Cleaning your Outdoor Plastic Furniture


Plastic furniture looks all great and dandy when you buy them at first, but over time, they accumulate a chalky residue that eats away through their integrity. Most plastics, no matter what quality they are made of, are exposed to the sun and over time will appear all faded and chalky. The best way to resolve the issue is by Googling “furniture repair near me” and calling in the professionals to take care of all the maintenance. However, here are a few tricks if you want to save a few and plan to do it yourself.

The Process

  1. Bleach– Bleach is a go-to material for most plastic cleanup jobs. You’ll need a ¼ cup of bleach, a bucket, some hot water, a set of rubber gloves, and a scrub brush. Pour the bleach into the bucket and mix it with hot water. Now wear the gloves before taking the scrubber and dipping your hands into the solution.

Gentry starts scrubbing the surface of the chair and then allows the solution to rest to allow a little hole. Lastly, take the garden hose and wash the entire chair from top to bottom and then dry it with a dry piece of cloth.

Now if you want it to retain this new look for years to come, you will have to get rid of the oxidation. Yes, plastic hairs suffer from oxidation which leaves them all chalky. So cleaning is always not enough. You also have to protect it from the forces of nature and a plastic rejuvenator is a great solution.

Once your furniture is fully after the bleach onslaught, gently apply the rejuvenator with a microfiber cloth. Allow it to dry before applying the second layer. Some brands come with different instructions, so make sure to read them before applying.

  1. Vinegar– Ah! Vinegar. The household cleaning item that finds its way into almost anything, be it cooking, pranks, and both cooking and cleaning messes. Vinegar not only cleans your furniture but also makes them look all spruced up. So, you apply a thin coat of vinegar, before putting your furniture out for the season.

Nonetheless, to clean your furniture with vinegar, take a bucket and hot water and pour ¼  cup of white vinegar into it. Take a soft bristle brush and rinse your furniture gently. Allow it to dry in the outside sun for a while for them to appear all nice and polished.

Here is a small tip you can use to follow up after a good vinegar wash. You’ll need a mild abrasive cleaner and some car wax. After the furniture is dry, scrub it with a solution of a gallon of water and ½ cup of cleaner. Once it’s all dried up, apply a coat of automotive paste wax and follow all specific instructions.

Plastic furniture can get all scratched up after years of usage. The car wax not only makes them look good but feels scratched up quite nicely. So, your furniture not only looks, but it feels good as well.

  1. Dishwashing soap– This procedure is potentially dangerous. Always check if your dishwashing soap has ammonia or not. Triple check the composition before proceeding. In this, you will be mixing the sap with bleach. If your soap had ammonia, the reaction between ammonia and bleach would create chlorine gas, which is life-threatening. So do your research before proceeding with the soap.

Dishwashing soap mixed with ammonia can get rid of all sorts of dirt so once you’ve done your research, start by mixing ¾ cup of bleach with 2 tablespoons of liquid soap, and pour everything in a gallon of water. As always, never forget to wear rubber gloves while cleaning. Use a sponge to clean the furniture off.

Be quick, because plastic discolors easily if it is exposed to bleach for a prolonged period. So don’t do all your furniture at once and move into the next one only when you’re down thoroughly cleaning the previous piece.

Once you’re done with the cleaning part, you can either apply some WD-40 or Vaseline to make it appear new as ever. In the case of WD-40 spray a little over the surface and use a cloth or spread it evenly over the entire piece of furniture. Wipe away any residue when you’re done.

If you want the signature to shine like the first time you bought that furniture, using some Vaseline might do the trick. After cleaning, rinsing, and drying the furniture, apply some Vaseline and leave it for a minute and then wipe it off completely. It’s one of the easiest ways to get back the signature shine of your furniture.

  1. Laundry detergent– Laundry detergents are a remedy to dirty outdoor plastic furniture. Always use a sponge when using laundry detergent because otherwise, you will end up peeling the plastic off your chairs.

Add a gallon of warm water into a bucket and a tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent. Apply the cleaning all over your furniture with a sponge and leave the entire thing for about 15 minutes before hosing it dry and rinsing them off with a dry towel.

The detergent does a pretty thorough job of cleaning all dust particles and if you’re planning to use your furniture for another 3-5 years, the best way to preserve them is to paint over them. It’s better if you use spray paint for this purpose and always hold the can 8 inches from the surface. You can even go all Da Vinci on the furniture and create some unique patterns that you know for sure will impress your guests.


Cleaning and maintaining outdoor furniture is not easy. A wrong chemical here and a bit of hard scrub there and you could end up changing the entire furniture set. The best way to avoid this issue is by seeking professional assistance which you can avail of by simply searching for “furniture repair near me”. Leave the hard work to the professionals, because they not only know how to make your furniture shine, but they also know how to do it the right way.

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