How to Fix Faded Aluminum Patio Furniture Using Just ONE Common Household Item

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refresh patio furniture

Do the warmer temperatures have you examining the condition of your outdoor furniture? Did you know that you can refresh sun-faded aluminum patio furniture easily with just one common household item and a little elbow grease! Come on – let’s get your older patio furniture looking shiny and new again!

For this project you’ll need:

Car Wax trick for Patio Furniture Hip2SaveDirections:

  1. Take off cushions and wash/rinse aluminum patio furniture well – I like to use a rag with a little soapy water.
  2. After furniture is completely dry, wipe a section with a thin layer of car wax; note that it will dry within a minute or so.
  3. Using a clean dry cloth, wipe off wax entirely.
  4. As you wipe off the wax, the result will be a smoother, darker, shiny surface.

TIP: The first time I tried this, I left the wax on too long as I was trying to wax both chairs at one time and it was much harder to get the wax off. As a result, I encourage you to try doing one section at a time.

Easy way to fix patio furniture(1)

New patio furniture can be super pricey so this this is a great way to refresh your existing furniture! And if you see a set of second-hand aluminum patio furniture for sale that’s a little faded, now you know how to fix it! The set above we purchased from Costco nine years ago and I’m super excited to see it looking great again and ready for summer!

 Lina ( loves cooking new recipes, thrift store shopping, and DIY home decor projects. 
Join The Discussion

Comments 73

  1. cindy

    Great idea! I spray painted mine when they faded. I think this is a better idea and I cant wait to try it!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Yes that was my instinct too and I will have to do that for my heavy iron set, but this works nicely for aluminum. I feel like it’s less hassle than spray painting 🙂

    • Heather

      You can also use car wax on your facets in the bathroom or kitchen. It helps the facets from getting water marks not to mention toothpaste spray.

      • Iris

        I like the sound of using car to keep bathroom faucets clean! Who knew!!

      • Bernice Falco

        Using it on faucets sound like a great idea and on the patio set both things I can use it for. Thank you!

        • Paula alford

          I have some rust places ….will this still work??

          • Dot

            I know this is late but to get rid of rust take a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side, pour any diet cola on it then rub vigorously on the rust. Crinkle the foil so that is holds the cola. Navel jelly and steel wool also works.

      • denise

        Also on your fiberglass tub surround or fiberglass shower. Water just beads up and off! No soap scum, either.

      • Carol

        Does it work on both chrome & stainless?

  2. irene

    Wow, you are a genius, Lina!!

  3. Ohiogirl

    Thanks Lina this is a great tip! Is there a way to determine if the furniture is aluminum?
    Also, any suggestions for faded patio furniture cushions? TIA

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      So we bought a house that came with an iron table and chairs and it’s so heavy I can’t even lift the chairs easily. There is a HUGE weight difference. The aluminum kind is lightweight.

      I have painted outdoor pillows successfully by adding water to paint and painting the fabric, I have not tried an entire cushion but I’ve seen tutorials online. Maybe research that a little bit.

      I find the lighter cushions don’t fade as much but do look dirty and I scrub with soapy water to wash.

    • keri

      Also, a magnet won’t stick to aluminum, but will to steel or iron.

      • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

        Oh good one

    • Briget

      What about a swing set? Will it work on that?

    • Martha

      You can use chalk paint to paint the cushions. You can buy chalk paint at Lowes and it can be tinted to any color

  4. Luda B

    Wow, I almost bought a new set. Will definitely try it this weekend!

  5. Debbie Rowland

    You can use Armour All for cars to bring life back to your plastic outdoor furniture and planters.

    • Jane

      Do you think Armour All would work on the plastic-y mesh in some aluminum chairs?

  6. Linna

    Every year about this time, I start looking for good deals on patio furniture. I seem to always miss the end of the season sales and don’t think about it again until now. Anyone have any tips on a good place to get patio furniture? We’ve been in our house for 5 years; I think it’s time I just sucked it up and bought some. But I still want to find that deal! 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      I know, new furniture can be so expensive! Try Coscto we just bought two wicker loungers that were twice as much everywhere else. Also a store called At Home had some decent prices on furniture and cushions. Good luck!

      • Ivette Crawford

        Not sure if you have Facebook, but normally there are local sale groups. I’ve purchased 2 at a very good price. I would say Craiglist as well, but I dont use that site.

    • Lori

      If you have craigslist in your area this is a great place to find used patio sets. I have seen some very nice sets for good prices in my area.

    • Candy

      Free cycle is also a good place to look for things like this. EVERYTHING that is listed is free. It’s a great resource, I hate throwing things away that I know someone can use. Happy Hunting:-)

  7. J

    I’ve been nagging hubby for a new set since it’s faded….I think I’ll try this first 😉 Thanks!

  8. thehenrydthoreau

    Coconut oil works. It is also much less toxic especially the Turtle Wax is inhaled and skin can touch while sitting on the furniture.

  9. Bev

    You can do the same on the aluminum around your windows when they oxidize and look faded. Just don’t do it if you plan on painting it in the near future.

    • Lynn S

      I’m sorry so many people with ideas on here I’m getting confused. Do you mean the windows when they start to get that little spotting in black and gray? Does the car wax make the spots go away or just preventit from going further?

  10. Lynn l

    Wow Lina, this looks promising! I will be trying it! Wish I had known with my previous furniture as we spray painted it and eventually got rid of it. Thanks!

  11. Laura

    My dad taught me a little trick with car wax. Wax your painted exterior doors. Slows down the fading. Rain beads right off! 😃

    • keri

      Great idea! My doors are so faded so I’m painting them again this summer. How often does the wax need to be reapplied?

  12. Jeannine

    Lina, thank you so much for sharing this great idea! Now, if only I could find a coupon for the Turtle Wax! Can anyone recommend the best place to purchase this?

  13. Jenn

    For your faded cushions I scrubbed mine and let them dry then sprayed them with Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint – worked like a charm! Says right on can good for fabric.

  14. Tia

    Has anyone gotten new full-size cushions for a good price lately? The lowest I’ve seen is $20 at Walmart, I think.

    • Cafe

      You can check on clearance items at Kohl’s store after summer time . Couple years ago I got them for around $5/each

    • creampuffie

      I saw some decent ones at Aldi for 11.99 each.

      • Tia

        Thank you, both. Gonna keep my eyes open at Aldi’s.

        • creampuffie

          No problem, hope you find some! 🙂

  15. Tina

    Off topic, but I am debating on whether or not to get an aluminum or painted wood pergola. Thoughts?

  16. cindy

    Jenn, thanks for your tip. I have been thinking about painting my cushions I’ve looked at ASCP, martha stewart fabric medium mixed into latex paint and another fabric spray paint (pricey). Krylon sounds like a good option to consider.

    • Jenn

      I was a little scared but read a blog of someone who did it so I went for it. I think I found the spray paint at Walmart. I used red glossy – my cushions have a woven pattern with texture. I did two coats allowing a day in sun to dry in-between. 🙂

  17. Jen

    I also use turtle wax/car polish for my bathtub and sinks. Takes out all of the discolorations and scratches. Looks brand new when your done 🙂

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Great idea!

    • cinderfella1972

      Do not use wax on bathtub or shower floors unless u want 2 break your neck slip n fall! U can use on walls shower doors and fixtures are safe.

  18. Grateful

    Good idea Lina!

  19. Lhcmom77

    Thx! Collin! Love this and am going to definitely try it!

  20. your friend

    Thanks Lina. I am totally going to do this soon. Thank you!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Sure! Thanks for reading

  21. Karen Farmer Harrison

    Has anyone replace the mesh fabric in the aluminium chairs before? They have a track that they fit into but I dont know where to buy the replacements. Now that I waxed up the frame of the chairs the fabric needs replacing.

    • Teresa

      Did it. Ordered online from a Slingmasters Store in Florida. Got all new replacement parts like caps and the tube that fits in the tracks. Sewed the fabric and put it back on the frames ourselves. My patio set is now 18 years old and I still love it!

  22. Kim

    I wonder if wax would work on my exterior window trim? Thoughts?

  23. Tamara moeller

    Is this only recommended for aluminum or does it work on iron too?

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      No does not do well on iron.

      • gretta1018

        I use WD Forty for iron takes the rust right off just spray and leave it on and it comes out shining,

  24. Chantal Savinon-Soto

    Hi Lina,
    Will this work on a lightly scratched aluminum patio table? It came factory painted and I don’t want to paint it,as I love the original color. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • Lina (Hip's Modern Martha)

      Mine were scratched a little from normal use and they looked better–maybe try on a small area first? good luck!

  25. John Debbie Gaedecke

    have you tried the wax on childrens outdoor climbing gym. does it make it to slippery for them to climb

  26. Lise

    I followed these directions and my table looked better, however after the first rain horrible white spots showed up everywhere. My table looks terrible. Not sure what to do know.

  27. Debbie Quinn

    I own a powder coating shop. This is a paint process that comes on all new outdoor furniture. We can re-coat your old furniture and make it brand new again . The cost is considerably less than buying new.
    Check out Atlas Protective Coatings in Denton Texas.

  28. Grace Nepa

    How do i remove dry up car wax off my wrough iron furniture

  29. Randall

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    If you would like too start to see the many different choices or selection of tub chairs, go online the world
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  30. Lo

    I tried it as well, it looked great at first but now has a white coating that has been there a year and I can’t rub it off, buff it off, tried to power wash it, etc. It looked better before I put the wax on. Be cautious!

    • Lynn M Crain

      I agree, I totally ruined my set by using Turtle Wax. Any suggestions of how to remove wax?

      • Lynn

        I contacted turtle wax. They suggested Dawn dish soap. With A LOT of elbow grease, it did work! Soapy water, scrub brush and green scotch pad did the trick. May have to repeat again tomorrow but back to original finish.

        • Debbie

          Thank you sooooooooo much for this post. You’ve saved a lot of people from doing a whole lot of work. Have you tried anything else to “revitalize” your furniture???

    • Linda Gourley

      The same thing happened to me. It looks worse now, all white looking like wax unpolished. Help!!! Ruined a $2000 set!

  31. Dwight Ambroz

    Just seen this great article if you are ready to plan your holidays for next year. Have a look, its good to know.

  32. Christine Dugan

    Wow, what a good idea. Already added Turtle Wax to my shopping list!
    I have another question: Do you know how to clean oil-rubbed bronze shower heads?

  33. Kim

    Tried that on the faded arms of my patio chair. It did nothing!

  34. Gurpreet

    I tried the wax and it became chalky and the chalky finish doesn’t come off ? Made it all patchy/ chalky and duller and worse than before ? How do I get it to look glossy ?

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      The wax will dry fast. If you put it on sections and then wipe off it will come off and be glossy. If you try to do the whole thing at once, it may stay on too long and look like that.

    • Barbara

      Were you able to make it look nice again? This happened to me too. The instructions that came with the set told me to use Turtle Wax to protect it. Huge mistake.

  35. Susan

    My Threshold metal chairs from Target had tags that advised car wax to protect the finish (black), but it ruined it, as noted above! All chalky looking and soap and water hasn’t helped. I was going to buy more but not now. My chairs are ruined.

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