How to Clean Chalky Plastic Lawn Chairs

Chalky plastic chairs often ruin the appearance of your lawn, making it unsightly and pitiful, giving a second look. I know you don’t want them that ugly, especially during the summer when you spend most of the time outdoors. So how do you go about it?

If you want to learn how to clean chalky plastic lawn chairs, then this is the ultimate guide. I have compiled some of the top-rated home hacks and commercial products that will leave your plastic lawn chairs clean and restored.

How to Clean Chalky Plastic Lawn Chairs

  1. Wash the plastic lawn chair with soap and water
  2. Spray the water-vinegar solution on the plastic lawn chair using a spray bottle
  3. Let it sit for 20 minutes
  4. Rinse the surface with clean water
  5. Polish with baking soda to remove excess grime and restore the shine

What Makes Plastic Lawn Chairs Chalky

Over time, direct exposure to sunlight makes the plastic lawn chairs chalky and eventually oxidized as the chemicals present in the plastic lawn chairs will react with UV light.

After a protracted exposure to UV light, oxidation will occur, resulting in noticeable physical changes, making the plastic frail. In addition, the oxidation eventually makes the plastic rough and chalky.

Fortunately, it is inexpensive and straightforward to restore your plastic lawn chairs using some home hacks or preferably a heat gun.

Follow the steps below.

How to Clean Chalky Plastic Lawn Chairs

Step 1: Prepare and wash the chalky plastic lawn chairs

Wash the chairs with soapy water lather and a soft cloth to remove debris and dirt. Avoid using firm-bristled brushes to scrub the chalky stains because they will scratch the surface, making the damage worse.

Rinse the surface after washing.

Step 2: Spray water and vinegar solution

Vinegar-water solution removes mold that has found life on your chair. Mix 1 quart of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar.

Add that solution to an empty spray bottle and spray it onto the chair while focusing on the most affected areas. Let the solution set on the char for 20-30 minutes, then rinse with a hose.

Wipe the mold remain with a soft cloth moistened with white vinegar. This step is only necessary if you spot mold remnants after soaking with the water-vinegar solution.

Vinegar may harm your chair so wash thoroughly after completing the cleaning process.

Step 3: Polish and renew your plastic chairs

You can use several methods to polish and renew your already cleaned plastic chair and do away with the dull and unsightly appearance. You can use Baking soda, Vaseline, a Heat gun, WD-40, Spray paint, and a Plastic rejuvenator.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda and car wax will restore the shine of a plastic lawn chair. Ensure you have enough supply of baking soda and car wax if you will be cleaning several plastic lawn chairs.

You’ll need;

  • Baking soda
  • Car wax
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Soft cloth
  • Rag
  • Towel
  • Container
The Steps

Step 1: Immerse a sponge in a container of warm water and squeeze out excess water.

Step 2: Sprinkle some baking soda on the sponge, then rub it down on the plastic lawn chair.

Step 3: Rewet the sponge and sprinkle more baking soda as you continue rubbing.

Step 4: Rinse the surface with water when you are done and allow it to dry. You can either dry it with a towel or let it air dry. Avoid direct sunlight.

Step 5: Restore the chair’s shine with car wax. Spread the wax over the chair with a rag and let it sit for 5 minutes before buffing it with a soft cloth.

Instead of baking soda, you can use Dish Washing Liquid-Bleach Mix. However, avoid using dishwashing liquid that contains ammonia because a mixture of bleach and ammonia releases toxic chlorine gas.

Using Heat Gun

Using a heat gun is a bit risky. To guarantee safety, test in an inconspicuous area of the chair. Check on the impact. If less detrimental, proceed with the restoration.

Observe the distance between the heat gun and the plastic chair to avoid overheating or melting the chair when set under high temperatures.

You’ll need;

  • Heat gun
The Steps

Step 1: Set your gun on medium to high heat. Plug the heat gun into a power source, then choose a high setting. If you have safety concerns, set it on medium heat.

Step 2: Gradually release the heat on the affected area. Target the heat gun on the chair, moving it nearer until the plastic chair begins to unstiffen. You will notice the chair beginning to appear new. Focus on the most damaged and oxidized sections.

Step 3: Run the gun over the surface swiftly from side to side over the damaged areas to prevent the surface from bubbling. Moving the heat gun faster prevents overheating a particular section, reducing the chances of damage.

Using Vaseline

Vaseline works the same as car wax. First, scrub the plastic chairs with a baking soda paste, then dab the surface with Vaseline to restore the shine.

Vaseline and baking soda are household items, so probably you have them at home, making the task inexpensive.

You’ll need;

  • Container
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Vaseline petroleum jelly
  • Microfiber towel
The Steps

Step 1: Mix 1 gallon of water and ½ a cup of baking soda in a container. It forms a slightly abrasive paste.

Step 2: Dip a sponge into the paste and rub it on the chair in circular motions. Ensure to scrub all the affected areas of the chair with the sponge.

Step 3: After scrubbing, rinse the chair with clean water and let it air dry.

Step 4: Apply Vaseline petroleum jelly uniformly on the chair, especially the affected areas.

Step 5: Let it sit for 1-2 minutes before wiping away with a microfiber towel.

Using Spray Paint

Spray painting is the easiest and ideal way to clean and restore plastic lawn chairs.

You’ll need;

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Spray paint can
  • Dry towel
The Steps

Step 1: Clean the chair with a vinegar-water solution and a sponge.

Step 2: Dry the chair with a dry towel or let it air dry away from direct sunlight.

Step 3: Take a can of spray paint and begin spraying, starting with the bottom part of the chair before proceeding to the upper side. Ensure the nozzle of the can is not far away or too close to the chair for better results.

Step 4: Let the paint set in a cool place.

Using WD-40

WD-40 is one commercial product that crosses our minds when we think of removing stains from a plastic surface.

If you have one at home, consider your chalky plastic lawn chair clean and restored. Kindly read the instructions on the label.

You’ll need;

  • Soft cloth
  • Microfiber towel
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • WD-40 Multi-use product
The Steps

Step 1: Wash the chair with a vinegar-water solution and a sponge.

Step 2: Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow to dry.

Step 3: Spray some WD-40 over the surface and spread it evenly on the surface with a microfiber towel.

Step 4: Wipe off excess WD-40 from the surface with a soft cloth.

Using Plastic Rejuvenator

Plastic rejuvenators will restore the sheen of plastic lawn chairs.

You’ll need;

  • Water-white vinegar solution
  • Plastic rejuvenator
  • Soft cloth
The Steps

Step 1: After washing the plastic lawn chair with water-vinegar solution, apply a plastic rejuvenator on the dry chair with a soft cloth.

Step 2: Spread the rejuvenator evenly on the plastic chair using the same soft cloth.

Step 3: Let it set as you gauge if a second coat is needed as the first coat should restore the shine. Then, if necessary, repeat the process.

How to Clean Oxidized Plastic Patio Chairs

Oxidized plastic chairs are dull and unsightly. However, I have developed some simple steps you can follow to remove the stains.

Read on;

Clean the chairs

Before using cleansers, you first need to remove any dirt or grime on the chairs. Therefore wash the surface with a sponge and soapy water. Do not use abrasive scrubbing material such as scouring pads and hard brushes because you may introduce new scratches.

Rinse the surface thoroughly after cleaning.

Remove the molds

You cannot overlook molds when restoring plastic furniture. The water-vinegar solution will do the trick.

The Steps

Step 1: Combine ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1 quart of warm water, then add the solution to an empty spray bottle.

Step 2: Spray the solution on the affected areas of the plastic chair.

Step 3: Let the solution work on the surface for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse the surface with a hose pipe.

Step 5: Repeat the process if you spot some lingering molds.

We have removed the molds. Let’s now renew our plastic chairs. Heat gun or baking soda will do the trick.

Using Baking Soda

You’ll need;

  • Warm water
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Car paste wax
  • Microfiber towel
The Steps

Step 1: Dampen a sponge with warm water and sprinkle baking soda on it.

Step 2: Gently rub the plastic chair with the sponge. Re-dampen the sponge and add more baking soda continuously after a few passes until you cover the whole plastic chair.

Step 3: Rinse the chair with fresh water from the hose, then dry it with a towel or let it air dry away from direct sunlight.

Step 4: Apply car paste wax on the plastic chair with a rag and let it sit for 5 minutes, then buff it with a clean microfiber towel. You can use carnauba paste wax.

Using Heat Gun

Before you begin, test in an inconspicuous area to avoid potential damage. I recommend you practice how to use a heat gun using an insignificant plastic surface.

If you have doubts, you can set the heat gun on medium then adjust as you continue.

The Steps

Step 1: Connect the heat gun to a power source and tune it high.

Step 2: Put the heat gun nozzle above the plastic, closing until you notice the surface softening.

Step 3: Pass the heat gun swiftly. Make it constantly moving in small circular motions, reducing the chances of the plastic bubbling.

Step 4: Continue heat gunning the plastic until it appears new.

Tips for Keeping Your Plastic Lawn Chairs Neat

Do occasional cleaning and waxing. Check for scratches, debris buildup, and oxidation marks on your plastic chairs. These stains build up over time, and so to keep the plastic chairs neat, wash and wax the chairs at least once a month.

Keep them away from direct sunlight. Store the chairs in a garage shed or some shaded place when they are not in use. UV light increases oxidation rates, thereby reducing the chair’s useful life. If you don’t have enough storage space, buy some ready-made outdoor furniture covers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will clean plastic lawn chairs?

Warm soapy water will clean plastic lawn chairs

You’ll need;

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Old toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Hose
The Steps

Step 1: Combine a gallon of hot water and 4 parts of liquid dish soap in a bucket.

Step 2: Wipe down the surface with a sponge. Soak the plastic lawn chair with a generous amount of cleaning solution. You may be required to scrub sometimes.

Step 3: Allow the chairs to sit for 10-15 minutes if you encounter stubborn stains

Step 4: Rinse the chairs with a hose

Step 5: Repeat if you notice some remaining dirt. You may use an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to scrub them off before washing again.

Step 6: If not, place the chairs upside down and allow them to dry.

How do you remove mildew from plastic outdoor furniture?

White distilled vinegar removes mildew from plastic outdoor furniture.

You’ll need;

  • Spray bottle
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water

The Steps   

Step 1: Spray white distilled vinegar onto the mold. Ensure the mold is saturated with vinegar.

Step 2: Let it soak for 1 hour as the vinegar works on the mildew.

Step 3: Rinse the surface with clean, warm water

Step 4: Re-spray white distilled vinegar onto the plastic chair.

Step 5: Let the vinegar dry without rinsing.

What is the best way to clean white plastic garden furniture?

Use household bleach and liquid dish soap

The Steps

Step 1: Mix ¾ cups of standard household bleach, 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap, and a gallon of hot water in a container.

Step 2: Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and wash the chairs.

Step 3: Wash one hair at a time as you rinse thoroughly before picking the next plastic chair.

The Bottom Line

The greatest way to maintain the sheen of your plastic lawn chairs is to minimize their exposure to UV rays. However, getting chalky and oxidized is inevitable over time.

Your plastic lawn chairs will appear new with a heat gun or a few low-cost household items and a touch of car wax.