven mats made from natural materials like rattan, bamboo, or reeds. These fibers are like tiny straws that can trap dust, dirt, and moisture. This trapped moisture can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which release musty odors.

Why Does My Wicker Basket Smell?

There are a few reasons why your wicker basket might have an unpleasant odor:

  • Dust and Dirt: Like any other surface, wicker baskets can collect dust and dirt over time. This buildup can trap moisture and create a musty smell.
  • Dampness: If your basket gets wet or is stored in a humid place, it can encourage mold and mildew growth, leading to a musty odor.
  • Food or Spills: Storing food items or leaving spills in your basket can cause lingering odors and attract bacteria.
  • Pet Accidents: Pets might use your basket as a comfy spot, and their fur or accidents can cause unpleasant smells.
  • New Basket Smell: New wicker baskets might have a slight natural odor from the materials or dyes used.

Giving Your Basket a Fresh Start

The good news is that there are several effective methods for deodorizing your wicker basket and keeping it smelling fresh!

Step 1: Dust it Off!

Start by removing dust and dirt with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Pay attention to tight nooks and crannies where dust might gather. Imagine cleaning out your toy box – getting into all the hidden corners!

Step 2: A Gentle Wipe Down

You can wipe the basket with a damp cloth for a deeper clean. Ensure the fabric is moist but not soaking wet to avoid damaging the wicker. Imagine wiping down a counter after a light spill—you don’t want the surface dripping!

Step 3: Drying is Key!

After wiping down the basket, let it air dry thoroughly. Never put a damp basket in direct sunlight, which can warp the fibers. Think of your favorite pair of shoes—you wouldn’t leave them by the heater to dry, would you? It’s the same for your wicker basket!

Neutralizing Those Nasty Odors

For stubborn smells, you can try some natural deodorizers:

  • Baking Soda Power: Sprinkle baking soda on the basket and leave it overnight. Baking soda absorbs odors like a sponge absorbs spilled juice! Vacuum it off thoroughly the next day.

Freshness with Vinegar (Use with Care!)

  1. Mix it Up: Mix white vinegar and water in equal parts in a spray bottle.
  2. Light Mist: Lightly mist the basket and let it air dry. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can help remove musty odors. Be careful not to over-soak the basket! Think of it like spritzing your clothes with a fabric refresher – a light mist is all you need.

Keeping Your Basket Fresh and Fragrant

Once you’ve removed the source of the odor, you can keep your wicker basket smelling fresh with some simple tricks:

  • Essential Oil Magic: Place a few drops of essential oil (like lavender or lemon) on a cotton ball and tuck it inside the basket for a delightful aroma. Imagine adding a few drops of your favorite scent to your potpourri bowl!
  • Charcoal Power: Small sachets filled with activated charcoal can help absorb lingering odors. Activated charcoal is like a tiny magnet that attracts unwanted smells!

Extra Tips for Long-Lasting Freshness 

  • Prevention is Key: Store your wicker baskets in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup. Think of it like keeping your clothes in a clean, airy closet – moisture can lead to musty smells!
  • New Basket Blues? If your new basket has a slight odor, airing it out for a few days might be enough. Let the natural scent fade away on its own!
  • For Tough Stains: Consult a professional cleaner if you have a stubborn stain or mold growth.

Following these simple steps, you can keep your wicker baskets smelling fresh and enhance their natural charm in your home decor!


  • Wicker fibers are like tiny straws – they can trap dust and moisture.
  • Musty smells often come from mold and mildew growth.
  • Simple cleaning and natural deodorizers can keep your baskets smelling fresh.
  • Proper storage is critical to preventing future odors.

Also read: How to Remove Mold from Wicker Baskets: A Complete Guide