How To Clean Cushions On Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture can get dirty over time and end up looking unsightly. When you find yourself in this situation, it is best to scrub the exterior with a brush dipped into some soapy water. This will avoid damaging any of your outdoor cushions or furniture as well as removing stains from dirt that has accumulated on the surface.

Patio cushions are a popular option for outdoor furniture because they can be easily attached. However, the cushions don’t always come off when you want them to. Here is how to clean patio cushions that don’t come off.

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Summer has officially here, and it’s time to get those patio cushions out of the back of the garage and clean them thoroughly. Continue reading to learn more about the how-tos, don’ts, and even storage options for your outdoor furniture cushions. 


While most outdoor furniture includes detachable cushions that you can toss in with the next cycle of laundry, the bulk of them take a little more attention and plain old’ elbow grease. Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the inside tag when washing your cushions in the washer to ensure they are washed correctly and with recommended detergents.

Contents Table of Contents


  • Collect your supplies 
  • Washing Up Before the Game
  • Combine the Cleaning Solution and the Water
  • Start Scrubbing
  • Rinse and repeat as needed as needed
  • Allow Mr. Golden Sun to take care of the rest.
  • Alternative Cleaning Procedures
  • Fabric Protectors and Pre-Treaters
  • Cleaning Outdoor Cushions: Dos and Don’ts
  • What Should You Do If Your Fabric Tears? 
  • How to Store Cushions in a Way That Reduces the Amount of Cleaning Required


Collect your supplies 

Mildew, dust, filth, and stains may be daunting to the best of us, whether your cushions have been subjected to Mother Nature’s wrath or have been the center of attention at one too many barbeques. Make sure you have all of your supplies ready to go before beginning the cushion cleaning procedure. 

The following is a list of all the supplies you’ll need to get started cleaning cushions by hand:

  • Water   
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Brush for Scrubbing 
  • Borax
  • Toothbrush
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Vinegar 
  • Baking soda or corn starch 
  • Vacuum
  • Fabric Protectant Spray for the Outdoors

Where Do I Begin?

Always make sure you select a location that won’t add to the mess you’ve already made. The greatest spots to avoid are those where there is a lot of dirt and debris that might develop into mud. 

Cleaning cushions would be best done on a concrete or blacktop driveway, a patio, deck top, or even inside a garage. If none of those areas are available, we can always rely on our old buddy, the bathtub. 

Washing Up Before the Game

Vacuum the whole cushion from top to bottom using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum. Don’t forget to pay special attention to the seams’ nooks and crannies.  


If the vacuum doesn’t work, use a toothbrush to brush away any dirt that has accumulated in cracks and around any ornamental embellishments such as buttons. If you don’t have a vacuum, a bristles brush may remove big bits of dirt and debris just as effectively. 

Combine the Cleaning Solution and the Water

Using a bucket, drop in about 1-1 ½ tablespoons of Dishwashing Detergent with ¼ cup of Borax. Dawn holds the top spot for hands-down best grease and dirt cutter for a Dishwashing Detergent. It is gentle on all fabric but packs a punch getting through stains and any oily dirt. 

With it and the cleansing properties of Borax, you’ve made a cleaner that will have your stains going “bye, bye, bye.” 

Start Scrubbing

It’s time to get that scrubber out and oil those elbows! Scrubbing in circular movements rather than harsh side to side may help to prevent fibers from becoming loose and tearing. 

You may leave the solution after you’ve done all the cleaning you can to get those spots out. 

Rinse and repeat as needed as needed

Now comes the exciting part! Remove the soapy solution with the help of a good old garden hose. Ensure that any cleaning solutions are fully rinsed from the cushions; rinsing twice may enough. Return to Step 4 if any places need to be scrubbed again until the cushions are as good as new. Rinse them again once you’re happy with them, then proceed on to Step 6.

Allow Mr. Golden Sun to take care of the rest.

Manually squeeze any excess water from the cushions if feasible. Otherwise, try placing the cushion on a flat surface and releasing excess moisture with your fists. It is best to leave the cushions standing straight to allow for complete surface drying. 

Allow the sun to do its work for a few hours. Before using, make sure they’re entirely dry to avoid getting them filthy again or encouraging mildew development. 

Alternative Cleaning Procedures

If you prefer natural cleaners and find Borax to be too abrasive, a softer approach is to use 12 cup vinegar mixed with around 3 cups of water as a surface scrape.

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Baking soda and corn starch, on the other hand, are excellent substitutes for natural cleansers. As a solution, just combine vinegar or water with a scrubber. Before drying, ensure sure the cleaner has been properly rinsed. 

Fabric Protectors and Pre-Treaters

Most furniture designed to be left outside all year is pre-treated with sun, water, and dirt repellents. This protective layer, like all things, may lose its effectiveness with time. 

After cleaning cushions and fully allowing them to dry, treat cushions with an Fabric Protectant Spray for the Outdoors for that extra boost in stain and dirt resistance. 

Cleaning Outdoor Cushions: Dos and Don’ts

Now that you know how to clean outdoor cushions, there are a few main do’s and don’ts to keep in mind throughout the process to guarantee you don’t make the task any more difficult than it has to be. 

Here are three things to stay away from while washing outdoor cushions:

  1. If possible, avoid using a power washer on the cloth. As appealing as it may seem, it may harm the cushion material and cause fiber ripping and shredding. 
  2. As a “quick repair,” avoid using bleach on spots. Bleach may really produce fabric discoloration that is difficult to repair. 
  3. If the cushions are still linked to rusted or corroded frames, do not clean them. Scrubbing cushions so near to rusted frames might result in further stains, damage, and a mess that you won’t be able to clean up. It’s preferable to start by removing all cushions and then cleaning them. If that isn’t an option, spot treat with a scrubber and rinse with a sponge rather than the hose. 

What Should You Do If Your Fabric Tears? 

Sewing the rip in the outdoor cushion fabric will be a snap if you’re a DIY’er and good with a pin and needle. 

Inventions like Tear-Aid, Tear Mender, and a fabric upholstery repair kit are for the other half of the population who still can’t get the thread through the needle. All of them are available on Amazon, and the most of them don’t need any heat to operate. 

A blow dryer, on the other hand, is ideal for providing heat. Pick up a glue gun and buttons of your choosing from your local Micheals’ or Walmart if you need to replace lost ornamental buttons. 

How to Store Cushions in a Way That Reduces the Amount of Cleaning Required

Here are some easy storage alternatives if you don’t intend to use your outdoor furniture all year and don’t want to deal with the effort of cleaning them every summer:

  • A zippered storage bag might be the solution. These tough, lightweight bags are intended to suit most outdoor cushions and come with handles. 
  • Large, heavy-duty waste bags may also be used as a cost-effective storage option. Before keeping, make sure they’re well-sealed and free of rips. Cushions should be kept in dry, cool areas away from moisture, the elements, and humidity in any case. 
  • A two-fold alternative is plastic containers with lids. They are both cost-effective and moisture-resistant, as well as convenient to store in attics, garages, and closets.

Making ensuring your backyard is ready for summer doesn’t have to be a chore. Taking these easy procedures to clean and store your cushions can save you time and work year after year, allowing you to spend more time poolside enjoying fruity cocktails on your spotless outdoor couches.

Check out our post on the distinctions between olefin and sunbrella cushions, as well as outdura, if you need assistance determining which sort of cushion you want in your garden. On our website, you’ll also discover other cleaning suggestions, such as how to clean a hot tub without emptying it.


If you have outdoor furniture that is made from canvas, it can be a challenge to clean. The best way to do this is by using a solution of water and dish soap. You’ll want to make sure the cushions are completely dry before storing them away. Reference: how to clean patio furniture cushions and canvas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean outdoor cushions?

A: You can use a vacuum cleaner, or you can clean it with water.

How do you clean outdoor cushions without removable covers?

A: You can use a mop and bucket to clean outdoor cushions.

What is the best way to clean the fabric on outdoor furniture?

A: The best way to clean the fabric is with a microfiber cloth. In order for this method to work, make sure that you are using cold water and hold it against the furniture for about 15 seconds before moving on to another part of your outdoor furniture

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