Over time, it is normal for outdoor plastic furniture to fade due to oxidation. Exposure to elements like air and sunlight triggers the emission of chemicals that react with oxygen and ultraviolet radiation, thus leading to photo-oxidation. So how can you renew your plastic outdoor furniture and have it look good as new?
There are several ways to renew plastic outdoor furniture. You can use soapy water or a well-mixed vinegar solution to clean up the plastic and remove the dull coating. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, using baking soda or commercial cleaners and a bit of wax can get the job done.
If you’re wondering how to give your outdoor furniture a renewed look, then you couldn’t be in a better place. Read on as we break down all you need to know about maintaining your outdoor furniture and keeping them looking good as new.
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Why Does Outdoor Plastic Furniture Dullen Over Time?
Although known to last long, plastic furniture is highly susceptible to fading and dullening over time. Excessively faded plastic furniture can be an eyesore, consequently ruining the outdoor aesthetics of your home.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight and air leads to chemical reactions in plastic furniture, making the outer layers dull and unsightly.
As a result, modern plastic seats and tables contain additives that help stabilize their chemical composition, increasing oxidation resistance.
How to Remove Oxidation From Plastic Furniture
Oxidation is the plastic version of rust. And to eliminate the frustratingly dull appearance of your outdoor plastic furniture, you’ll need to do the following:
Wash the Plastic Surface
Removing the dull coating from plastic furniture requires some thorough cleaning. And to get the job done, you’ll need a bowl of soapy water and a sponge or soft cloth. Steer clear of using rough surfaces such as scourers as they’ll add scratches to the already unsightly plastic surfaces.
Once you’ve applied a generous amount of soapy water to your outdoor plastic furniture, proceed to rinse it carefully using fresh water from a hose.
Target the Molds
Molds and mildew are notorious for ruining the appearance of plastic patio furniture. It’s practically impossible to renew outdoor plastic furniture without removing mold and mildew build-up.
For this step, you’ll need to use a water-vinegar solution. Place a full cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water and mix gently until a concentrated solution is formed. Spray the mixture generously on the plastic furniture and allow it to sit for about half an hour.
After allowing enough time for the vinegar to react with mold on the plastic surface, take a soft cloth and rub it gently, targeting the patches of mold. Repeat the process several times until you’re confident the mold is eliminated before rinsing your plastic furniture with a hose.
Ways to Remove Stubborn Stains From Plastic Furniture
Baking soda is ideal for removing stubborn stains. For this step, you’ll need a generous amount of baking soda, a sponge, and a bowl of warm water.
Dip the sponge in the water and drain out the water such that it remains damp. Afterward, sprinkle baking soda on the sponge and rub it gently on your plastic furniture. Please note that the amount of baking soda used should depend on the nature of stains. You’ll need to use more baking soda when dealing with a massive build-up.
Allow the baking soda to sit in for a couple of minutes before rinsing with high-pressure water from a hose. Once you’re confident that you’ve removed the stains, leave the seats and tables to air dry before putting them to use.
Bleach and Dishwashing Liquid
Oxidation and mold build-up can prove tough to eliminate. However, by using a mixture of dishwashing liquid and bleach, you’ll significantly enhance the chances of removing the stubborn oxidation marks.
But for this method to work, it is advisable to use dishwashing liquid that doesn’t contain ammonia since ammonia produces chlorine upon reacting with bleach.
Besides bleach and dishwashing liquid, you’ll also need a sponge, bucket, and a gallon of warm or hot water.
In a bucket of hot or warm water, mix ¾ cups of bleach with three tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. You can use a sponge or soft cloth to apply the solution gently to the plastic outdoor chairs. Rub the oxidation stains gently, focusing on the significant stains as you move slowly to the less affected areas.
Using bleach alone (without the dishwashing liquid) can also get the job done. You’ll need to put ¼ cup of your preferred household bleach into a gallon of warm water and mix it thoroughly before using a sponge to clean the plastic chairs and tables.
Disclaimer, when using bleach, be sure to put on protective clothing since bleach can be corrosive and harmful to bare hands.
You might find that thorough cleaning isn’t enough to revitalize the appearance of your plastic furniture. In such situations, car wax can come in handy in neutralizing the effects of oxidation, bringing back life to dull outdoor furniture.
High-quality products like CarGuys Liquid Wax and CarGuys Plastic Restorer are ideal for revitalizing dull plastic surfaces. The whole idea is to use wax that’ll last long enough without the need for reapplication.
Remember to always clean and allow furniture to dry before applying wax. And to increase the chances of successful outcomes, ensure you target all the parts as opposed to the areas affected by oxidation. Using wax on all surfaces will leave your outdoor plastic furniture with a natural, evenly-balanced shine.
A heat gun can also help to inject life back into your lifeless outdoor furniture. Be warned, though, this method isn’t as straightforward as most people perceive. You’ll need to be extra careful to avoid burning your plastic furniture as a result of excessive heat.
Practicing with the heat gun on plastic furniture’s underside is recommended to be on the safe side. Doing so will help you determine the ideal speed and proximity needed to clean up the oxidized plastic furniture.
When using a heat gun, the first step is to plug it in and select the ‘high’ settings such that it functions at its highest power. Once the gun is hot enough, direct its nozzle towards the affected areas, bringing it closer to the surface until the plastic starts to melt from afar.
Once you start moving the gun, be sure to maintain its motion, directing it to all the areas that need a retouch. You can use diagonal, horizontal, or even circular motions when using a heat gun on plastic. The trick, however, is to keep the gun moving to avoid overheating a particular area.
Repeat the process on all the observable areas until your plastic chair or table looks good as new.
Tips to Prevent Oxidation From Ruining Outdoor Plastic Furniture
Although plastic furniture is known for its durability, it does need proper maintenance to remain in tip-top shape. Consider observing the following tips to limit the effects of oxidation on your outdoor plastic furniture.
Get a Patio Furniture Cover
Using patio covers helps to prolong the life of plastic furniture, protecting your seats and tables from elements such as air and UV-rays.
For stackable plastic seats, consider a high-quality patio chair cover like the Vailge Heavy Duty Waterproof Outdoor Chair Cover. The Tempera UV Resistant Waterproof Furniture Cover is a great option when it comes to outdoor plastic tables.
When choosing patio covers, ensure you select UV, tear, and water-resistant products for best outcomes.
Clean Your Chairs Regularly
The best way to maintain outdoor furniture, regardless of the make, is to practice regular maintenance. Consider using dishwashers or laundry soap to clean the exposed surfaces of your plastic furniture. While you won’t need to clean the furniture daily, aiming for a monthly general cleaning can prevent the build-up of mold and mildew.
Wax Plastic Furniture Frequently
Sometimes, all your outdoor plastic furniture needs is a bit of pampering, and regular waxing is the best way to do so. But before you start applying car wax or any other quality wax you can get your hands on, be sure to clean the plastic surfaces thoroughly. Also, you’ll need to allow the plastic surface to dry before applying any wax.
Wrapping It Up
Maintaining outdoor plastic furniture requires regular cleaning. You’ll need to clean your outdoor plastic seats and tables as frequently as possible using homemade remedies such as bleach, baking soda, and white vinegar to remove oxidation stains.
Regular waxing is also an ideal way to maintain the gloss of your plastic furniture. All you’ll need to do is clean up the seats before applying wax. Use a dry sponge or microfiber clothing to wipe off the wax, which in turn will leave your plastic seats and tables with a good as new shine.
However, to maintain the appearance of plastic outdoor furniture, it is advisable to buy a patio furniture cover. Most of these covers are usually water, UV, and tear-resistant, enhancing plastic furniture’s durability.