How To Clean Outdoor Cushions? A Step-by-Step Guide

Spending time outdoors is one of the simple pleasures of life. Lounging on comfy patio furniture cushions enhances that experience. However, outdoor cushions require regular care and cleaning to keep them in good condition from season to season. A little bit of maintenance goes a long way towards prolonging their lifespan. This article provides tips on cleaning different types of outdoor cushion materials. It covers how to clean outdoor cushions as well as methods for a deeper periodic cleaning.

Inspect and Prepare the Cushions

Inspect and Prepare the Cushions

The first step is to inspect all your outdoor cushions, both before and after winter storage if applicable. Look for stains, tears, mold mildew, and wear and tear. This allows you to spot clean or repair issues right away before they set in further.

Once you’ve identified any problem areas, lightly brush the cushions to remove loose dirt and debris. This prevents the particles from grinding deeper into the fabric during the cleaning process. Be extra gentle with delicately embellished fabrics.

For removable cushion covers, unzip them and turn them inside out. Check the inner linings for issues too. Having the cushion covers inside out keeps the outer fabric protected during cleaning.

Spot Clean Common Outdoor Stains

Outdoor cushions will inevitably get all kinds of stains and spills on them through regular use. These can often be tackled by spot cleaning:

Bird Droppings and Tree Sap

Bird Droppings and Tree Sap

Let these types of stains soak in a bit of mild laundry or dish soap diluted with warm water before gently dabbing at the area with a soft bristle brush. Avoid aggressively rubbing the fabric.

Dirt and Grime

Use a vacuum attachment to suction up any dried mud or embedded dirt. For lighter soil, wipe down with mild soap and water using a soft cloth.

Food and Drink Spills

Blot up excess liquid right away. Spray the stain with an all-natural enzyme-based cleaner, let sit briefly, and then wipe it away. This helps eliminate odors too.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and Mildew

You should mix white vinegar and water equally in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the affected area and let sit for 15 minutes before wiping clean with a cloth. The vinegar kills and removes mold and mildew.

Grass and Pollen

Use a lint roller or pieces of masking tape to lift off any clinging grass blades or pollen grains.

Grease and Oil

Sprinkle some baking soda directly on grease stains to draw out the oil. Let sit for a few hours before wiping it away with a soft dry cloth. The baking soda absorbs grease, even on water-resistant fabrics.

Perform a Deep Clean

For a periodic deeper clean, outdoor cushion fabrics may be washed by hand or machine. Start by vacuuming the cushions first to pick up surface-level dirt. Always check fabric care labels for specific washing instructions.

How To Clean Outdoor Cushions – Guidelines

Hand Washing

Start by adding cool water and a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Allow cushions to soak before gently scrubbing areas of heavier soiling with a soft brush. Drain the dirty water and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Air dry before placing back on patio furniture frames.

Machine Washing

Wash cushion covers separately from frame cushions which are usually too bulky. Zip up covers and turn inside out. Keep in mind to wash gently by using cold water and mild powder detergent. Line dry or tumble dry on low.


To naturally brighten and disinfect, add 1⁄2 cup baking soda. Also add 1⁄4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar to the wash cycle water. The acidity helps remove stubborn stains and odors.

Waterproof Fabrics

Check if your outdoor cushions contain water-repellent finishes, common in weather-resistant fabrics. Use a mild soap solution avoiding harsh detergents that can strip waterproof coatings. Rinse extremely well. Apply a fabric protector spray once dried to renew water resistance.


Like all fabrics exposed to the outdoors, outdoor cushions need periodic inspection, spot cleaning, and deeper washing to keep them fresh and usable for many seasons. If you don’t know how to clean outdoor cushions, read this easy guide and make this light maintenance a standard routine a few times a year. With proper care, even budget-friendly patio cushion sets can gain years more longevity. Invest a little time regularly so your outdoor cushions stay comfortable and inviting for the long run.

Read more: What Color Cushions Go With Gray Sofa?