How To Clean Patio Furniture Covers

How To Clean Patio Furniture Covers

One of the best ways to properly maintain your patio furniture is by getting a cover. It’s incredibly simple, affordable, and super effective. Whenever you encounter bad weather or aren’t using your furniture, getting the patio furniture covers on is a good idea.

Not only will they protect your patio furniture from bad weather and overexposure to sunlight, but they’ll also keep dust and other types of debris off the furniture. Consequently, whenever you want to use your furniture, you’ll just need to take the cover off, and it’ll be good to go!

However, the patio furniture cover won’t just last forever, especially if you don’t clean it properly. There’s no need to worry, though. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to clean patio furniture covers!

How To Clean Patio Furniture Covers

Before you go about cleaning your patio furniture covers, it’s essential to understand the type of patio cover you have. There are several different materials, and all of them have different properties, which is where it also helps to know how to secure outdoor furniture covers. 

One of the first things that you should determine is whether the patio furniture is machine washable or not. If the patio furniture cover is machine washable, then it’ll save you a lot of trouble.

When a patio furniture cover is machine washable, it needs to be both colourfast and pre-shrunk. Colorfast basically means that the furniture cover will not fade if you run it through the wash. On top of that, the covers also need to be pre-shrunk. If they aren’t pre-shrunk, running through a machine wash will cause the covers to shrink, and they won’t fit your furniture anymore.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the different types of patio furniture covers.

Polyester Outdoor Furniture Cover

A very popular option for outdoor furniture covers is polyester. It’s a synthetic fibre that’s also popularly known as PET. One of the main reasons why polyester is incredibly resistant. You won’t have to worry about any sort of shrinking, wrinkles, stretching, or mildew and mould.

Generally, polyester outdoor furniture covers tend to feature a UV resistant coating. However, with an extra coating, a machine wash will cause the layer to deteriorate. If there’s no layer, you won’t have to worry about the machine wash causing anything to deteriorate.

Nylon Outdoor Furniture Cover

You wouldn’t typically associate nylon with furniture cover, but it actually works really well. Nylon is among the most robust synthetic textile materials available. It features several natural resistances and is safe for machine wash.

Vinyl Outdoor Furniture Cover

A vinyl cover is super durable and shiny. It’s also resistant to heat and very effective at warding off a variety of different pests. While you can definitely machine wash vinyl, it’s important to turn it inside out before you clean.

Preferably you should always look to hand wash your vinyl furniture over.

Polypropylene Outdoor Furniture Cover

Polypropylene is a material with many common uses and provides the same feeling that you’d get from a standard piece of cloth.

One of the reasons polypropylene is so popular is the price of the material. It’s very affordable, but that means it’s not as durable as some of the other available materials. If you live in a particularly sunny area, your furniture cover will lose its effectiveness after a little while.

The best way you’ll be able to clean polypropylene is through hand washing. If you’re feeling particularly tired, you can run the cover through a machine wash. However, running it through a machine wash will cause the cover to deteriorate quicker.

With the type of outdoor furniture cover out of the way, let's move on to what items you’ll need for the cleaning.

Items Needed For The Cleaning

You won’t need a wide variety of products to help clean your patio furniture covers and if you want to go step further, we've written a guide on 'how to repair rusted patio furniture'. There’s no need to get some of the overly complex cleaning products on the market. All you’re going to need is a mild soap and some warm water.

If you’re using a washing machine, all you really need is the standard detergent you have available and some warm water.

On the other hand, if you’re choosing to clean the patio furniture cover without a machine, then you’re going to need a bucket of soapy water and a soft thistle brush.

It’s essential to go for a soft thistle brush because harder thistles can cause the patio cover to deteriorate significantly.

The Method

There are two main methods that you can go about cleaning your patio furniture covers. You can either choose to do them by hand, or you could go for a machine wash.

Here’s a breakdown of both methods.

Using A Machine

To properly wash your patio furniture cover in a washing machine, you’ll need first to ensure that the cover is machine-friendly. If it isn’t machine-friendly, then you’ll actually end up ruining the cover.

If it’s machine-friendly, then you’ll need to fill up the washing machine with the appropriate amount of water and add detergent. When washing your covers, it’s a good idea not to add any other fabrics. There’s a chance that the covers might end up staining the rest of your clothes or vice-versa.

Also, it’s important to remember that certain fabrics will react better to certain temperatures. So, make sure that you’re properly familiar with the optimal washing temperature before running the wash.

You can usually find all the necessary cleaning instructions on the label. While not washing at the optimal temperature won’t cause any serious damage to the cover, some materials can start to lose their strength when they come in contact with hot water.

As a precaution, only use lukewarm water when you’re washing covers.

Hand Washing

Suppose your patio furniture cover isn’t machine-wash friendly. In that case, you’ll have no other option but to wash the cover yourself.

All you’re going to need is a bucket of soapy water and a brush that features soft thistles. Dip the soft-thistle brush into the soapy water and then clean the patio furniture cover. It’s essential to keep the brush strokes to a minimum and use water to clean out the patio furniture cover.

When you’re washing out the cover, try to be as thorough as possible so you can get all the soapy water out. You’ll be able to tell if all the soap is out when you try to dry the cover. If soapy water comes out when you twist the cover that means you’ll still have to wash out the cover a bit more.

After you’re done washing out the cover, leave it out to dry in an open area away from direct sunlight.

Tips to Help Keep Your Patio Furniture Cover Clean

Aside from regularly cleaning your patio furniture covers, there are a few other helpful tips that can ensure that you can optimise the life of your patio furniture covers. By taking extra care of them, you can ensure that you get the maximum amount of use out of your furniture covers.

Follow The Labels

On every type of patio cover, you’ll usually find a label which provides you with all the information necessary to clean the product properly. It’ll also indicate what temperatures are best for cleaning and whether the patio furniture cover is machine-wash friendly or not.

Dry The Cover Properly

After you wash your cover, it’s essential to ensure that you let it dry properly as well. One of the most common mistakes that people tend to make with their covers is leaving them out to dry in the sunlight.

Contact with direct sunlight when it’s wet can cause the cover to fade and damage the UV resistant layer. You should try your best to let your covers dry in a neutral environment. We've also written a detailed guide on how to keep pooling on patio furniture covers too.  

Brush Regularly

Even though the whole purpose of a cover is to prevent any debris or dust from getting on your sofa, it doesn’t mean that you should just ignore the covers. If you notice that dust is starting to accumulate on the cover, brush it off. Regular brushing can help ensure that you don’t have to wash your covers as often.


Patio furniture covers can play a big role in helping ensure that your outdoor cushions lasts for as long as possible. However, they won’t be able to last forever. Therefore, it’s important that you take enough care and effort to ensure that you regularly clean the furniture covers.