There’s nothing that can ruin the look of your perfectly polished and landscaped backyard as oxidized patio chairs. They’re ugly, unappealing, and just bad to look at. But what can you do?
Well, if you want to learn how to get rid of the oxidization and bring some life back into your chairs — you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at what some of the best commercial and home remedies to fix this problem are.
Why Do Plastic Chairs Oxidize?
The number one cause of oxidized plastic is sun exposure. In theory, no matter how much you protect and how well you clean your chairs, if they’re in the sun, they will lose some of their shine and color.
If and when your plastic chairs oxidize, they will look dull and lackluster. But don’t worry; you can easily remove early signs of oxidation. What’s more, with a few household products and tricks, you can make them look brand new.
Homemade Remedies for Cleaning Oxidized Plastic Chairs
I’m going to show you a few hassle-free home remedies for cleaning oxidized chairs. You’ll only need a couple of readily available ingredients and a few minutes to make all of these solutions.
First, let’s start with vinegar because it’s easy and cheap, and you can use it to remove both mold and dirt from your chairs. I recommend using white vinegar because it’s mild enough, so it won’t damage your furniture.
All you need for this trick is 1/4 cup of white vinegar, warm water, a soft bristle brush, and a spray bottle. Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle and liberally apply the solution to your chairs. For the best results, I recommend leaving it to sit 20–30 minutes on your chairs.
Also, you can use a brush to rub the solution into the plastic and remove any dirt or debris. Once enough time has passed, use a hose or bucket of water to wash the solution off your chairs.
Dishwashing Liquid and Bleach
Now, I would recommend using a solution of dishwashing liquid and bleach for those tough, impossible-to-get-off stains and oxidation marks. One thing to keep in mind is that you should get dishwashing liquid without ammonia. Bleach and ammonia don’t mix well and produce chlorine gas, which is hazardous.
For this solution, you’ll need dishwashing liquid, bleach, a gallon of hot water, a sponge, and a bucket. Also, since bleach is toxic and may irritate your skin, make sure you’re wearing thick rubber gloves when making the solution.
Start off by mixing 3/4 cups of household bleach with 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of hot water. Use a sponge to apply the solution to your chairs, gently rubbing the oxidation stains and dirt away.
But be careful when using this solution because long exposure to it can cause discoloration. In fact, I would recommend doing one chair at a time and using it only if your chairs are white.
If you don’t have any dishwashing liquid, you could use bleach on its own. Simply put 1/4 cup of bleach into a gallon of hot water and mix it together. Again, I would recommend using bleach only if you have white chairs.
But even then, your chairs could lose some of their shine. And, if that happens, a little car wax can do the trick and restore your chairs to their full glory. Now, my personal favorite wax is the Turtle Wax’s 1-Step Wax and Dry.
You could also make your own car wax if you want, and you’ll only need a few ingredients. It’s easy to do, and you can use it for a wide variety of purposes, not just your cars or chairs.
Next up is a laundry detergent solution that isn’t as effective as bleach, but still does the trick. Simply take a tablespoon of detergent and mix it with hot water, either in a spray bottle or bucket.
You can spray the solution on the chairs and use a soft-bristled brush to rub it in or use a sponge to clean your chairs. Once you’re done, you can use a hose to wash the solution away.
Last up is good old-fashioned baking soda. You can sprinkle some on a damp sponge and use it as a mild abrasive to clean your chairs. On the other hand, you could also mix baking soda with bleach and water to create a paste-like consistency.
When you’re working with a paste, it’s easier to both clean and remove any residue or oxidation marks. After you’ve finished cleaning, you can take a hose and rinse the paste out. What’s more, if your chairs are heavily oxidized, you can leave the bleach-free solution for 20 minutes and rinse for better results.
Commercial Cleaning Solutions for Oxidized Patio Chairs
Even though I’m sure any of these tricks can get the job done, there are a couple of tried-and-true commercial solutions that can take care of oxidation. Here’s a list of my top four products:
Bar Keeper’s Friend Powdered Cleanser
This solution is pretty similar to baking soda – designed to clean and deoxidize your chairs. In addition to plastic, you can use it on a wide variety of different surfaces like aluminum, copper, ceramic, and much more.
Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze
Mirror Glaze will restore shine to your dull plastic chairs, and it’s available in 8oz and 1-gallon bottles. You can use the product for scratches, defects, and discoloration.
CarGuys Liquid Wax
This wax from CarGuys is easy to apply, lasts up to six months, and features durable UV protection. On Amazon, you can get the 8oz or 16oz bottle.
WD-40 is an extremely versatile product, and one of those things you should always have lying around your house. You can use it to deoxidize your chairs, lubricate your hinges, or repel insects.
How to Clean Oxidized Plastic Chairs
Depending on which solution you want to use, there are a couple of ways you can do it. First, start by cleaning your chairs with a dry cloth to remove any dust or debris. You can leave baking soda and vinegar solutions to sit 20–30 minutes.
On the other hand, you should remove bleach right away. Also, when you’re working with bleach, be careful handling it and make sure you’re wearing thick rubber gloves.
If you can, I recommend washing your chairs with a hose or pressure washing them when you’re done. One thing to keep in mind is that you should choose a gentle setting on your pressure washer to avoid damaging your chairs. After you’re done, you can let your chairs air-dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Lastly, don’t forget to put some automotive wax or polish when you finish cleaning. By doing so, you’ll be able to restore your chairs to their original shine. Make sure to wipe the wax with a dry, clean cloth for a smoother finish.
How to Prevent Chairs from Oxidizing in the First Place
Plastic chairs are usually pretty durable and don’t rust or warp over time. That being said, you still need to take good care of them.
Get a Patio Chair Cover
The best way to protect your chairs from oxidizing is to keep them out of the sun. Now, I know that’s not always possible, so I recommend getting some patio chair covers or cushions.
- PATIO CHAIR COVER: Fits most standard patio chairs up...
- WEATHER-RESISTANT COVER: Heavy-duty, polyester material...
- DURABLE & SECURE FIT: Tire closures help provide you a...
- HOME DÉCOR: Khaki color blends with most home...
Clean and Wax Your Chairs
You should also clean and wax your chairs every few months to keep them in good shape.
Chances are — one or more of cleaning solutions will work on your chairs, and they will look brand new once you’re done. But in the event that something’s gone wrong, you can always repaint your chairs.
Paint the Chairs
Painting plastic chairs is pretty simple, and there are a lot of different ways you can do it. I love using spray paint because it has the shortest drying time compared to any other method.
My personal favorite paints are either from Krylon or Rust-Oleum. Even though Krylon has a bigger selection of colors, Rust-Oleum’s paints are specifically designed for plastic patio furniture.
Before you start painting your chairs, shake the can for a few minutes to ensure the best results. Also, spray from a 10–12-inch distance and wait 15 minutes before applying another coat.
Those were all of the tips and tricks I had for cleaning oxidized patio furniture. As you can see, a few household items can do the job in a matter of minutes and won’t cost a fortune to make. But, you can always avoid the hassle and just get any of the commercial products I’ve mentioned.
But, since it’s better to be safe than sorry, your best bet would be to invest in chair covers. You can use them all year round to protect your furniture from both sun exposure and frost. And, if all else fails, you can paint your chairs in a new color and get them looking fresh and fantastic.