outdoor cushions ready to be washed

Can You Wash Outdoor Cushions?

Outdoor cushions provide comfort and aesthetic appeal to our patios, decks, and outdoor sitting areas. Made of durable fabrics designed to withstand weather conditions, these cushions often need regular cleaning due to exposure to the elements.

Over time, they might accumulate dirt, mold, mildew, and stains, making it essential to clean them properly to maintain their appearance and durability.

Outdoor cushions can be washed to maintain their appearance and longevity. Depending on the fabric and type of stain, they can be hand-washed with mild soap, machine-washed with care, or cleaned using a vinegar and baking soda mix for stubborn mold and mildew. Always check care labels and let cushions air dry to retain their shape and color.

These methods have been detailed to provide a sure-fire way of looking after outdoor cushions.

Hand Washing Outdoor Cushions with Mild Soap

Hand washing is a gentle approach that helps maintain the fabric’s integrity while effectively cleaning your outdoor cushions. This method ensures they stay fresh and last longer.

  1. Preparation: Remove the outdoor cushions from the furniture. Gently brush off any loose dirt using a soft brush or cloth.
  2. Mix Cleaning Solution: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water. Add a few drops of mild soap, such as dishwashing liquid, and stir until it’s well-distributed.
  3. Spot Treatment: For stubborn stains, dab a bit of the soapy water on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  4. Cleaning: Using a sponge or soft cloth, immerse it in the solution. Gently scrub the outdoor cushions, ensuring you cover all areas, especially stained or soiled spots.
  5. Rinse: After cleaning, use a hose or buckets of clean water to rinse off the soap solution from the cushions.
  6. Wring Out Excess Water: Gently press the outdoor cushions to remove as much water as possible without wringing or twisting, which can damage their shape.
  7. Drying: Place the cushions outdoors in a sunny or well-ventilated area to air dry. Flip them occasionally to ensure even drying.
  8. Storage: Once completely dry, store the outdoor cushions in a dry place to avoid mold or mildew buildup.

By following this method, your outdoor cushions will be clean, fresh, and ready for your next outdoor gathering or relax in the sun.

Cleaning Outdoor Cushions in the Washer

Machine washing is a time-efficient method to clean your outdoor cushions, especially if they have removable covers. While it provides a thorough cleanse, it’s essential to handle the process carefully to avoid any potential fabric damage to the outdoor cushions.

  1. Check Care Label: Before anything else, inspect the care label on your outdoor cushion covers. It will guide you on the right settings and detergents.
  2. Pre-treatment: If there are stubborn stains, dab a bit of mild soap directly on them. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Remove Cushion Covers: If your outdoor cushions have removable covers, take them off carefully. This will allow for a more in-depth clean and reduce the risk of damaging the inner material.
  4. Load Washing Machine: Place the outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine. Avoid overloading; wash in batches if necessary.
  5. Select Gentle Cycle: Choose a cold water setting and a gentle washing cycle to preserve the fabric’s color and texture.
  6. Add Detergent: Use a mild detergent for the wash. Ensure you’re using the right amount as per the detergent instructions.
  7. Start the Wash: Let the machine do the work. Resist the temptation to use a speedier or hotter cycle.
  8. Air Dry: After the wash, spread the outdoor cushion covers in an outdoor area with good ventilation. Avoid direct sunlight as it might fade the colors.
  9. Reassemble: Once they’re completely dry, slide the covers back onto the outdoor cushions.

Adopting the machine-washing method can save time and effort, ensuring your outdoor cushions are clean and inviting without too much hassle.

Chemical-Free Vinegar and Baking Soda Mix for Cleaning Outdoor Cushions

Tackling mold and mildew on outdoor cushions requires a natural yet potent cleaning solution. The combination of vinegar and baking soda offers an effective way to address these common issues without introducing harsh chemicals.

  1. Gather Materials: Ensure you have white vinegar, baking soda, a spray bottle, a bucket, and a soft brush at hand.
  2. Preparation: Begin by brushing off loose dirt or debris from the outdoor cushions with a soft cloth or brush.
  3. Solution Mix: In a bucket, combine equal parts white vinegar and water. Transfer this mix into the spray bottle. Sprinkle baking soda into the bottle, stirring gently.
  4. Spray and Sit: Generously coat the outdoor cushions with the solution, especially on areas showing mold or mildew. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes.
  5. Gentle Scrubbing: Using the soft brush, gently scrub the outdoor cushions to lift off the mold and mildew. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, assisting in the process.
  6. Thorough Rinse: Use clean water to rinse off the solution. It’s vital to remove all remnants to avoid any residue.
  7. Air Out: Place the outdoor cushions outside in a shaded or partially shaded area for drying. Ensure they’re thoroughly dry to prevent mold regrowth.
  8. Final Inspection: Once dry, inspect the outdoor cushions to ensure all mold and mildew have been removed. If traces remain, you might want to repeat the process.

Using a vinegar and baking soda mix can be a game-changer, especially when dealing with persistent mold and mildew. This method ensures your outdoor cushions remain safe, clean, and ready for use.


Can you use bleach to clean outdoor cushions?

Bleach is a powerful cleaning agent known for its disinfecting properties and ability to lift stains. When considering its use for outdoor cushions, always check the fabric care label. Some fabrics may react adversely to bleach, causing fading or weakening. If the label allows for bleach, always dilute it properly with water. This helps minimize potential harm while ensuring effective cleaning.

Can you dry outdoor cushions in the dryer?

While the convenience of machine drying is tempting, most outdoor cushions aren’t suited for this. Machine drying can lead to unwanted shrinkage, fabric warping, or even accelerated wear and tear. The safest route is to let them air dry, ensuring they retain their shape, color, and overall integrity.

How do you remove stains from outdoor cushions?

Stains can be stubborn, but a pre-treatment solution can be helpful. Apply a mix of mild soap and water directly on the stain, allowing it some time to break down the blemish. After this, a gentle scrub should lift the stain. For more resilient stains, a fabric cleaner may be necessary. Always test any solution on a hidden area before widespread application to ensure no adverse reactions.

How do you prevent outdoor cushions from getting dirty?

Protecting your cushions is key to extending their lifespan. Consider using protective covers when they’re not in use, and store them in a dry place, preferably indoors or in a storage box. Regular brushing or gentle vacuuming can also keep dirt and debris at bay, ensuring your cushions remain presentable and inviting.

Can you pressure wash outdoor cushions?

While pressure washing is an efficient way to clean large surfaces, it may be too harsh for outdoor cushions. A pressure washer can potentially damage the fabric or force water into cushion interiors. If you decide to use this method, use a low-pressure setting and maintain a safe distance to mitigate any potential fabric harm.

How do you clean mold and mildew from outdoor cushions?

Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. A natural solution combining white vinegar and water can be sprayed onto affected areas. Letting this mixture sit for a while helps in breaking down the mold and mildew. A gentle scrub with a brush post-application can effectively remove these unwanted growths. Remember to rinse thoroughly and let the cushions dry in a well-ventilated area.


Cleaning outdoor cushions is essential to prolong their life and maintain their vibrant appearance. Whether you prefer hand washing, machine washing, or using natural solutions, always ensure you’re gentle with the fabrics. Regular maintenance, protective covers, and proper storage can prevent excessive dirt accumulation, ensuring your cushions remain pristine for years to come.