How to Clean Patio Furniture Cushions

Fabric stains can often be cleaned away with just water and mild soap, though for maximum effectiveness be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry cushions afterwards to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Before beginning, sweep or vacuum away any loose dirt. Next, mix 1/4 cup mild detergent with one gallon of lukewarm water for your cleaning solution.


Just like with any household fabric, outdoor cushions require regular maintenance to remain looking their best. Vacuuming your patio furniture cushions regularly with a brush attachment of vacuum cleaner can remove loose dirt, dust, and debris before it becomes an issue. Rinsing pillows under running water from a garden hose or simply air drying before reusing them again are other effective strategies for keeping outdoor cushions looking their best.

When it comes to stain and mildew build-up on patio furniture cushions, taking proactive steps will help minimize their effects. As soon as a stain appears, treat it immediately – ideally before it has time to dry! If possible, blot the stain with paper towel before drying and scrub the spot using sponge and warm soapy water; otherwise soaking absorbent powder like cornstarch may help – or if that still doesn’t do the trick try pretreating with oxygen bleach or detergent so as to prevent further spread.

If your cushions are removable, washing them in the washing machine is an easy and fast way to maintain and freshen up their look. If the care instructions don’t offer enough details on this matter, conduct a colorfastness test in an inconspicuous area of the pillow first before continuing with full cleaning procedures.

Gentle bleach solutions may be necessary to tackle even the toughest of stains on patio furniture cushions. Before applying it, however, conduct an initial colorfastness test by applying small amounts to an inconspicuous part of one cushion and watching for any noticeable changes or faded colors; if none occur then this solution should be safe to use on all the others cushions.

By giving your patio furniture cushions the attention they deserve and regularly cleaning them, you can extend their lifespan and make storage simpler come winter time. Also adding protective fabric treatments after they have been cleaned can increase resistance against moisture and dirt build-up; plus it only takes minutes!

Spot Clean

Your outdoor cushions should always look their best by taking steps to keep them clean and fresh as soon as they become dirty. Doing this will prevent stains from seeping deeper into the fabric and becoming harder to eliminate, using damp cloth or brush, wipe off as much as possible and use cleaning solutions which are safe for fabric such as mild soap and water or other combinations thereof (see examples of solutions below).

Mild Soap

Mild soaps and detergents are typically gentle enough for outdoor fabrics. You could also try mixing laundry detergent, hot water, borax or bleach (if appropriate to your fabric) together for use as a cleaning solution on any stain on fabric before applying it all at once; be sure to test on a small area first and after cleaning, rinse thoroughly using either a water pump, hose or hose-pipe before leaving them air drying on a flat surface outside.

Oil Stains Outdoor cushions often become stained from suntan lotion, bug spray or food spills that create oil stains. Before using a cleaning solution to tackle them, first blot the area using a clean white cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible before using a soft brush or sponge for deeper scrubbng of stained areas before rinsing off with water from an outdoor hose and leaving the cushion to air dry on a flat surface outdoors.

OxiClean and Natural Detergent can be combined for use against difficult stains such as bird droppings, latex paint, sunscreen and pine oils. While this solution should be safe on most fabrics, please test a small area first in order to make sure that it won’t alter or damage them in any way.

Vinegar can also be an effective stain remover for cushions, working well on most fabrics while mixing easily with water for a quick and efficient solution. Simply dab some on using a soft brush or rag and leave for 15-30 minutes before rinsing off and air drying your cushions!

Pressure Wash

Even though outdoor fabrics are stain- and water-resistant, they still require regular cleaning to avoid dirt build-up. This is particularly essential if your cushions have an affinity for mildew or mold. By keeping cushions clean regularly you can prevent mildew growth while simultaneously prolonging their lives and extend their lifespans. Using an outdoor fabric protectant spray bottle creates a protective barrier around cushions to shield them from spills, dirt and stains; some protectors even come equipped with built-in bug repellent features!

Regularly spray your cushions with cool or lukewarm water to remove surface dirt and grime, while simultaneously checking them for signs of rips or tears that require stitching up immediately to protect further damage and ensure they remain safe to use.

If a simple rinse and brushing aren’t enough to keep your patio furniture cushions clean, consider power-washing them using a garden hose and low-pressure spray attachment. Make sure the cleaner you select won’t discolor or damage your cushions in an inconspicuous area first; machine-washable cushion covers may need to be laundered according to their tag’s instructions for best results.

For stubborn stains, spot treat them with detergent or stain remover suitable for the cushion material and texture. Apply it evenly over stubborn spots before leaving it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing completely. White vinegar can also serve as a natural way of cleaning outdoor cushions as it’s safe on many materials and textures.

Before beginning to clean patio furniture cushions, wear rubber gloves and a face mask to avoid inhaling any borax or bleach particles. Combine one tablespoon of borax, a teaspoon of dishwashing soap and 1 quart of warm water into an effective cleaning solution for your cushions – dip a sponge or scrub brush into this solution then scrub away dirt and stains using it before rinsing with a water hose before allowing to air-dry completely before reusing them again.

Once your cushions are clean, they can be restuffed and recovered to make them appear new again. After they’re stored in plastic bins for storage purposes, any dirt, dust, or bugs that come along could potentially pose further issues down the line.


If spot cleaning and rinsing doesn’t clear away stubborn dirt, mold, and mildew from outdoor cushions, using bleach solution may be necessary to rid them of these unsightly problems. Be sure to read up on how best to care for them by reading the fabric care tag attached to each cushion cover for any instructions regarding bleach usage; many garden cushion fabrics have UV and water-resistance treatment that could potentially ruin their investment by over-bleaching them.

Bleach can penetrate deeply and run through fibers to effectively eradicate gunk and grime accumulating on patio furniture cushions, breaking it down quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, bleach’s antibacterial properties allow it to sanitize surfaces quickly for efficient treatment of any tough dirt or mildew spots found there.

Before using bleach solution on outdoor cushions, place a plastic tarp on the grass or patio as a clean work area to avoid spills or stains damaging outdoor furniture. For larger fabric jobs, consider breaking it up into sections for quicker results.

Depending on your fabric type, taking advantage of machine washing could be a quick and simple way to freshen up cushion covers quickly and efficiently. Re-zip them after washing and place back onto cushions – hanging outside in an airy area allows the air drying process.

If your outdoor cushion fabric is not machine-washable or you don’t own a washer, hand washing might be your only solution. Create a cleaning solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent mixed with 1/4 cup powdered oxygen bleach per quart of water and dip a soft brush into this solution to scrub away dirt or mildew from your cushion fabric.

One final option to restore faded or worn outdoor cushions back to their former beauty is hiring a professional upholstery cleaner nearby. Although costly, this method often does the trick.