Cleaning your Outdoor Plastic Furniture

Cleaning your Outdoor Plastic Furniture

Winter has finally passed and it is time to get back out on the patio and enjoy the springtime weather.  Unfortunately, prior to being able to rest easily on the back porch, your furniture needs a good cleaning to wipe away the winter storage blues and grime!  We will discuss a few tips on how to get your outdoor plastic furniture in tip-top shape!

Keeping Your Outdoor Plastic Furniture Clean

We first need to assess what the issue is.  Do you have dirt and grime to clean, stains to erase, or is it something else? Once you have determined what you need to do you can proceed with your process.  When you begin cleaning it up, it may help to hose it down really well and go from there.

A mild cleanser is most beneficial for all colors of plastic and hard resin furniture.  A good choice would be a mild automobile washing soap that can be found in any automotive retail store.  Follow the same dilution rate listed on the label.  Steer clear of using harsh bleaching agents, they cause a milky appearance and may damage plastic materials.

Tackling Stains

 In tackling stains, there are a few things you can try that will not damage your furniture.  A light dusting of baking soda on a wet sponge or cloth can create a gentle abrasive that should pull stains away but not leave scratches in the surface.  Alternately, you can dampen a rag with distilled white vinegar and wipe the stain down.  Don’t be tempted to clean with any aggressive abrasives as this will scratch and damage the piece.

To restore its shine, use an automotive wax or polish with the added benefit of extra protection from the outdoor elements.


Seasons can be tough on your plastic furniture.  Outdoor furniture often makes its annual appearance in the spring as the weather is tempting you to spend time outside.  As we discussed above, this is when you will clean it up and have it out for the next six to nine months.  However, as the seasons change it is important to continue to maintain and protect your furniture.   As you move into summer your furniture will see a good bit of use as well as wear and tear.  Bugs, stains and general use can give it a run for its money.  Keeping your furniture out of the direct sunlight and protected by placing it in the shade will help increase the durability of your furniture.  Weekly wipe downs, cleaning of fabric cushions and looking for signs of damage should become part of your routine.


As the weather changes and winter creeps in, your furniture will be best protected if you are able to move it indoors somewhere; a shed or a garage.  However, this is not an option for everyone.  Maybe you have a deck that your furniture can sit under, this would be better than no protection at all. If you do not have somewhere under cover or indoors, you can still protect your furniture from the elements that harsher weather can bring.  A weatherproof plastic can provide a great deal of protection.  It works best if you can wrap your stacked chairs as tightly as possible not leaving any gaps to the outside.  This will provide a layer of protection to keep it in great condition.   You can also look into purchasing outdoor covers designed specifically for your furniture.

Further steps in protecting your furniture can be taken such as applying a coat of automotive paste wax after the furniture has been thoroughly cleaned.  Other protectants are out there that you can use as well. These will help to repel stains and dirt making that seasonal and weekly cleaning less of an arduous task.  You may even want to look into some UV protectant seals that are on the market.  These will typically need applications every 3-5 weeks for maximum protection.

If you have fabric cushions on your plastic outdoor furniture you will want to protect that as well.  There are protectants that can be applied to the fabric.  These can help resist mold, stains and water damage.  However, the ability to place fabric cushions inside will certainly extend their life greatly.

When you properly protect and clean your outdoor furniture you can keep it looking great and make it last longer!  Don’t let your furniture fall victim to the seasonal changes and damage from Mother nature when a little elbow grease can keep your furniture in tip-top shape for years to come!

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