How To Clean Chalky Plastic Lawn Chairs Remove Oxidation From Patio Chairs

How to Clean Chalky Plastic Lawn Chairs – Remove Oxidation from Patio Chairs

Resin furniture is a great part of a patio. Aside from plastic and resin, they are also known as Polywood furniture. It is indeed a nice experience when you have a beautiful place to hang-out on. There are a lot of chairs, tables, and stools that are made of Polywood available online. Because they are not as heavy as wood or steel, you can effortlessly move and arrange them however you like. Additionally, these are not only durable, but they are also more affordable compared to other materials.

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On the other hand, like every other matter, these plastic equipment are not resistant to degradation. One form of degradation called “oxidationâ€. This makes your lawn chairs look dirty, chalky, and undesirable. Do not worry, though, as there are many solutions to prevent rapid oxidation of your patio furniture. Continue to read this article to find out how to clean chalky plastic lawn chairs.

colorful plastic patio chairs
Image from Pikist

What Causes Oxidation

The oxidation you can see on your plastic chairs is basically similar to plastic’s version of rust on metal furniture. Exposure to air, rain, and sunlight is the main cause of this problem. Plastic contains compounds that react with oxygen in the air, and UV rays from the sun, and acid from the rain which causes oxidation on plastic materials.

Oxidation can make the plastic degrade as time goes by as it loses electrons through the oxidation process. Most plastics include additives to help stabilize them and while it doesn’t make them resistant to the oxidation process, it will slow it down.

Remove Oxidation from Lawn Chairs

Plastic items situated outside are directly exposed to sunlight and oxygen. Even though Polywood is made to last longer than ordinary plastic, chemicals in your Polywood lawn chairs react with UV light over time. Upon prolonged contact, oxidation happens. Oxidation leads to physical abrasion and then eventually results in brittle plastic with a chalky finish.

Fortunately, you can easily restore the appearance of your furniture using chemicals readily available in your home. The following paragraphs will discuss a 4-step, trouble-free home remedy for removing oxidation from patio chairs.

As a reminder, plastic can give off harmful gasses when treated. Use gloves, mask,s, and eye protection before doing any of the steps below.

Plastic Lawn Chairs under the sun

Image from Pxfuel

1. Wash and Prepare the Chairs

Before anything else, make sure that your chairs are free of dirt and soil. To ensure that it is clean, use soapy water, lather, and wipe away dirt with a soft cloth. Do not use hard-bristled brushes to scrub the surface of your lawn chair because this can exacerbate the damage. Wash off soap afterward.

2. Vinegar-Water Solution

This step is needed to remove mold that has accumulated on the surface of your plastic lawn chair. To prepare the solution, combine ¼ cup white vinegar and 1-quart water and transfer it to a spray bottle. Next, generously spray on the chair especially on the areas that look more damaged. Let the mixture stay on the chair for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the dirtiness of the furniture. After that, rinse the solution off thoroughly.

If some dirt or molds are still left on the chairs and you are considering scrubbing it off, use a soft cloth moistened with the pure white vinegar. Moreover, you can also use a brush as long as its bristles are soft. You do not want to use rough materials because this can worsen the appearance of your plastic chair. After scrubbing, make sure no vinegar will be left on the chairs. Always rinse with water.

3. Renew Your Plastic Chairs (3 Ways)

A. Use Baking Soda and Paste Wax

When it is fully cleaned and prepped for restoration, you can now proceed to treat your chalky plastic lawn chairs with baking soda. If you have numerous chairs to restore, make sure your stock of baking soda will suffice because you need a pretty large amount.

First, put a hefty amount of the powder all around a chair and use a damp sponge to rub particularly the heavily oxidized areas. Add more baking soda so that the whole chair is covered with a paste-like blend. Next, leave the paste on for about 10 minutes before rinsing off.

Third, dry your lawn chairs with a towel completely. It is better not to expose them immediately in the sun. Just air dry the furniture. Lastly, to make your plastic lawn chairs look new again, wipe it with car paste wax. Use a rag to do this and ensure all areas are covered. Let it dry for about 5 to 10 minutes. Automotive wax will give your plastic lawn chairs a shiny finish.

turtle wax carnauba car wax

 B. Dish Washing Liquid-Bleach Mix

This method is best recommended for tough stains and oxidation marks. As a precautionary measure, however, never use a dishwashing liquid integrated with ammonia. These are typically labeled with the statement “Do Not Add Bleach”.

Ammonia and bleach is a dangerous combination that releases harmful chlorine gas. Furthermore, do not forget to wear protective equipment before you start with this method because exposure to bleach can irritate your skin.

Another thing, this is known to cause discoloration on plastic lawn chairs. So, take caution if you are planning to use this mix on chairs that are not white.

To begin, you have to mix ¾ cups of bleach with 2-3 tablespoons of ammonia-free dishwashing liquid. Put this solution on a bucket of hot water and mix. Next, apply the solution to your chairs and rub the oxidation marks away.

Just additional information, this solution can result in a matte finish therefore if you want shiny lawn chairs, just wipe car wax to your furniture.

C. Heat Your Plastic Chair Up

You need a heat gun to do this restoration method. Ensure that the chair is completely dry before you begin. Next, try out the heat gun on the unexposed parts of your lawn chairs first so that you can acquaint yourself with its effect.

Heat gun

Image by Joe Loong

Note how far from your chalky chair you should situate the heat gun and how fast you should expose it to the fire so that you will not melt the plastic too much. If you are not careful, the plastic may bubble due to extreme heat and you will just damage your lawn chair instead of restoring it.

Begin the process by plugging your heat gun and setting it too high. Aim the nozzle of the gun on your lawn chair. Slowly bring it close until the surface of the plastic starts to melt. Point the heat gun around the areas with obvious damage and oxidation until it looks new over again.

You can prevent the plastic from bubbling because of excessive heat if you keep the heat gun quickly moving while you target the needed areas. These swift motions are to ensure that no spot will receive a destructive amount of heat during the restoration process.

Additional Tips for Your Plastic Lawn Chairs

1. Keep Them Away from the Sun

Do not expose your chairs to the sun for too long. Keep them in your garage or a shady place on your patio when not in use. This will lengthen their new appearance.

Furthermore, doing this can prevent oxidation of plastic caused by the sun’s ultra-violet rays. If you do not have the time to keep your plastic lawn chairs away, you can just cover them with ready-made patio chair covers for extra protection.

2. Clean and Wax Them Occasionally

Pay attention to your plastic lawn chairs at least once a month. Check for oxidation marks, abrasions, and build-up of dirt. This will help your furniture keep their good color, shine, and shape.

3. Repaint your plastic lawn chairs.

If discoloration happens and oxidation marks are still visible, you can opt to repaint your patio chairs. This will also give you the chance to customize the color of your furniture. Use paint that is specifically made for plastic. Examples of paint brands are Rust-Oleum and Krylon. Both are available on Amazon.


The best way to maintain your plastic lawn chairs is to decrease their exposure to the sun to prevent oxidation. If you cannot do this, there are still numerous ways on how to clean them. Removing oxidation marks from patio chairs is not a hard thing to do. All you need is access to the needed products and your furniture will surely look fresh and brand new!

These products include soap and then vinegar for the removal of dirt and molds. Also, you can either use baking soda or ammonia-free dishwashing liquid combined with bleach to scrub away stubborn oxidation marks off of your chairs. Last but not the least, you can choose to heat your chairs using a heat gun to melt abrasions and marks away.

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