How to Remove Oxidation From Plastic Chairs: A Helpful Guide
Getting the garden ready for spring and summer can be hard work. There’s a whole list of chores that need to be done, from raking to weeding, and from scrubbing to tidying, before you can properly enjoy your outdoor living space once more. If you have plastic furniture in your garden, then you’ll probably notice that over time, it can start to look faded with white residue appearing in patches. What is worst is that no amount of scrubbing will get rid of it!
This chalky look is caused by oxidation. Hence, we will look at what causes it, and two ways of how to remove oxidation from plastic chairs so that you can breathe a new lease of life into your patio furniture.
What Causes Oxidation?
The oxidation you see on your plastic chairs outside is basically like plastic’s version of rust. Exposure to air and sunlight are to blame, as plastic contains chemicals that react with oxygen in the air, plus UV radiation from the sun, which causes photo-oxidation.
That will cause the plastic to degrade over time as compounds lose electrons through the oxidation process. More modern plastics contain additives to help stabilize them, and while it doesn’t make them immune to the oxidation process, it will slow it down.
How to Remove Oxidation?
There are a few methods that you can employ to restore plastics at home. But first, you must prepare the surfaces.
1. Wash Away Any Dirt
The first thing you need to do is to clean your chairs thoroughly. Take a bowl of soapy water and scrub the chairs down with a sponge or cloth. Don’t use scourers as they will scratch the surface of the plastic and make it look even worse. Rinse away the soapy water with fresh water from your hose.
2. Kill Molds
The next thing you should do is remove any mold by using a vinegar and water solution. You want to use around a quarter cup of white vinegar for each quart of water, and spray it all over the chair. Let it sit on the chair for around 15 to 20 minutes before taking a cloth to the chair.
Soak the cloth in white vinegar and wipe away the patches of mold you see growing. Rinse the chair down again with your hose thoroughly.
3. Remove Stains
Method #1 - Baking Soda and Wax
If you want to use the baking soda and wax method, then you can get straight to work on the clean, wet chair.
- Step 1: Wet a sponge in a bowl of warm water and sprinkle baking soda all over it. Give the chair a gentle, but a good rub down with the sponge, rinsing and adding more baking soda as needed to cover the whole chair.
- Step 2: Rinse the chair down with fresh water from your hose and dry the chair completely, either with a towel or leave it to bake in the sun for a while.
- Step 3: Take a car paste wax (something like carnauba paste wax), and apply it all over the chair with a rag. Leave it on for five minutes or so, and then buff it with a clean, soft cloth.
Method #2: Heat Gun
If you can gain access to a heat gun, then you can try this method and have your chairs looking brand new again. In this instance, the chair must be completely dry before you begin.
We recommend that you practice using the heat gun on the underside of one of your chairs first so that you can get the hang of the proximity and speed needed to get the best results.
- Step 1: Plug the heat gun in and set it to high.
- Step 2: Direct the nozzle of the heat gun towards the plastic, bringing it in quite close until you see the surface of the plastic start to melt.
- Step 3: Keep the heat gun moving at all times. It doesn’t matter whether you sweep up and down the surface in linear motions or if you make small circular motions. The important thing is to keep it moving. Be careful not to go too slowly as you will melt the plastic too much, causing it to bubble and burn.
- Step 4: Heat gun the entire visible area of the chair until it looks brand new again.
Plastic Furniture Renewed
Storing away your plastic chairs when they’re not in use will certainly help to slow the oxidation process down, but at some point, you will have a choice in front of you. Fork out on brand new patio furniture or spend a bit of time restoring them.
How to remove oxidation from plastic chairs can be achieved using baking soda and car wax, or with the use of a heat gun. It can be time-consuming preparing and fixing your old plastic chairs up, but you’ll be really pleased with the results and will save yourself a lot of money.