How to Clean Patio Furniture Cushions

Patio furniture cushions must withstand harsh sunlight, rainstorms, dust and dirt accumulation, wine spills and sunblock splatters without becoming degraded over time. Luckily, cleaning these outdoor fabrics is relatively straightforward.

At first, carefully follow the care instructions for your cushions and adhere to them closely. Next, gather all necessary tools and materials; depending on the stain type you may require borax or bleach (using gloves and a mask if applicable). Finally, rinse and dry your cushions thoroughly.


No matter whether you enjoy lounging around on the deck or poolside, keeping outdoor furniture clean is crucial to its lifespan and wellbeing. Dust, mildew and mold, tree sap, bird droppings and other environmental contaminants are commonplace, even with heavy-duty fabric made for patio cushions designed to withstand environmental factors like the elements. While durable fabrics like these typically withstand the occasional wine spill or sunblock smudge, ensuring regular cleaning schedules with stain treatment should help extend their lives for as long as possible.

As part of your patio cushion cleanup effort, start by brushing or vacuuming away any loose dirt and debris accumulated on cushion covers and fabrics. This will prevent your cleanup effort from expanding into an all-out deep clean effort. If your cushions feature removable covers that need to be washed separately, follow any specific care tag instructions before air drying your pillow cases before returning them to patio furniture.

If your cushions have mild stains and dirt, or have become dull due to long exposure to the elements, create your own cleaning solution by mixing water, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and a scoop of oxygen-based bleach such as OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover in a bucket. Dip a soft bristled brush in this solution before thoroughly brushing each cushion; pay special attention to problem spots along the sides and corners.

For particularly stubborn stains, switch to a hard-bristled brush or scourge pad. After using these items on the problem area, blot it dry with a dry cloth to absorb excess oil before applying more cleaning solution and continuing scrubbing and blotting until all traces of staining have vanished.

As the final step, use a garden hose to thoroughly rinse the cushions, paying particular attention to problem areas where stains had settled. Blot your cushions dry using a dry towel so that any additional water drains away before placing them out on a clean surface for air drying. Once completely dry, they can be pressed and put back onto patio furniture.


Outdoor cushions should be professionally cleaned at least every couple of months or more frequently if you host frequent outdoor parties. Mild hand soap and water should be sufficient to clean most fabrics; if however, heavy stains or mold/mildew build-up or other signs of more serious deterioration arises then more intensive solutions such as oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean) or commercial cleaner formulated specifically for outdoor fabrics will likely be required for effective cleaning.

To clean your cushion, first vacuum it thoroughly to remove loose dirt and debris. Next, spray a mixture of 1/4 cup white vinegar mixed with 4 cups of warm water onto its fabric surface of patio furniture cushions and let it set for 15 minutes before applying scrub brushes or sponges to scrub away at it (check for and pretreat any stains as necessary (see “Removing Stains” section below)). Finally rinse your fabric cushions off using medium or low pressure with cool water; dry them using towels afterward so they may air dry naturally.

If your patio furniture features a removable canvas cover, it is wise to remove it before beginning to clean the pillows and cushions within. Doing this can save both time and effort when cleaning these cushions; additionally it prevents moisture and dirt from seeping into their inner structures and further damaging your frame of furniture.

Outdoor cushions should be washed by hand using a mild dishwashing detergent mixed with water. Make sure that you read and follow all instructions on the label of your cleaning product for best results.

If you can’t remove your cushion covers, an effective alternative would be a homemade solution containing oxygen-based bleach such as OxiClean in a spray bottle. Be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area first. Also follow manufacturer directions carefully so the solution mixes properly.


Patio furniture cushions must withstand harsh environmental conditions to remain beautiful, such as direct sunlight, pouring rain, dirt and dust build-up, sunblock splatters and wine spills – which all leave their mark. When stain or discolorations occurs on your cushions it’s important to act quickly to prevent further staining and discoloration; either vacuum or brush them thoroughly to remove loose dirt. Also take this opportunity to brush or wipe down the frame of your furniture!

When it comes to mild stains, your regular soap and water cleaning solution should suffice – just be sure to test a small area first to make sure everything works as promised!

If the stain is more serious, try treating it first with an absorbent powder such as cornstarch. Scatter some onto the area that needs treating and leave for 10-15 minutes so it can absorb excess oil or possibly make it disappear entirely before using a soft cloth or sponge to blot away from it with. When finished, rinse your cushion off before blotting with a clean towel to ensure all trace of stains have been eliminated.

For stubborn stains, soak your cushions. For fabric such as Sunbrella that is machine-safe, follow the care instructions on its tag before machine-drying them on low or delicate cycles if possible.

If your fabric cannot be machine-washed, an alternative way of getting a thorough cleaning may still be possible: combine equal parts washing up liquid and Vanish Oxi Action powder in one liter of warm water and combine into a solution that you spray onto cushion covers for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with garden hose or power washer set at low pressure pressure; using soft-bristled brush or sponge agitate the fabric as you rinse until all soapy residue has been eliminated; finally allow to air-dry in well-ventilated area until completely fluffed back up into shape!


One of the best ways to keep your cushions looking their best is through regular cleanings with soft brushes or vacuums with upholstery or crevice nozzles, in particular. Use either of these tools with soft bristles to gently brush away dirt, dust, and debris that could get embedded in fabric later. It is also wise to dust them periodically; doing this will prevent dirt from becoming embedded and prolong the life of your cushions.

When it comes time to wash your pillows and cushions, first consult their care instructions. If these include using a gentle cycle and air drying them afterwards, that should get things underway; otherwise continue reading for some helpful advice.

Create a clean working area by spreading a plastic tarp on your patio or outdoor space to create an organized work zone. Remove cushions affixed to furniture pieces and move them all to the tarp, followed by mixing water and laundry detergent or bleach to the ratio of 4 parts bleach per gallon of water; you may add additional tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent or OxiClean Versatile Stain and Odor Remover Powder as needed in the mixture in order to improve colors while eliminating stubborn stains.

Dip a soft bristle nylon scrub brush into the solution, and begin scrubbing each cushion, starting from the top and working your way down to ensure all areas such as seams, edges and piping have been addressed. If any stubborn stain or mildew emerges during this step, pretreat it prior to continuing scrubb.

As soon as you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse the cushions thoroughly with clean water, gently squeeze excess moisture from the fabric, blotting each one with a dry cloth to blot any spots that remain, and place back onto furniture to fluff up again as soon as they’re completely dry. After they’ve been cleaned it’s important to protect them from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures in order to protect from fading and further damage.