A metal swing set will eventually become rusted from the rain, and wood swing sets may weaken and deteriorate because of water and UV damage. Painting a swing set can extend its life if you use products that will protect the set from the elements.
Combine equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a bucket; add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture to create suds.
Scrub the metal swing set thoroughly with the soapy mixture using a stiff scrub brush to remove all dirt and any flaking paint.
Wipe the swing set dry. The swing set must be completely dry because any water left behind on the metal could cause rust.
Remove the swings and chains from the set to avoid spraying paint on them.
If the swing set has a slide, cover the top of it with butcher paper and secure the paper with painter's tape. Paint will not stick well to the surface of the slide and can come off on children's clothing, causing stains.
Paint the swing set with a rust-inhibiting metal primer. Choose a spray-paint primer to make application easier.
When the primer is dry, apply spray paint in your chosen colour to the swing set. Any spray paint will cling to the primer you applied first.
When the paint is completely dry, reattach the swing chains and remove the paper from the slide.
Sand any rough edges on the swing set with 150- or 180-grit sandpaper. You can also sand away flaking paint.
Spray the wood swing set with the hose to remove all dust created during sanding and any dirt. Allow the set to dry.
Apply a wood protector to the swing set. Choose a product with both water and UV protection to extend the life of your set.
When the wood protector is dry, paint the swing set with the exterior latex paint.
If your swing set already exhibits signs of damage and has weak spots, you should consider replacing the set rather than painting it to avoid injuries that could occur if the swing set breaks during use.