How To Clean Cushions On Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor cushions are a versatile part of your patio furniture and decor. They're perfect for your sofa sets, benches, sheds, and even for lounging on the deck of your outdoor lawn. Unfortunately, however, even the best of cushions cannot escape the wrath of its outdoor environmental enemies. From vehicular fumes to bird droppings to mildew to tree saps to dirt and even your own food stains, these cushions face almost twice the number of stains, dirt, and wear-and-tear than even your most commonly used indoor furniture cushions.

Naturally, you may have to invest in a thorough cleaning routine for your outdoor furniture cushions if you wish to make them last longer and better. Are you wondering how those tough stains from the rain, from last week's barbecue, or from your toddler's painting endeavours will go away? Here's a list of all the cleaning supplies and the ways you can use them to keep and store your outdoor cushions looking good as new!

List of Things Needed For the Cleaning

Vacuum With Upholstery Attachment

A vacuum cleaner is the best at getting primary stains out of your cushion's fabric, both interiors and exteriors. The upholstery attachment is a common component in many vacuum cleaner sets. This attachment has a rectangular elongated nozzle with a narrow breadth having small bristles on the end. These suck up debris and stain-causing factors, allowing you to clear away the more stubborn ones later.

Soft-bristled brush

A soft-bristled brush gently scrapes off those stains and marks, which are slightly stubborn to remove. You may ordinarily scratch them off with even your fingernails, but that would ruin the fabric on your cushions. A soft-bristled brush can even out bits of fabric plucking out of the surface while removing stains and dirt, too.

Dish Detergent

Outdoor cushion stains might look like they're there to stay, but even a small amount of high-quality dish detergent from your kitchen can help you get rid of the majority of stains on your cushions. These can penetrate within the layers of your cushions, so even if your cushion's covering isn't removable, you won't have to worry about all the stains it has absorbed over the years. Besides, you don't have to spend a fat chunk of your bucks on an expensive laundry or fabric detergent, either, because a dish detergent is designed to rinse away nearly all the stains on these cushions.


A slightly more powerful solution than the average dish detergent, the borax is your ally in fighting the ridiculously stubborn stains and debris on and inside your outdoor furniture cushions. Bits of chewing gum, tar stains, or any other kind of stain that regular washes may not be able to eliminate is no match for a sturdy borax solution!

Bucket of Water

If you're wondering whether a round in the washing machine would be enough to wipe out your cushions' fabric, you may be quite off the right track. You see that cushion covers and their interior stuffing can be pretty delicate for rough and tough machine washes. Even with protective measures that keep your clothes protected in the machine, cushions can't escape frictional damage in the machine.

Therefore, you may get a few bucketfuls of warm water to soak or to hand-wash your outdoor furniture cushions without damaging the fabric or the stuffing.

Garden hose

If you feel like pressure-washing your furniture cushions or want to clean the whole space after a thorough cleaning of the cushions, then a garden hose may help do away with the mess in the best way possible!

Clean towel

Once you've washed your cushions, you may not want to hold off the drying process for too long. Stagnant water may build an odour in the stuffing, whereas an air dry could discolour your cushion's fabric. Instead of these, you may want to wipe off most dirty water using a dry, clean towel.

Fabric comforters and fresheners

Once you're done with the wash, you may want to pamper your cushion's fabric with gentle post-wash treatment. This includes primarily a dose of fabric comforter mixed with water. The fabric comforter offers multiple benefits in cleaning outdoor cushion fabrics. For one, it clears away the remainder of odours and minor stain marks from the fabric before you dry the cushions. Second, it strengthens the stitching and the surface of the cushions for longer life. Third, it keeps the fabric soft and cuddly for future use!

A Thorough Guide to the Cleaning Method

Once you've compiled all the cleaning supplies to give your outdoor cushions a thorough scrubbing, here's the process you need to follow to get the best results:

Remove the Upper Layer of Dirt

Attach your vacuum upholstery attachment to your vacuum cleaner. Set your vacuum's settings to a medium or any other setting that is gentle yet enough to remove the layer of dirt. Thoroughly vacuum the surface of your cushions, particularly the seams and button dents, since these contain deeply-buried grime.

Scrape off With the Brush

When you've vacuumed the loosely-attached dirt layer from the cushion, the next step is to scrape off the particles that are stuck to the surface of the cushion. Next, get a brush and start scrubbing it firmly across the surface of the cushion. You may also pluck out the remaining dirt particles from the crevices of the cushion by angling the brush at different angles.

Soak in Borax Solution

Once you've dry-cleaned the dirt particles and layers, you can proceed to the wet wash with a cleaning solution. To save your time, you can mix a tablespoon of dish soap with one-fourth of a cup of borax in a bucketful of water. Then, use a clean cloth to scrub the cleaning solution all over the cushion. If you have cushions with removable covers, you can wash them separately. Or, if your cushions are non-removable, then let them soak for a few minutes so that the dirt particles break their bonds.