Outdoor furniture requires cleaning and maintenance to keep it useful for those sunny days. Resin furniture doesn’t cost much, so it often simply sits in the garden, taking all that the weather and the trees and bushes and the animals and insects blow its way. But with just a little care, that plastic can outlive pricier wood furniture. Unlike wood, plastic doesn’t rot or warp. Unlike metal, it doesn’t rust.
Resin does, however, fade, and excessive heat can make some plastics become brittle. This brittleness can be accelerated by abrasive cleaners because tiny, gritty bits in the cleaner work against the plastic to turn it from a smooth to a slightly rough surface. To prevent this, wash down plastic tables and chairs with a mild all-purpose cleaner – the same one you use for vinyl floors indoors or for washing walls.
When white plastic ages, it can yellow. If your furniture gets to this stage, you override the abrasives ban and use a mildly abrasive cleaner. An abrasive cleaner also helps to keep at bay the black grime that gets embedded in the rough edges of the plastic.
Soaking such a stain in a strong bleach solution – 40 millilitres (ml) (2–1/2 tablespoons) to 5 litres (1 gallon) of water – also helps whiten it but gives no guarantee of uniform results. If you can, position the chair so that the bleach solution covers an even area. Rinse the solution off after 30 minutes.
A last resort to restoring whiteness to discoloured garden furniture is spray paint. Look for a specialist paint to match the colour of your furniture. Test a small area first, then spray the entire front of the affected chair.