Restoring plastic furniture


“The spring is sprung, the grass is ris”, I wonder where my garden furniture is?
Ideally, if you have the space, your garden furniture should have been stored in the shed over winter. For most people this isn’t possible and consequently your furniture has had to face the ravages of the winter weather and is now in need of a little TLC to get it back to tip top condition. With a little time and effort your furniture can be as good as new.

Plastic Furniture

When left outside, plastic chairs soon become faded, discoloured or just downright dirty. So how do you bring them back to life? You can clean them, paint them or cover them.

To clean Plastic furniture you will need

  • A bucket of warm water
  • 2 tablets of automatic dishwashing detergent
  • Sponge with scrubber on back
  • Toothbrush for those fiddly, hard to reach areas

There are just 4 simple steps:

  1. Pour a gallon of warm water in a bucket and add 2 tablets of automatic dishwasher detergent .
  2. Wash down the furniture with this solution.
  3. Let the solution sit on the furniture for approximately 15 minutes. (The dishwashing detergent has a bleaching agent in it that will whiten the furniture.)
  4. Rinse and dry.

Paint your furniture

The rise of new plastic paints such as those by Plastikote or Krylon have made painting plastic much easier and far more reliable. You can choose to do simple block colours or you can be more adventurous with stencils or even painting freehand.You’ll need:

  • White spirit
  • Fine grade wire wool or sand paper
  • Plastic primer (optional)
  • Plastic paint

Here’s what you do:painted chair

  1. Wash furniture down as above.
  2. Wipe over with white spirit to make sure all grease is removed
  3. Rub over entire piece with a fine grade wire wool or sand paper to give the plastic as slightly roughened surface. This will help the paint to stick to the plastic surface
  4. Apply plastic primer and allow to dry (this is not always necessary as it depends on the paint you are using. Check the instructions of the tin to find out if you need to prime your item)
  5. Apply plastic paint and allow to dry thoroughly
  6. Apply a final coat of paint

Cover your plastic furniture

If all else fails and you really think your plastic furniture is beyond repair you could always try covering it like these clever folks have.

fabric covered chair fabric covered chair back

If you’re feeling adventurous how about creating a masterpiece with papier-mâché

papier mache chair


  1. chipbreaker says:

    I don’t know if it’s the same material (the chairs I mean) but there is a product you can buy for plastic windows. UPVC cleaner, which is the only way I’ve found to clean them and which works really well.
    As for painting I haven’t tried those plastic paints but a primer which sticks to anything without even having to sand is Zinsser BIN (they sell it in B&Q or any proper decorators merchant).

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