In previous articles, I have apprised a lot about how you guys can maintain your wood and patio outdoor furniture. However, I focused on an often overlooked part of your outdoor furniture. The cushions, of course. You would never neglect the cushions on the sofa in your living room, would you? Thus, it would be best to forget the ones lying outdoors.
When you don’t wash outdoor cushions, they’ll quickly get dirty, faded, and even mouldy. Although these cushions are made to handle harsh weather conditions and thrashing from your family and friends, you shouldn’t leave them outside when it’s raining or hot.
If you are having difficulty finding a way to clean off the outdoor furniture cushions, you can use a few everyday household products to clean them off and remove mildew to keep them nice and dry.
How to wash outdoor furniture cushions in a washing machine
In this article, I have put together the easiest ways to help you figure out how to clean your outdoor furniture cushions. Keep reading.
Pro Tip: First, get into a daily quick clean habit. Avoid cleaning your cushions often by quickly cleaning them after every use. Even if the cushions don’t seem dirty, clean them off with a rag or soft brush. Mop up spills and spot clean new stains immediately.
Always check the cushion’s care tag. Since each cushion is different, some have sensitive coatings that protect the fabric from damage. Therefore, the manufacturer’s care tag on the cushion may restrict whether you can wash the covers in the machine.
If the manufacturer’s care tag suggests machine washing, you must take the covers off the cushions. The care tag on the machine should be followed carefully to ensure the best results. The specifications should be followed, and the cycle should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the tags are faded, check the manufacturer’s website.
Method 1: Washing outdoor cushions with Stain removers and Detergent
- Washing machine
- Any stain remover
- Cold water
- Shake out the covers before putting your furniture cushion covers into the washing machine to eliminate any debris or dirt trapped inside.
- Now, pre-treat the cushions by rubbing a stain remover on large stains.
Doing so before throwing them in the wash will help the washing machine break down the stain better. In addition, stain removers can easily be found in most home goods stores.
You do not need to rinse the cushion after applying the stain remover, as you will wash the pillow immediately after removing the stains.
- Once you’re done removing the stains, throw the covers in the washing machine.
You can either wash them independently or throw the covers in with another load.
- Add detergent and set the machine on a cold, gentle cycle.
Ensure the machine is gentle, so you do not damage the fabric or fade the design.
If your fabric is sensitive, cold water is usually a good idea.
- After the cycle stops, air-dry the covers.
Drying cushions covered with a towel and hanging them up to dry is the best way to keep them safe from high heat. If this is impractical, setting the dryer to the lowest heat cycle will keep them safe.
Method 2: Cleaning outdoor cushions with a vacuum and dishwashing solution
- Vacuum cleaner
- A bucket
- 1-tbs of dishwashing solution/detergent/handwashing solutions (read below to know what suits you the best)
- 1 gallon of warm water
- A soft-bristled brush
- A towel
Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust particles. The vacuum will quickly and thoroughly remove dirt from the cushions.
- If your outdoor cushions do not have an upholstery attachment, you can run the vacuum over the cover as it rests on the ground. Turn the cover inside out if possible to vacuum the inside as well.
Now put the vacuum aside.
- Combine one tablespoon of dishwashing solution and one gallon of warm water in a bucket or washing machine.
This will be the washing solution for you to use as you clean the cushion and cover. You can also use detergent if you’re gonna use the washing machine.
However, if you opt for a bucket, then laundry detergent is too highly concentrated for use when washing fabrics by hand, but you may be able to find ready-made handwashing solutions at fabric or home goods stores.
- Use your hands and a soft-bristled brush to get the dirt off the cushions.
The one you would use to wash dishes and rub the fabric until tough stains come off would work perfectly fine. The brush should be harsh without feeling it might tear the fabric.
- Make sure you rub the sponge vigorously on the cover to get it as clean as a brush. Check all the corners and crevices. Wipe off the excess water with a cloth or paper towel.
- After you’re done, let the cushions, if possible, soak in the solution for about 15 minutes.
- If you have a big enough container (washing machine), you can dip the cushions to help clean the insides. If you only have a bucket or smaller container, Soaking the cushions in a solution of water and detergent will help clean the fabric and remove any built-up dirt or debris.
- Spray the cushions with a hose to rinse them off.
- To remove the suds, you must use a garden hose to rinse the cushions down. Be thorough and try to completely soak the cushions all the way through.
- After squeezing out the water, wrap a towel around the cushion to remove most of the moisture.
- Let the cushions air dry.
Pro Tip: Never use a power or pressure washer on fabric, as it can create tears.
Method 3: How to clean patio cushions with mildew
- Large container
- Hand-washing solution
- Baking soda
- A brush
- Lemon salt mixture
- Hydrogen peroxide
Note: These ingredients are for different methods and purposes, as explained below. Read the whole procedure to know what things you’ll need.
For 15 minutes, soak the cushions in water and Borax. Then, you can add a quarter cup of Borax to a hand-washing solution or, if your cushions are specially covered in mold or mildew, create a separate Borax and water solution with 1/4 cup of Borax 1 gallon of water.
Use a large container such as a plastic bin or a washing machine to make the solution so you can soak the cushions. You can add baking soda to help break up the mildew stains for better results.
Mildew and mold can be removed with ammonia, a common household chemical. Mix ammonia with water to clean your cushions. Add 1 cup of ammonia to one gallon of water in a washing machine; This creates an excellent solution for scrubbing mildew off cushions with a brush.
A lemon salt mixture will do the job if you would rather avoid household chemical solutions for health or safety reasons. Watch the mildew and mold dissolve as you scrub the mixture into the fabric. The citric acid in lemon juice helps break up the fungi, and the undissolved salt crystals abrade.
Bleach will get rid of mold and mildew and sanitize the area. Dark fabrics can fade or discolour from bleach alone, but a bleach and water solution will most likely keep them looking good.
The smell left behind by mildew and mold can be hard to eliminate. However, if you put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on each spot, the smell will disappear, and your outdoor cushions will smell great.
You must rinse mildew and high-power stain removers off the pillows before using them again. The cleaning products’ chemicals can harm your skin, so rinsing off the cushions under a hose will keep you safe. Be sure to towel, and air dry the cushions afterwards.
- If you’re worried about discolouration, add less bleach to the water.
- Never use a bleach solution if you use ammonia on the cushions, as this will create poisonous chemicals that harm your health.
- Use gloves if you use bleach or ammonia to clean your cushions.
Method 4: Spot-cleaning outdoor cushions
If you’ve accidentally spilt a drink on your furniture cushion, it is not wise to wash the whole cushion. Cleaning the damaged spot is easy and time-saving, especially when you can get it out with a quick spot clean.
Just follow these easy steps:
- Combine one tablespoon of borax with one teaspoon of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle and fill it with lukewarm water.
- Spray the solution on the stain.
- Blot the solution on the stain. It can spread if you rub it.
- After 15 minutes, let the solution soak.
- Remove all soap residue with cool water.
- To dry cushions, place them on their edge.
- Set cushions on their edge to dry.
Method 5: Cleaning Oil-Based Stains
Just follow the steps of how to remove oil-based stains:
- Rub cornstarch on the stain right away to absorb the oil.
- Put cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for a minute.
- Use a ruler or a used gift card to scrape off the cornstarch.
- Keep repeating until all the oil is absorbed.
Method 6: Deep Cleaning Outdoor Cushions
If none of the above methods works, then it’s either time to replace outdoor cushions or deep-clean furniture.
Here’s your guide to deep cleaning:
- Remove the covers from your cushions and wash them separately.
- Clean off loose dirt with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. When you’re vacuuming, be careful around seams and buttons.
- 4 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon Borax, and 1 teaspoon mild dishwashing detergent.
- Use the solution to scrub the cushions.
- Give it 15 minutes to soak, but don’t let it dry.
- Use a rag or soft bristle brush to gently blot stubborn stains if they still appear after soaking.
- Hose off the cushions.
- Dab a towel on the cushion to soak up the moisture.
- Make sure each cushion dries completely on its edge to prevent mildew. Use a blow dryer if it is too cold to air dry the cushions completely.
- Spray your cushions with a fabric guard to help them resist stains, dirt, and mildew.
Method 7: How to hand wash couch cushions
- Create a cleaning solution of 1/4 cup of liquid detergent per gallon of warm water.
- Place the solution in a clean sink or tub.
- Let the cushion cover soak for a 1/2 hour. Gently scrub as needed.
- Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Let the cushion covers air dry.
Protecting Outdoor Cushions:
- Keeping your cushions clean is all about preventing them from getting dirty. Some products are available in the market that will help waterproof or seal your cushions from water damage. Pick up some fabric sealer or protector at a hardware store, then spray it all over the cushion from around 3 feet away. This will help keep mold, mildew, and stains off your cushions and protect them from sun damage and fading.
- Bring your outdoor cushions in when it rains or snows. During rainy or cold seasons, keep your outdoor furniture cushions indoors or under shade to keep them dry and safe from freezing temperatures. Even during a brief summer storm, putting outdoor furniture cushions in a safe, dry place is a good idea.
- Cover your outdoor cushions with a tarp. If you do not want to bring outdoor cushions in, or if it is a hassle to detach them from furniture, you can use a tarp to cover up the fabric during wet and cold seasons. Large and small tarps can be purchased at most hardware stores. However, this won’t keep your outdoor furniture cushions completely dry, and you risk mildew, but it is much better than leaving them exposed to the elements year-round.
Washing outdoor cushions is not a complex task as you read the above methods. All of them need a little work and your love, and in return, you’ll get brand-new outdoor furniture cushions that you were thinking of replacing with new ones.
Make sure not to be too hard on your outdoor cushions and clean them gently.
- Never use a power or pressure washer on fabric.
- Never use a bleach solution if you use ammonia on the cushions, as this will create poisonous chemicals harmful to your health.
- Use gloves if you use bleach or ammonia to clean your cushions.
I hope all these methods on how to wash outdoor cushions in a washing machine were of some use to you, but still, if you have any questions, you can ask us in the comments section below.