How to Clean Outdoor Cushions

Outdoor cushions come in a wide array of colors and styles that allow you to add a decorative flair to your yard and patio furniture while providing comfortable seating for you and your guests. While outdoor fabrics are more durable than their indoor counterparts, they still require regular cleaning and maintenance. Check out our guide below on how to clean outdoor cushions.

Read the Instructions

Before you begin cleaning your outdoor furniture, look at the tags on the different cushions in order to see what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning, as well as what could potentially damage the fabrics. If there is no tag on the furniture, most manufacturers have instructions available on their websites to help you clean your cushions most effectively without doing harm.

Prevent the Need for Deep Cleaning

The best way to clean is to avoid the hard work in the first place! Preventative maintenance can be very simple. Regular scrub brushing of cushion surfaces with a whiskbroom will help prevent plant debris stains and bird droppings from permanently setting. After a heavy rain, turn the cushions on their side to make them dry more quickly. If food or drink splatters onto them, clean it up quickly with a paper towel or a clean rag. It is always a good idea to keep a spray bottle on hand that is filled with a cleaning solution made of four cups of water, one teaspoon of dishwashing soap and one tablespoon of borax. If you notice a stain, spray it with the solution, let it soak for 15 minutes and then rinse it with cool water to remove any soap residue. Leave all treated fabrics to air dry. The drying time will depend on both the size and fabric of the cushions cleaned.

Heavy Soil on Fabrics

While the outdoors may cause wear and tear on your cushions, they can often be rejuvenated with a thorough cleaning. If you store your cushions during certain parts of the year, the best time for this cleaning is right before you put them into storage. To clean cushions without covers, create a solution of one-fourth cup of clear liquid detergent and one gallon of lukewarm water. Sponge this solution onto your fabrics, then rinse thoroughly with a garden hose to remove the detergent residue. Set the cushions on their edge to dry.

If you wish to wash removable cushion covers by hand, soak a solution of one fourth a cup of clear liquid detergent into a gallon of lukewarm water. Rinse the covers thoroughly to remove the detergent residue and leave them to air dry. If the tags say that the removable cushion covers are machine washable, set the water temperature to cool, use the regular amount of laundry detergent in the machine and then add one cup of chlorine bleach to each load before air drying.

Mold and Mildew

Over time, outdoor cushions can begin to develop mold and mildew. If your pillows smell unclean, you may not have to throw them out — simply use a stronger solution to get them clean. Mix one cup of chlorine bleach, a fourth cup of liquid detergent, and one gallon of water together. Saturate the affected areas with the solution and brush them with a soft bristle brush. Let the cushions soak for 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with a garden hose to remove the bleach and detergent residues. Stand the cushions on their side to air dry.

Keep in mind that bleach should be used sparingly and only when the stains do not respond to milder treatments. If you use bleach over time, the chlorine will weaken the fabric fibers and may alter the colors and patterns on your cushions. Be wary about where you clean with bleach, as you do not want to harm the soil, water or other furniture around it. If you do use it, you may want to re-apply a fabric guard to your furniture following the cleaning.

At Perry Homes, we want to help every part of your home be as spotless as possible. Take a look at our blog for more how-to guides on cleaning your home and take a look at our beautiful new homes for sale.