How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine

How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine

How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine

In previous articles, I have apprised a lot about how you guys can maintain your wood and patio outdoor furniture. However, this time I decided to focus 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? Therefore, you should not forget about the ones lying outdoor.

Outdoor cushions are exposed to the worst of the weather conditions has to offer, and therefore can quickly get dirty, faded, and even moldy if you don’t wash them every now and then. While these cushions are made to survive harsh outdoor conditions and beating from your family and friends, you should not leave them outside during rain and the beating sun. If you are having a hard time finding a way to clean off the outdoor cushions, you can use a few common household products to clean them off, remove mildew, and even keep them nice and dry.

How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine

In this article, I have put together the easiest ways to help you figure out how to clean your outdoor cushions. Keep reading.

Pro Tip: First thing first, get in the habit of a daily quick clean. Avoid having to deep clean your cushions too often by quickly cleaning your cushions after anytime you use them. Even if the cushions don’t seem dirty, clean them off with a rag or soft bristle brush. Mop up spills and spot clean new stains immediately.

Always check the cushion’s care tag. Since each cushion is different, and some have sensitive coatings that protect the fabric from damage. Therefore, the manufacturer’s care tag on the cushion may have restrictions on whether or not you can wash the covers in the washing machine.

If the manufacturer’s care tag suggests machine washing, then you will need to take the covers off the cushions. Be sure to follow any special instructions described on the care tag, like the machine specifications or the cycle to use. If the tags are faded, check the manufacture’s website.

Method 1: Washing outdoor cushions with Stain removers and Detergent

Things Required:

  1. Washing machine
  2. Any stain remover
  3. Cold water


  • Shake out the covers before putting your cushion covers into the washing machine to get rid of 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. 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 be washing 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 on their own or throw the covers in with another load.

  • Add detergent and set the machine on a cold, gentle cycle.

Make sure that the machine is set to gentle so that you do not damage the fabric or fade the design.

Furthermore, Coldwater is almost always a good idea for sensitive fabrics.

  • After the cycle stops air-dry the covers.

Cushion covers may be damaged by high heat, so towel drying and then hanging them up to dry is the best way to keep them safe. If this is impractical, set the dryer to the lowest heat cycle you can.

Method 2: Cleaning cushions with vacuum and dishwashing solution

Things Required:

  1. Vacuum cleaner
  2. A bucket
  3. 1-tbs of dishwashing solution/detergent/handwashing solutions (read below to know what suits you the best)
  4. 1 gallon of warm water
  5. A soft-bristled brush
  6. 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 simply 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 its 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, to rub the fabric until tough stains come off would work perfectly fine. The brush should be abrasive without feeling like it might tear the fabric.

  • If you use a sponge, rub vigorously on the cover so that it gets as clean as it would with a brush
  • After you’re done let the cushions if possible, soak in the solution for about 15 minutes.
  • If you have a large enough container (washing machine), you can soak the entire cushions to help clean the insides. If you only have a bucket or other smaller container, just soak the covers in the solution.
  • Spray the cushions with a hose to rinse them off.
  • To remove the suds, you will need to use a garden hose to rinse the cushions down. Be thorough and try to completely soak the cushions all the way through.
  • Squeeze out the water and then wrap a towel around the cushion to get rid of 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

Things Required:

  1. Large container
  2. Water
  3. Borax
  4. Hand-washing solution
  5. Baking soda
  6. Ammonia
  7. A brush
  8. Lemon salt mixture
  9. Bleach
  10. Hydrogen peroxide
  11. Towel

Note: These ingredients are for different methods and purposes which are explained below read the whole procedure to know what things you’ll be needing.


Soak the cushions in water and Borax for 15 minutes. You can either add a quarter cup of Borax to a hand-washing solution or, if your cushions are specially covered in mold or mildew, you can create a separate Borax and water solution with 1/4 cup of Borax and 1 gallon of water.

Make the solution in a large container like a plastic bin or a washing machine so that you have room to soak the cushions. For better results, you can add baking soda to help break up the mildew stains as well.

One common household chemical that can get rid of mildew and mold is ammonia. Mix ammonia with water to clean your cushions. Add 1 cup of ammonia in one gallon of water in a washing machine. This creates a great solution for you to scrub mildew off cushions with a brush.

If you would rather stay away from household chemical solutions for health or safety reasons, a lemon salt mixture will do the job. Scrub the mixture into the fabric on spots with mildew and mold and watch it dissolve. The citric acid from the lemon juice combines with salt to help break up the fungi, and the undissolved salt crystals act as an abrasive.

Scrubbing away mold and mildew with bleach will also sanitize the area and remove stains. While bleach alone can fade or discolor dark fabric, a mild bleach and water solution will most likely keep your colors safe.

Mold and mildew can leave behind smell on your cushions that can be hard to remove. A few drops of hydrogen peroxide on each spot will break up the smell and help your outdoor cushions smell fresh and clean again.

You will need to rinse mildew and high-power stain removers off the pillows before using them again. The chemicals in cleaning products can be harmful to your skin, so rinsing off the cushions under a hose will keep you safe. Be sure to towel and air dry the cushions afterward.

Pro Tips:

  • If you’re worried about discoloration, you can 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 are harmful to your health.
  • Use gloves if you use bleach or ammonia to clean your cushions.

Method 4: Spot Cleaning

If you’ve accidentally spilled a drink on your cushion then it is not wise to wash the whole cushion rather cleaning just the damaged spot is both easy and time saving especially when you can get it out with a quick spot clean.

Just follow these easy steps:

  • Mix one tablespoon borax, one teaspoon dish-washing soap, and four cups of lukewarm water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the stain.
  • Blot the solution to pick up the stain. Do not rub or you can cause the stain to spread.
  • Let the solution soak for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with cool water to remove all soap residue.
  • Set cushions on their edge to dry.

Method 5: Cleaning Oil Based Stains

Just follow the steps to get rid of the oil based stains:

  • Immediately rub cornstarch on the stain to absorb the oil.
  • Let the cornstarch sit on the stain for a minute.
  • Scrape off the cornstarch with a straight edge like a ruler or a used gift card.
  • Repeat as needed until oil is completely absorbed.

Method 6: Deep Cleaning

If none of the above methods work then it’s either time to replace your outdoor cushions or deep clean.

Here’s your guide to deep clean:

  • If your cushions have cushion covers, remove the covers and wash separately.
  • Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to clean off loose dirt. Be careful as you run the vacuum along seams and buttons.
  • Mix one tablespoon Borax, 1 teaspoon of mild dish-washing detergent, and 4 cups of warm water.
  • Gently scrub the cushions with the solution.
  • Let the cleaning solution soak for 15 minutes, but do not let it dry completely.
  • If you still see stubborn stains after soaking, apply more the cleaning solution and gently blot the stains with a rag or soft bristle brush.
  • Rinse the cushions with a hose.
  • Dab the cushion with a towel to soak up most of the moisture.
  • Stand each cushion on its edge until it air dries completely to prevent the growth of mildew. If it is too cold to completely air dry the cushions, use a blow dryer.
  • Spray your cushions with a fabric guard to help them resist stains, dirt, and mildew.

Method 7: Hand Wash

  • Create a cleaning solution of 1/4 cup 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:

  1. The best way to keep your cushions clean is to prevent your cushions from getting dirty in the first place. There are products available in the market that will help waterproof or at least 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 not only help keep mold, mildew, and stains off your cushions but also provide protection from sun damage and fading too.
  2. Bring your outdoor cushions in when it rains or snows. During rainy or cold seasons, keep your outdoor cushions indoor or under shade to keep them dry and safe from freezing temperatures. Even during a brief summer storm, it is a good idea to put outdoor cushions in a safe, dry place.
  3. 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 a piece of 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 cushions completely dry, and you risk a bit of mildew, but it is much better than leaving them exposed to the elements year-round.


Washing outdoor cushions is not at all a hard task as you read all the above methods, all of them need a little work and your love and in return, you’ll get brand new outdoor cushions which you were thinking to replace with new ones.

Just make sure not to be too hard on your outdoor cushions and clean them gently.


  1. Never use a power or pressure washer on fabric
  2. Never use a bleach solution if you use ammonia on the cushions, as this will create poisonous chemicals that are harmful to your health.
  3. Use gloves if you use bleach or ammonia to clean your cushions.

I hope all these methods on how to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine were of some use to you but still if you have any quires you can ask me in the comments section down below.

Stay safe stay blessed. ????

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