Attack of the plastic spores
September 9, 2007 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me refurbish some deadly lawn furniture.

So, I've moved in to a new house in Guelph, and it's great. The previous owners even left a staggering amount of patio furniture behind. It looks sturdy and clean; the problem is, when you sit on it, you immediately become covered in green plastic dust. It invades clothing, it itches, it makes me sneeze, and it persists for some time. Okay, so it's not exactly murderous, but it is rather annoying. We really like this furniture, and want to keep it, but we have no idea why it's behaving this way and how to clean it. So,

1) Why would plastic lawn furniture do this?
2) Is there any way to rescue it from its current condition?
3) How can we prevent this from happening in the future?
posted by tehloki to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
It sounds like some kind of dried mold. I would power wash it all, maybe by taking all the furniture to a car wash and blasting it there. A diluted bleach solution will also help by killing all the live mold on the furniture.
posted by LarryC at 10:08 AM on September 9, 2007

I know you say plastic dust but is the furniture itself painted metal or plastic?
posted by 517 at 10:11 AM on September 9, 2007

Or is it old wicker? In which case, it could be lead paint dust, beware.
posted by beagle at 10:53 AM on September 9, 2007

Best answer: Plastic degrades in UV (sunlight), and it sounds as though the surface of this furniture is breaking down into the dust you're encountering. I'd think a once-over with steel wool, wash clean, let dry and finish with an opaque spray paint intended for plastic from an automotive supply store would take care of it. Of course, I'd try an inconspicuous test area first to check results.
posted by vers at 11:00 AM on September 9, 2007

I second Vers's comment.
posted by SixteenTons at 4:36 PM on September 9, 2007

Response by poster: It's green plastic, unpainted, and it's probably been sitting in the sun for years; I had no idea that UV light could damage plastic so badly. I'll try testing the steel wool in a small area, but I'm not sure that harsh of an abraisive is necessary, as the dust comes off in spades with the drag of a finger. Would a rough cloth or a pressure washer work?
posted by tehloki at 10:45 AM on September 10, 2007

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