Q: I have a wicker lamp on my screened porch. It has mold on it. How can I clean it?
— Gary Koltnow, Akron
A: Wicker restoration expert Cathryn Peters says on her website the Wicker Woman (www.wickerwoman.com) that you may be able to remove mold from wicker by cleaning it with a strong solution of bleach in soapy water. Mold can stain, so you may not be able to remove it completely.
That’s assuming your wicker is made from rattan. Wicker made from twisted paper can’t be cleaned in that manner, Peters says.
Obviously, a lamp is more complicated to clean than a piece of furniture. Taking the lamp apart first is the best course of action, assuming you’re handy. Otherwise, you’re going to need to be careful to avoid wetting the electrical parts. Of course, unplug the lamp before you try to clean it.
Vacuum the wicker and then use a soft-bristle brush to remove as much dirt and mold as you can, Peters advises. Then clean it carefully with a solution of bleach, water and detergent. Rinse it to remove the detergent residue — or, if the lamp is still intact, wipe it with cloth dampened with water.
Leave the lamp outside to dry in a shaded spot.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.