In this study, micro-arc oxidation (MAO) of aluminum 6061 alloy was carried out within a silicate base electrolyte containing 0.75 g/L of cellulose, and the tribological properties of the coating were investigated. The as-prepared coating was detected by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and an energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS), respectively. The results suggested that cellulose filled in the microcracks and micropores, or it existed by cross-linking with Al3+. In addition, it was found that the cellulose had little effect on the coating hardness. However, the thickness and roughness of the coating were improved with the increase in cellulose concentration. Moreover, the ball-on-disk test showed that the friction coefficient, weight loss and wear rate of the MAO coating decreased with the increase in cellulose concentration. Further, the performances of the coatings obtained in the same electrolyte, under different preserved storage periods, were compared, revealing that the cellulose was uniformly dispersed in the electrolyte and improved the tribological properties of the MAO coating within 30 days.