The items in the pictures below happen to be plastic beach beds, but the same requirements could apply to upcycling old plastic items and needing to clean them first, or other crafting needs.

I left these outside during winter and they put on a layer of something. They are plastic and and I was wondering if anyone knows what can be used to clean them easier?

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    Welcome to Arts & Crafts. I posted an answer, but I'm not sure how on-topic this is for the site. There are a couple of other sites that might be a better fit--Home Improvement (stuff that isn't part of the house is off-topic there, so you would want to make the question more general; e.g., lichen on vinyl siding would be on-topic, so make it a more general question about removing lichen from plastic, or mention siding to make topicality more obvious), and maybe Gardening & Landscaping (not sure about the scope of that site but you're a member). (cont'd) – fixer1234 Apr 19 at 17:10
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    If the question gets push-back, you might want to ask a moderator to migrate the question. Good luck with this. – fixer1234 Apr 19 at 17:11
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is about the maintenance of furniture, and as such has nothing to do with arts or crafts. – Joachim Apr 19 at 18:49
  • @fixer1234 Certainly not on topic at Gardening and Landscaping SE. – Stephie Apr 20 at 16:27
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    Unfortunately maintenance, even for cleaning something that's going to be upcycled and used in a craft, isn't really on-topic for our site. – Erica May 2 at 21:20

That looks like lichen. On plastic, you can probably remove it with just soapy water and a bristle brush or nylon scrubbing pad (but don't use something abrasive enough to scratch up the plastic or it will provide more surface for the next round of it to adhere to).

It may help to first spray the lichen with vinegar, full strength with a little added soap as a wetting agent. Wet the lichen well and let it dry. Give it a few days for the lichen to die, then clean it as above. I've also had good luck spraying it with household (sudsing) ammonia at the concentration recommended for cleaning, then giving it a few days before washing. For really stubborn cases, do either treatment regimen and if some remains, repeat with the other (but don't mix vinegar and ammonia to try to combine both in one treatment; they will neutralize each other).

If you have a pressure washer, that should remove it with no special treatment, but start with a lower pressure (wider angle) nozzle and some distance to use the minimum pressure needed for cleaning without damaging the plastic.

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