How To Clean Outdoor Cushions (Extend the Life of Your Patio Cushions)

Are your patio cushions covered in last season’s dirt, grime, and stains? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Cleaning outdoor patio cushions doesn’t have to be a daunting chore.

With some simple steps, you’ll be able to get your patio furniture cushions sparkling clean in no time. Plus, knowing that you’ve taken care of them will give you peace of mind for future outdoor gatherings.

So let’s dive into the tips and tricks of cleaning patio cushions.

Machine Wash if Possible

Some patio cushions, typically pillows, have removable covers that can be machine washed.

If the care label indicates that the cushions are machine washable, follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the cushions. Typically, they can be washed in the machine this way:

  • First, remove any loose dirt or debris from the cushions.
  • Then, place the cushions in the washing machine with mild detergent and set the machine to a gentle cycle with cold water.
  • Do not use hot water or bleach, which can damage the fabric.
  • Once the cycle is complete, air-dry the cushions completely before putting them back on your patio furniture.

Hand Washing

Brush off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the cushions with a soft-bristled brush (or simply shake them). And you can use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment for the best results.

Seams and decorative elements can hide dirt, so be careful with these.

Depending on the type of cushion fabric, several cleaners can be used to clean off any unwanted blemishes from your patio furniture.

Here are a few tips for stain removal:

  • First, use a mild detergent mixed with warm water (for example, mix one or two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with a bucket of warm water).
  • Soak removable cushion covers in the cleaning solution and sponge or scrub brush gently. Rinse with clean water, and let air-dry in the sun. Note: drying the patio cushions takes a lot of time.
  • If you can’t remove the covers, apply the soapy water gently to the cushion with a cloth or sponge. Let it sit awhile. Then rinse the cushions with a garden hose, gently squeeze the excess water out, and let them air-dry.
  • If the cushions cannot withstand getting wet, only spot clean dirty areas.

If a stubborn dirty spot persists, apply more cleaning solution and gently rub it out.

How to Remove Tough Stains

Mold and mildew, tree sap, bird droppings, grease, oil, barbecue sauce, other food residues, grass, blood, and wine can all stain outdoor cushions.

Cleaning these stubborn stains requires a slightly different approach and sometimes different products.

Water and mild soap can be used to treat most liquid stains (like wine):

  • Dry the stain with a clean cloth.
  • Apply a solution of mild soap and lukewarm water to the stain (with a spray bottle or a cloth).
  • It is better to clean a larger area than just the visible stain.
  • With a low-pressure garden hose, rinse away the soap residue.
  • Allow the fabric to air dry.

If the fabric has greasy stains, treat it with a strong degreaser for 20-30 minutes. Wipe the entire surface with a sponge. Rinse with a garden hose in a low-pressure setting until the solution is gone. Allow the fabric to air dry.

We have another piece of article on how to spot and clean mildew from patio cushions.

Protecting And Storage

Now that your patio cushions are clean and dry, it’s time to protect them from the elements.

  • Storing cushions in a cool, dry place when not in use is key for the long-term durability of outdoor furniture.
  • If you don’t have a storage space, consider weatherproofing cushions with specially designed cushion covers or store indoors during extreme temperatures.

Cushion covers come in many styles and colors to match any outdoor decor – be sure to select one made from waterproof material for maximum protection.

You can also try using plastic bags or tarps to cover the cushions while they’re outside.

No matter how much you clean and protect them, your patio cushions will eventually wear out. To ensure that yours last as long as possible, maintain regular cleaning and inspect for signs of damage or fading colors.

You can prevent costly replacements later on by taking good care of and cleaning your patio furniture regularly!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Cleaning Solution Should I Use?

The type of cleaning solution you should use to clean patio cushions depends on the material of the cushions.

  • If your patio cushions are made of fabric, you can use a mixture of mild detergent and water.
  • For tougher stains, you can use a fabric cleaner designed explicitly for outdoor cushions.
  • If your patio cushions are made of vinyl or plastic, you can use a mixture of water and mild soap or a vinyl cleaner.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any cleaning products you use and test a small, inconspicuous area of the cushion first to ensure it doesn’t damage the material.

What Is The Best Way To Protect My Cushions From The Weather?

If you want your patio cushions looking good as new for years to come, there are a few simple steps you can take:

  1. Apply protective coating on all sides of the cushions. This helps keep the rain away and prevents color fading due to sun exposure.
  2. Cover them when not in use with an appropriate cover that breathes so moisture doesn’t build up underneath them. Keep covers clean and dry at all times!
  3. Store indoors during winter months if possible. Prolonged exposure to rain, moisture, and cold temperatures can damage fabrics over time.
  4. Clean regularly by spot-treating spills quickly, vacuuming dirt off surfaces, brushing away pet hair, etc., so mildew won’t have a chance to form.

Cushions kept outside for a long time must be weather-resistant and durable. But can patio cushions be left outside overnight? Our other article discusses this in more detail.

By following these tips, you can extend the life of your outdoor cushions, no matter which fabric type or color you have.

How Often Should I Clean My Patio Cushions?

Cleaning frequency varies depending on the type of material and how much use they receive, but you can follow some simple guidelines.

  • For fabric-covered cushions, giving them a light brushing or vacuum at least once every two weeks is a good idea. This helps remove dirt and debris before embedding into the fabric.
  • If your cushions are used frequently, you may need to brush more often – perhaps weekly – to avoid the build-up of dust and dirt particles.
  • Waterproof fabrics such as vinyl can be wiped down with a damp cloth when necessary; however, if possible, try not to get these too wet as this could cause mold or mildew growth over time.

In terms of deep cleaning your patio cushions, this should usually occur around twice per year – once in early spring just before the start of the summer season and then again during fall cleanup before winter storage.

Depending on how much your cushions are in use, consider an additional mid-season deep cleaning session sometime during late summertime.

Can I Use A Pressure Washer To Clean My Cushions?

Using a pressure washer to clean patio cushions is not recommended, as the high pressure can damage the fabric and cause it to tear or fray. 

Instead, clean with a mix of mild soap and water using a cloth, and rinse gently with a low-pressure garden hose.

Is It Necessary To Wash My Outdoor Cushions With Soap And Water?

Yes, it is necessary to wash patio cushions with soap and water. This will help to remove dirt, stains, and any other debris that may have accumulated on the cushions over time.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the cushions is essential, as some materials may require specific care.

The Bottom Line

Taking care of your patio cushions is essential to maintaining your outdoor space.

If you clean them regularly, you avoid any buildup of dirt and grime.

But be careful when drying them, as it takes a lot of time to dry a chair or sofa cushions after you’ve rinsed all the cleaning solutions out of them. So don’t start the deep cleaning process at the last minute!

Read more: How To Choose Outdoor Cushions? (Top Things To Look For!)

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