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How to Clean Outdoor Cushions: A Simple Guide


gray and tan outdoor furniture

Warmer weather and longer days mean you are going to naturally spend more time outdoors. This is especially true if you have a comfortable set of outdoor furniture. Because your outdoor furniture is stored outside, it’s eventually going to get much dirtier than your indoor furniture because it is constantly exposed to the weather. Outdoor furniture cushions can accumulate dirt, grime, mold, and other types of stains relatively quickly. 

Outdoor cushions, pillows, canopies, and umbrellas are meant to last for years, but if you don’t care for them properly, you’ll notice a difference much sooner than you’d think. The best way to ensure the longevity of your outdoor or patio furniture is to clean it regularly, and that includes your outdoor cushions.

Cleaning outdoor cushions will depend on the type of stain you’re trying to remove and the type of fabric or material that the cushion is made of. Some patio furniture fabrics are treated with coatings that protect them from UV rays and/or water, so it’s important to check for specific cleaning instructions or restrictions on the cushion tags.

If you’re curious to learn the best way to clean cushions, keep reading!

How to Wash Outdoor Cushions

There are a couple of different methods for washing outdoor cushions. Read ahead to see which way is best for your outdoor furniture.

Supplies You Need for Cleaning Outdoor Cushions:

  • Soft-bristled Brush
  • Spray Bottle
  • Detergent
  • Borax
  • Warm Water
  • Oxygen-based Bleach
sponge held by hand with glove

Clean Outdoor Cushions by Hand Washing

Cleaning outdoor cushions by hand is not as hard as it may seem. Even if your cushions do not have care instructions, most can be cleaned with a homemade outdoor cushion cleaner. The solution consists of 1 tsp. mild dish soap, 1 tsp Borax, and 1 quart of warm water. Combine all of the ingredients in a spray bottle and saturate both sides of the cushion. Let the solution sit for 15-20 minutes, making sure that you don’t allow it to dry completely. Wash the solution off with clean water and stand the cushion on its edge to dry. 

Clean Outdoor Cushions by Washing Machine

Start cleaning outdoor cushions with your washing machine with ease. For some outdoor cushions and patio cushion covers, machine washing is an option, but it’s important to read all of the care instructions listed on the attached tags. Before placing them into the washing machine, shake the cushions and the covers to remove any loose debris and pre-treat any stains. Allow the items to air dry after machine washing. Alternatively, you can place the cushions and covers in the dryer, but be sure to remove them before they are completely dry. 

How to Clean Specific Stains on Outdoor Cushions

Cleaning outdoor cushions may involve spot treating and removing specific stains. It’s best to tackle it right away to ensure that it won’t leave a permanent mark. Read below to learn how to clean common stains on your patio furniture cushions:

How to Clean Outdoor Cushions with Mold Stains

When cleaning mold off outdoor cushions, it’s important to start with a cleaning solution made from one part Borax to four parts warm water, saturate the area on the cushion and use a microfiber cloth to blot out the stain. For tougher stains, allow the solution to sit for 20-30 minutes before blotting. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

How to Clean Outdoor Cushions with Oil Stains

When cleaning oil off of your outdoor patio cushions, try to absorb the excess oil with a cloth and apply an absorbent powder, such as cornstarch, to the soiled area. Allow the powder to sit for around 10-15 minutes and then scrape it away with a straight edge.

How to Clean Outdoor Cushions with Bird Dropping Stains

When trying to clean bird droppings off your outside furniture cushions, start by removing as much of the droppings as you can with a microfiber cloth. Place the cleaning solution you made in the hand-washing section into a spray bottle and spray it on the stain. Allow the solution to soak into the fabric and then clean with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with clean water.

How to Keep Outdoor Cushions Clean

Protect your outdoor furniture by storing it under water-repellant covers or by treating it with a fabric guard spray. Also, get in the habit of routinely checking and cleaning your cushions – don’t let stains sit too long. To keep your outdoor cushions looking brand new, these preventative measures go a long way.

Turn to Mulberrys For Your Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services! 

If cleaning your outdoor furniture cushions starts you on the way to a full household cleaning routine, Mulberrys is here to make it easier than ever! Our professional dry cleaners provide cleaning services for household items like bedding and linens, in addition to everyday laundry service. Contact our dry cleaners in Minneapolis or San Francisco to learn more about all of our cleaning services, including convenient pickup and delivery