Resin chairs make great patio and deck furniture because they are attractive, affordable and durable. However, they have a tendency to eventually develop a chalky residue and dark stains due to continuous exposure to the elements. The chalky residue gets on people’s clothing and is a nuisance. Usually this residue and other environmental staining can be removed with some effective strategies.
First, clean any dirt or pollen off the chairs with a hose or a bucket of water and a rag. Then start with one of the milder methods and move on to the bleach solution if the residue proves to be stubborn. Always rinse the chairs with your garden hose when you’re done.
Apply Orange Oil
Pour orange oil onto a sponge, paper towel or clean rag, and wipe a chair with it. You also can buy orange oil polish in a spray bottle and use that product instead; it’s cheaper. Some labels on polish refer to the products as wood polishers, but they are suitable for plastic and many other materials.
Leave the oil or polish on for 10 minutes, then wipe some off. If the chalky residue and staining doesn’t come off too, use a soft brush and scrub the chair. Be sure to use a brush that won’t scratch the plastic. If you’re concerned this one might, test it underneath the chair first. Avoid using scouring pads or steel wool.
An added benefit of orange oil or polish is that it adds shine to the chairs, making them look like you just bought the furniture.
Clean the Chairs With Vinegar & Dish Soap
If you happen to have some white (clear) vinegar on hand, add some to a bucket of sudsy warm water and tackle your chair with a sponge or clean rag.
Apply a Commercial Outdoor Cleaning Product
Many cleaning products are available that have been formulated specifically for outdoor use, such as restoring the look of plastic patio furniture and vinyl decks. Spray the product onto the chairs and wipe clean.
Use a Diluted Bleach Treatment
Add 1/2 cup of bleach and a tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent to a gallon of warm water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Test the solution on a small area on the bottom to see whether it changes the color of the plastic. If it doesn’t, then spray the problem areas.
After five minutes, use a sponge or a clean rag to wipe some of the solution off. If the chalky residue does not come off too, use your soft-bristle brush.
Wear rubber gloves when you’re working with bleach, even when it’s diluted this much. Don’t mix bleach with anything but mild soap and water, and don’t inhale the fumes.
Shine Those Chairs
If you want your patio furniture to look almost like new, apply car wax or furniture wax. That will make them shiny again and provide protection against future staining.
If All Else Fails
Sometimes patio chairs simply have seen better days and nothing works. That doesn’t mean they’re no longer functional. If you want to keep using the chairs, consider painting them. Spray paint is available that is intended for use on plastic. After painting, the chairs really will look like new and they’ll provide you with many more years of use. You also now have the chance to change the color of the furniture if you like!
If you can, move your chairs into a garage or shed — or even your basement — during seasons when you don’t sit outside. If that’s not possible, stack them together and cover them with a tarp. The less the furniture is exposed to sun, wind, rain, pollen and dust in the air, the longer their finish will look nice. Click here for more info.