How to Clean Oxidized White Plastic

Written by kallie johnson
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How to Clean Oxidized White Plastic
When exposed to oxygen for long periods of time, white plastic chairs can oxidise. (plastic chairs in the amphitheatre image by Ivan Hafizov from

Oxidation is a naturally occurring process that occurs when a solid, such as a plastic or metal, comes into contact with oxygen for long periods of time. Although oxidation is most common in metal, it can occur with plastic. It can make clear plastic look cloudy or leave behind a white, powder-like coating on white and coloured plastics. Typically, it only occurs in items that have been left outside for prolonged periods of time, such as plastic outdoor chairs and children's outdoor toys. Because plastic is a durable, easy-to-clean product, removing oxidation is a simple process.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Hose
  • Spray bottle
  • Bleach or vinegar

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  1. 1

    Fill a small bucket with warm water.

  2. 2

    Sprinkle baking soda over the oxidised plastic.

  3. 3

    Dip a sponge in the warm water. Scrub the baking soda into the plastic. The baking soda is slightly abrasive, allowing it to clean the surface of the plastic and remove oxidisation. Continue cleaning until all oxidisation is removed.

  4. 4

    Rinse the item under cool running water. If the plastic item is large, such as a plastic slide or outdoor playhouse, rinse the item with a house.

  5. 5

    Combine one part bleach to four parts water in a spray bottle. Coat the surface of the oxidised white plastic with the mixture. Not only does this ensure all oxidation is removed, it also removes and prevents mildew and mould. Only use this mixture on clear and white plastic. It can discolour coloured plastic. For coloured plastic, replace the bleach with vinegar. Allow the mixture to soak into the plastic for 10 to 20 minutes.

  6. 6

    Rinse the item under cool water or with a hose.

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