Mold thrives anywhere there’s moisture and can be a serious threat to outdoor furniture, especially on porous surfaces like plastic. Like other fungi, it comes in different color shades, including black, green, grey, brown, and yellow. These create stains that are tougher to clean than regular dust and dirt. Mold, if allowed to fester can also pose serious dangers to your health. In this article, we have researched and explored how to remove mold from plastic outdoor furniture using various methods.
The removal process can be costly and often involve more than just light cleaning. One of the safest ways to remove mold stains from plastic outdoor furniture is by cleaning with white distilled vinegar. However, there are other methods like using bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Learning how to remove mold from your plastic outdoor furniture will go a long way to increase its useful life and ensure you relax in a safe environment. I will also show you some preventive and maintenance tips to help protect your furniture.
How to remove mold from plastic outdoor furniture
Here are some of the methods that have proven to be effective in eliminating plastic mold stains.
Using Chlorine Bleach
Most people commonly use bleach to remove mold from plastic.
For this method, you will need the following:
- Soap or detergent that doesn’t contain ammonia
- Chlorine Bleach
- Bucket (and spray bottle)
- Sponge, soft cloth, or scrub brush
- Old fabric or rag
- Rubber gloves (optional, but highly recommended)
Below are the steps involved:
- Start by washing the furniture with soap or detergent to get rid of any visible mold. Again, the soap or detergent should be free of ammonia. We will be using bleach in the next step, and we don’t want the two chemicals to mix, as this can be toxic.
- Now, get your bucket and mix ½ cup of chlorine bleach with a full gallon of water. For tougher mold stains, use 1 cup of bleach. You can scoop some of the mixtures into a spray bottle using a small cup. Or you can just prepare the mixture in the bottle by mixing ten parts water with one part chlorine bleach.
- Next, soak the rag in the mixture and apply it generously to dampen the plastic furniture, or specifically on the mold-affected area. Alternatively, you can just spray the area to soak it. Make sure you have your gloves on!
- Give the solution at 15 – 30 minutes to sit. For tougher stains, you can extend the time and apply more bleach while waiting.
- Once the waiting time is over, get your scrub brush and scrub the affected spot vigorously until the stain is no longer there.
- Now rinse the plastic with clean water to remove the bleach. Spray the water gently to avoid bleach splashes. If you have time, you can wash the entire furniture with soap or detergent again, instead of just rinsing the bleach with water. Again, the soap or detergent must not contain ammonia.
- After rinsing, give the plastic pieces some time to dry. Make sure it’s fully dry before you use it again.
Note: Be careful when handling bleach as prolonged inhaling can cause problems for the lungs. Also, avoid contact with your cloth or skin to prevent skin irritation. So, make sure you have your rubber gloves on.
Set Under the Sun
For mild mold stains, you can try exposing the furniture to a lot of sunlight. This method may only work during summer when the sun’s light intensity is much higher. All you need to do is set-piece of plastic furniture under direct sunlight. Leave it for several hours. The heat of the sun will help kill the mold bacteria.
After sunning, you can wash off the remaining mold traces with soap and water.
This method is not usually very effective but is still worth considering since it’s natural and safer for the environment.
Scraping with Razor
Another easy way to get rid of mold from plastic is by simply scraping the affected area with a razor or some other sharp objects. When using the razor, you must be very careful not to scrap or cut the main plastic.
You can use this method together with sun-drying to make it a little more practical. In this case, you can sun the plastic to loosen the mold spores, then scrape with a razor afterward.
Although many folks prefer using bleach to remove mold, it’s not particularly hygienic.
This is because bleach can irritate the skin and eyes when you’re exposed to it for a long time. It also exposes your lungs to danger if you accidentally inhale the fumes. It’s a cleaning method I wouldn’t recommend for asthma patients.
Vinegar presents a safer, natural alternative for cleaning mold and it is also proven to be very effective.
For this method, you will need the following:
- Rubber gloves
- Bucket (and spray bottle)
- Brush for scrubbing
- Essential oil (not mandatory)
- White distilled vinegar
Here the steps to follow:
- Make sure you have your gloves and mask on before starting.
- Mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar inside a spray bottle or bucket. In other words, mix an equal amount of water and vinegar. If you have essential oil, you can add it to the mixture to offset the pungent vinegar smell. For the best result, pour vinegar into a spray bottle without diluting it with water.
- Next, apply the cleaning solution to the furniture using a rag or any soft piece of fabric. Alternatively, you can spray the mold-affected area.
- Allow the spray to sit for at least 30 minutes. For deep stains, leave for 1 hour. This ensures the solution is completely absorbed into the mold.
- Now, rinse with warm water. Apply vinegar again and allow it to dry. This way, all the molds are taken care of.
If you don’t want to purchase cleaners, then you can use what is available. Combining lemon and sunlight can also help rid your plastic furniture of mold.
Simply sun the plastic pieces for a while. Then spray with lemon juice. Leave it in the sun again to dry.
Next, wash with soap and water, and rinse afterward.
This method might not always work for tough mold stains.
In addition to the methods above, you can also use mold-dedicated bathroom cleaners. Although these products are specifically designed for removing mold from your bathroom walls, they can also work on plastic.
I will advise you to stay away from harsh chemicals. Instead, choose a product that is organic and non-toxic.
Can you prevent mold from plastic outdoor furniture?
Yes, you can prevent mold from plastic outdoor furniture through regular cleaning, keeping plastic furniture away from splashes of water amongst other ways discussed below. In fact, the best plan towards ensuring mold-free furniture is to prevent it altogether.
Practice Regular Cleaning
Once you’ve chosen a cleaning method, the next thing is to devise a routine or schedule and stick to it. Clean the plastic pieces whether they look dirty or not.
Keeping to a strict cleaning schedule can help prevent mold spores from appearing.
Keep Plastic Furniture Away from Water
Anytime you want to water the lawn, first remove all the plastic pieces from the area. Alternatively, you can use a cover if you don’t want to move them. The aim is to protect the plastic pieces from the water sprays. The same thing applies if you’re using a sprinkler.
I advise watering just before the sun comes out to ensure quick drying.
Locate Furniture Away from Swimming Pool
For homes with swimming pools, locate your plastic furniture away from the area such that splashes won’t get to them. This is very important, especially during summer when you’re most likely going to be spending more time at the pool.
Leaving your plastic seating or tables exposed to all that water can be devastating in the long run.
Ensure Good Ventilation
Since the furniture is outside, ventilation shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you can, locate the plastic pieces in those areas that get more ventilation. This is essential for mold control.
How do you remove black mold from plastic?
The best way to remove black mold from plastic is by using cleaning solutions such as bleach and vinegar. In addition to vinegar and bleach, you can also use hydrogen peroxide to remove black mold. It is natural and safer than using bleach and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Besides plastic, it can also be applied to woven furniture or other porous surfaces
The way to use these solutions has already been discussed above. As earlier indicated, first remove all visible particles and mold from the plastic before cleaning with bleach or vinegar.
Again, use undiluted vinegar in order to get the best results.
While both solutions are effective in fighting mold, bleach can stain your furniture depending on the concentration. So be careful how you mix it.
Also, bleach should never be used with ammonia, or else both chemicals will react and produce toxic fumes that can be very harmful to your health.
Follow the steps in previous sections to remove the black mold using either bleach or vinegar. They work for all colors of mold.
Does vinegar kill mold on plastic?
Yes, vinegar can kill mold on your plastic furniture. It has the ability to penetrate porous materials up to the root level and will kill mold spores both on the surface of the plastic and at the root.
Bleach can also kill mold on plastic but it is not as effective as vinegar because it doesn’t go beyond the surface of the material so it will only kill mold on the plastic surface, not the root. As a result, even after cleaning a plastic with bleach, the mold can still return.
Outdoor plastic furniture maintenance tips
Here are some maintenance tips you can start applying today to prevent mold growth.
- Clean and disinfect each piece of plastic furniture frequently. Don’t wait till they get too dirty or you notice mold before taking action. Regular disinfection is your best strategy towards mold growth or buildup. Dry each piece quickly to get rid of moisture.
- Use high-quality outdoor furniture covers to protect your furniture from the rain and wind. As you already know, keeping the plastic piece dry will ensure mold doesn’t form. Make sure you get a cover with dents so air can flow inside the cover without water getting in.
- You don’t have to wait till when you’re cleaning the furniture disinfecting it. From time to time, you can spray with vinegar and leave it to dry without any washing. This will help deter mold growth.
- Don’t allow your plastic furniture to sit in the sun for too long to avoid cracking. This should also be observed when sun-drying them during cleanup.
To Wrap it Up
Don’t ever give mold a chance to flourish near you, or it could jeopardize your health. Whenever you notice mold on your plastic furniture, get rid of it straight away using any one of the methods described above.
Be careful while handling any chemical or cleaning solution, and always keep to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wear gloves and a safety mask to protect your hands and nose from mold spores.
More importantly, do all your cleaning away from kids and pets, and make sure the spillage is out of reach. The last thing you want is to bleach into streams and rivers and put aquatic life in danger.
I hope you really found the write-up helpful. If you have any more questions about how to remove mold from plastic outdoor furniture, please drop your comments below, and I will gladly respond to them.