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How To Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

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Having the perfect patio set up in your backyard can be the finishing touch for your perfect home. The problem is, keeping that patio furniture clean throughout different weather conditions and natural elements can be a hassle. Your plastic patio furniture goes through a lot, don’t let it rot and rust, use these techniques to keep them clean.

Some of the more commonly used cleaning strategies are cleaning with bleach, vinegar, dish soap, laundry detergent, baking soda, and stain remover. You can use more than one strategy at the same time, but the color and condition of your furniture play a role when deciding which strategy to choose.

There is no shortage of ways to keep your plastic patio furniture clean. You can always bring your furniture inside or locked away in storage when it is not being used, but even that can be a hassle and will still lead to rust and dirt. In this article, you will get insight into each of these cleaning strategies and why each might be the best choice for you.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Perhaps the best cleaning solution for your outdoor furniture is vinegar. To use vinegar properly you will need to combine it with a few other elements to make the best cleaning solution for all the tough to remove dirt and stains on your furniture. To get started you will need:

  • Dry brush
  • Hot water
  • ¼ cup of vinegar
  • Water hose
  • Dry cloth

Mix the vinegar and the hot water inside a bucket to create the cleaning solution. Next, you will take a dry brush and dip it into the bucket as if you were painting. Rub the dry brush onto the furniture you want to clean and then water the areas down with a water hose. Use the dry cloth to dry and rinse off the areas you put vinegar on. 

This solution is great for removing stubborn stains and dirt. You will likely need to repeat the process a few times to get a clean and smooth look on your furniture. Vinegar mixes well with plastic and will leave your plastic furniture looking brand new.

Bleach

Bleach works especially well with white furniture but can work with different colors. Just like with vinegar, creating a bleach solution is necessary. You will want to mix ¼ cup of bleach with hot water and mix it inside a bucket. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before using it on your furniture.

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Water Hose
  • Scrub Brush

You will want to have these items handy for the safest and most efficient technique. Bleach can be harmful to your skin so you should cover up open parts of your arms and use rubber gloves when brushing the solution onto your furniture. After you rub the solution onto your furniture, let the bleach sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

After you rinse the furniture, leave it underneath the sun for a few hours to dry off. The bleach solution will work its way around your furniture and will remove stains, grease, and dirt. Leaving your furniture unattended and under the shade for too long can result in the bleach chemicals damaging the color and condition of your furniture. 

Dishwashing Soap

For this technique, you will want to mix dish soap with bleach. If you have never cleaned your patio furniture and are looking for a heavy-duty solution, this is the way to go. For this solution, take 2 tablespoons of dishwashing soap and ¾ cup of bleach and mix it into a gallon of water. Stir the solution and let it sit for a few minutes before using it.

Although dishwashing soap is recommended, you can also use hand soap. This technique is one of the more effective options and can help your furniture look as clean as the day you bought it. After you have stirred the solution, you will need a few household items such as: 

  • Sponge
  • Dry rag 
  • A gallon of water
  • Toothbrush

Keep in mind that the bleach in this solution can be harmful to your skin so you should use rubber gloves when applying. Dunk a sponge into the solution and scrub away at your furniture. The harder you scrub, the more likely the stains are to go away. For harder-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush.

This strategy will help you remove grime. Scrubbing in a circular pattern and working from top to bottom will also help loosen up grime in your furniture. This solution is great for plastic furniture, but can also be used on old wood furniture. Have a garden hose and a dry washcloth to rinse and dry the furniture after scrubbing.

Laundry Detergent 

Laundry detergent is a great solution for removing old dirt and gunk from plastic patio furniture. It is not the most effective for heavy stain removal, but if used in unison with another technique, it can speed up the cleaning process and give your furniture a great look. Liquid detergent and powdered detergent both work for this solution.

  • Scrub brush
  • Water hose
  • 1 gallon of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent

You do not need as much material for this cleaning strategy as you would for others. Think of this as the manual version of using a washing machine, except instead of a machine, you are doing the work. Laundry detergent will also help clean glass patio furniture and teak furniture. 

The drying process with detergent is similar to the drying process used for some of the other techniques. You will want to lightly dry the furniture with a rag before exposing it to heat and letting it dry over the day. This will help you keep your furniture from getting any damaging stains that can compromise the color of your furniture. 

Baking Soda

The baking soda method is similar to the bleach strategy. This technique is great for white furniture as well as furniture with deep stains and gunk. Spray the furniture with warm water, focusing mostly on heavily stained and dirty areas. To effectively use this technique you will need the following items. 

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Water hose
  • Soft sponge
  • Soft dry rag

After spraying your water, sprinkle baking soda on top of the heavily dirty areas. Take the soft sponge and spread the baking soda around the furniture using a circular motion to help eliminate gunk. Let the baking soda sit for a few minutes as it fights to remove the stains and dirt. 

After a few minutes have gone, rinse off the solution with a hose and use your soft dry rag to dry off the liquid. Finally, you will want to leave your furniture out in the sun to dry for a few hours before you can start to see the cleaning results. 

Conclusion

So, which method is best? There are several ways to clean your patio furniture. The upkeep can be a hassle, but a nice patio can tie together your home. Your patio is part of your home and if you are cleaning the inside, you might as well work on the outside too. Make sure to consider the condition of your furniture before choosing a solution.

Using vinegar, bleach, detergent, dish soap, and baking soda, you will get clean patio furniture that will look like the same furniture you bought at the store. Whether your goal is to remove gunk and nasty stains or to just freshen up your patio furniture, the right solution for you is out there.

Freshen up your patio to make it the highlight of your home. We also have an article about how you can clean patio screens and clean mesh furniture so be sure to check those out.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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