Like the stylish and luxurious pieces from Harbor Classic, high-quality outdoor furniture is specifically designed to withstand the worst that you and the outdoors can throw at it. From time to time though, you will still need to clean your cushions to keep them looking there best, which is where this guide on how to clean outdoor furniture cushions can help.
Whether it’s oily sunscreen smudges on your outdoor loungers or spilled food and drink on the cushions of your outdoor dining chairs, your patio furniture cushions are bound to need cleaning from time to time. And when you combine the wear of regular use with the potential damage caused by wind, rain, trees, birds, bugs, and other critters, it’s easy to see how quickly even the most carefully maintained furnishings can begin to look dingy or dirty.
However, knowing how to clean patio furniture and creating a regular cleaning routine for your patio furniture is a simple way to keep it well-maintained, extend its life for as long as possible, and ensure that it stays in your family for generations to come.
So take advantage of this guide and learn how to clean outdoor furniture cushions.
Wash Your Outdoor Furniture Cushions Before You Store Them
The first tip to cleaning your outdoor furniture cushions is to always wash them before storing them away for the next season. That way, when you take them out and place them on your outdoor chair, they are already clean and ready to go. Plus, if you put them away dirty, the dirt and potential mold could be much more difficult to clean later on.
Depending on how your outdoor cushions were stored, you may need to give them a light cleaning when putting that back out, but it won't take much.
Protective Fabric Sprays
Outdoor cushions typically come with a waterproof coating that helps with preventing water damage and also staining. From time to time, though, it is good to use a protective fabric spray to restore the coating. And, of course, if your cushions do not have the coating already, protect them with a fabric spray at the beginning.
However, before you apply these protective sprays on your cushions, make sure you thoroughly clean them. Cleaning them will prevent sealing the dirt and stains on your cushions.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions With Removable Covers
Some outdoor furniture cushions come with removable covers. And more often than not, these are machine washable. So to clean them, it is as easy as reading the washing instructions and then popping them into the washing machine when needed.
A good quality stain remover can be your best friend for stubborn stains. With the right stain remover, those stubborn stains on your outdoor furniture cushions don't stand a chance!
And then, once all of your cushion covers are clean, allow them to air dry as needed before putting them back on the cushions.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions Without a Removable Cover
Although it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s specifications before using any particular cleaner on outdoor furniture or cushions, there are a few time-tested tips and tricks that work no matter your specific design. Here are some general guidelines you can follow on how to clean outdoor furniture cushions.
Cleaning Outdoor Cushions: What You’ll Need
There’s a good chance that you already have all the supplies you need to clean your outdoor cushions at home. You’ll need:
- A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
- A soft bristle laundry brush
- Dishwashing detergent
- Borax or baking soda
- Garden Hose
- Towels/Cotton Cloths
Once you have your supplies, you’re ready to start cleaning.
Cleaning Outdoor Patio Cushions: Step-By-Step
In most cases, you can sufficiently clean your patio cushions in a few easy steps. Here’s the best way to clean outdoor cushions:
- Step 1: Vacuum clean — Clean up the loose grime from the cushions using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, taking care extra around decorative elements such as buttons. Also, pay attention to the crevices and clear up all the dirt that could be hidden there. Stowaway dirt will likely get wet and stuck in the cracks when you move on to the next steps.
- Step 2: Scrub – Mix a tablespoon of mild dish detergent with a quarter cup of borax or baking soda in a 5-gallon bucket of water. Spray the solution directly onto the furniture cushion or dip a soft-bristled laundry brush in it. Gently scrub the outdoor fabric with the brush.
- Step 3: Alternative cleaning solution – If you aren’t a fan of chemicals, try a natural cleaning solution. (Bonus: this is also better for the planet). Just mix a quarter cup of distilled vinegar into four cups of lukewarm water. Spray the solution onto the cushions generously and let it soak through for at least 15 minutes. Scrub the stained area with a soft bristle brush.
- Step 4: Rinse with a garden hose – After scrubbing, use a garden hose to rinse the patio furniture cushions thoroughly using plenty of water. Use medium water pressure as high pressure can damage the outdoor fabric as well as the loft of the cushions.
- Step 6: Dry – Squeeze the cushions tightly to drain excess water. Then, blot with towels or cotton cloths to soak up as much water as you can. Squeeze the cloth to remove water and repeat. Place the furniture cushion in an upright position and allow them to air-dry completely. Choosing a sunny spot can speed up the drying process.
Wondering how to clean Sunbrella cushions? Follow the above steps—just be sure to use a brush with very soft bristles or swap it out for a sponge.
How to Clean Stubborn Stains on Outdoor Cushions
If you find a stubborn stain that didn’t go away the first time, give it a second round of scrubbing. If it doesn’t work (for example, on stubborn grass stains), you can use an enzyme stain remover. Use the brush to scrub the dish detergent on the stain and then rinse well.
Here are a few more tips that will help with stubborn stains.
Don't Wait to Clean: From the get-go, a stain should be immediately treated if possible. As mentioned above, grass stains can be removed by using detergents containing enzymes.
Cleaning Oil Stains: For oil stains that can come from sunscreen or food, sprinkle baking soda on the stain. Wait for at least 15 minutes to allow the oil to be absorbed. Scrap off the residual powder with a ruler or a credit card. Repeat the process until the stain is completely removed.
Cleaning Mildew Stains: For mildew, scrape off as much as possible with a brush. Avoid spreading the spores, though. Spray the affected area with distilled white vinegar. Or place a clean cloth soaked in white vinegar over the stain. Wait for at least ten minutes. Then, scrub the area with a small amount of dishwashing detergent using a wet sponge. Rinse and let dry completely.
How Often Should You Clean Outdoor Furniture?
How often you need to clean your patio furniture will depend greatly on your climate and the environment in which your patio furniture is situated. In other words, if you place it beneath a tree that’s constantly dropping leaves, twigs, and other debris, you’ll likely have to clean it more often than if it’s set up under a Sunbrella, under a covered porch, or in a sunroom.
However, a good rule of thumb is to start with once a month during the seasons you use the furniture most, then adjust frequency as needed.
Everyday spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent deep stains.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions Conclusion
If you are someone who heads straight to their outdoor living space as soon as the sun shines, you'll definitely need clean cushions. With the tips and tricks in this article on how to clean outdoor furniture cushions, you can know that you will always have a clean and comfy place to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
For inspiration on creating your perfect outdoor space, check out our design inspiration. Quality, beauty, durability, and affordability are all part of the Harbor Classic brand promise.
Sunbrella. How To Clean Sunbrella Upholstery Fabric. https://www.sunbrella.com/clean-sunbrella-upholstery