Have you ever sat down on your outdoor cushions and been hit with a musty smell? It’s not the most pleasant experience. But don’t worry. There are ways to get rid of that pesky odor.
The musty smell can occur if your outdoor cushions have been left out in the rain or stored away for too long.
In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks on removing the musty smell from your outdoor cushions. We’ll also advise preventing future smells so you never have to deal with them again.
What Causes Musty Smells in Outdoor Cushions?
Musty smells in outdoor cushions can be caused by various factors, including moisture buildup, mold and mildew growth, and bacteria growth.
When outdoor cushions are exposed to rain, humidity, or other moisture sources, the fabric can absorb the moisture and create a damp environment where mold, mildew, and bacteria thrive.
You may also have a musty smell on your outdoor sofa if your dog brings dirt and dander onto it.
Over time, all this can lead to a musty odor that can be difficult to remove.
Additionally, suppose your outdoor cushions are stored in a damp or humid area, such as a basement or garage. In that case, they may develop a musty smell due to the high moisture levels in the air.
It’s essential to address the underlying cause of the musty smell to effectively eliminate it and prevent it from returning in the future.
How to Get Musty Smell Out?
1. Sun-Drying And Vacuuming
Getting rid of musty smells from outdoor cushions can be as simple as sun-drying and vacuuming. Yes, you read that right – just two steps might solve the smelly problem.
First things first: get those cushions out in the hot and dry summer sun! Place them outdoors on a flat surface (on an airy grate, not on the ground) where they’ll get direct sunlight all day.
With enough heat and UV rays, any bacteria or mold causing the musty smell should start dying off quickly. Plus, it’s an incredibly efficient way to dry up any lingering moisture so no dampness will be left behind after washing.
But don’t forget about vacuuming too! Even though the sun may do most of the work, a thorough vacuum job will help even more. It’ll pick up dust particles and dirt not visible to the naked eye that could still cause odors if left unchecked.
2. Deodorizing With Natural Ingredients
Now that you’ve sun-dried and vacuumed your outdoor cushions to remove the musty smell, it’s time to take it one step further. Deodorizing with natural ingredients is a great way to ensure the odors are gone for good!
This method might initially sound intimidating, but don’t worry – it’s quite simple.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let it sit there overnight. This will help absorb any lingering smells while also adding a pleasant aroma of its own.
- Add a few drops of essential oil for an extra scent boost.
- The following day, brush off the baking soda, and voila – no more musty odor!
Plus, by using natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals, you’re helping out Mother Nature and your patio furniture.
If your outdoor cushions have mildew:
- Spray them with white distilled vinegar using a spray bottle. Scrub with a soft-bristled brush, and allow the vinegar to soak for 10-20 minutes.
- Wash the vinegar away with a soap solution (lukewarm water with mild detergent). Brush with a clean cloth or sponge.
- To finish, rinse all the vinegar and soap residue with a garden hose.
- Before using the cushion again, let it air-dry completely in a sunny spot.
3. Products to Get Rid of Musty Smells
You can also use enzyme deodorizers to kill smells from your outdoor chairs and couches. The enzymes in them digest pet odors and other things that cause musty odors.
Besides cushions, you can spray the patio area to remove the smells from your outdoor space. This can help eliminate pet stains, dog or cat urine, etc.
You can start with a small amount of deodorizer first and then increase from there. You just let it soak in and dry naturally.
To be safe (discoloration, etc.), testing it in an inconspicuous area is always recommended.
In addition to killing the smell, it leaves behind a pleasant citrus scent.
These products are also pet-friendly (but pets may be sensitive to concentrated levels of these kinds of enzymes).
4. Machine Washing the Removable Covers
In case of persistent odors, the cushions should be washed in a washer or manually.
Machine washing can effectively get a musty smell out of outdoor fabrics.
Some outdoor cushions have removable covers that can be easily machine washed.
Please read the care instructions to ensure they can be tossed in the machine (and do not put the foam insert into the machine).
- First, remove any loose dirt or debris from the cushions.
- Then, place the cushions in a washing machine with mild detergent.
- Adding distilled white vinegar to the wash cycle can help eliminate odors (or use a laundry additive specifically designed to eliminate odors).
- Set the machine to a gentle cycle with mild water.
- Avoid using any fabric softeners or bleach.
- After the cycle is complete, air-dry completely before using them again.
You should run the cycle twice if that nasty odor persists.
If machine washing is not possible, you can hand wash the cushions.
First, remove dirt and dust from fabrics using a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Make sure you clean seams and decorative elements carefully.
- Use a mild detergent mixed with warm water (for example, mix one or two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with a bucket of warm water). Add a few drops of flavored essential oil (eucalyptus, lemon, lavender) to make the covers smell fresh.
- If you have removable cushion covers, soak them gently in the cleaning solution and sponge or scrub brush. Rinse with clean water, and let air-dry in the sun.
- 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, and let them air-dry.
- If the cushions cannot withstand getting wet, only spot clean dirty areas.
If stubborn stains and dirty spots persist, apply more cleaning solution and gently rub it out.
How to Eliminate the Musty Smell in Outdoor Cushions in the Future?
To prevent the musty smell in the future, it’s essential to clean and store your cushions properly.
This includes regularly cleaning the cushions and allowing them to dry fully before storing them in a dry, well-ventilated area.
Avoid storing them in damp basements or garages.
When storing the cushions, try to store them vertically rather than stacking them.
This will allow air to circulate around them and prevent any moisture from being trapped between the cushions, which can cause a musty smell. And it prevents compression and sagging of the pads.
Use a breathable cover, such as a canvas storage bag, if needed.
It’s also helpful to use moisture-absorbing products like silica gel packets to prevent any moisture buildup in the storage area.
Additionally, avoid leaving patio furniture cushions outside overnight in damp or humid weather conditions.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let a musty smell ruin your outdoor relaxation time.
With these simple tips, you can easily get your patio furniture cushions smelling fresh and clean again.
Remember regular cleaning. And always properly store your cushions when not in use to prevent future mustiness.