Outdoor Living

How to Clean Outdoor Pillows and Cushions

Learning how to clean your outdoor pillows and cushions is key to getting them to last for years. With a little time and elbow grease, you can have beautifully clean cushions, free of dirt and stains. You’ll be surprised how just clean cushions can make your outside area look and feel wonderful to both you and your guests. 

Here’s how you can clean those outdoor cushions and pillows and keep them looking great season after season. 

Check the Tag

Outdoor cushions and pillows vary in what type of fabric they are made from. Different types of fabric require different types of cleaning. The best way to clean yours is to follow what the manufacturer suggests. These directions will be located on a small tag somewhere on your cushion. Follow these directions to get the best results. If you don’t find a tag, no worries, just follow the basic cleaning instructions below. 

Machine Wash If Possible

If you’re lucky enough to have cushion and pillow covers that you can remove, this process is going to be quick and easy. Carefully remove the cover and set the cushion aside. Shake the cover to remove any debris that might be hanging around. Check the cushion for any stains and pre-treat with your favorite stain remover.

Follow the washing instructions on the tag or if there isn’t a tag, you can machine wash them on normal. If you notice any mold or mildew, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash, following your washing machine’s manufacturer’s instructions. 

Wet the Cushions and Pillows

If you can’t remove the covers from the cushions or pillows, don’t despair, you can still get them clean. Take your garden hose, turn it on high, and thoroughly wet them down. You want the cushions to be damp but not dripping wet. 

Scrub Them Down

Time to get to the deep cleaning. Mix together 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of warm water. If you have mildew or mold on the cushions or pillows, add ¼ cup of borax to the bucket. Take a scrub brush and apply the solution to the cushions, scrubbing as you wet the pillow with the solution. Give it a good scrub paying special attention to any stains or dirty areas. This will take a bit of elbow grease, but you should be able to remove all the dirt by scrubbing. 

After you’ve scrubbed the solution on the cushions or pillows, let them sit for 15 minutes.

Give Them a Final Rinse

After your cushions and pillows have had time to sit with the cleaning solution, give them a final rinse with the garden hose. You’ll want to thoroughly wet them down, making sure that you remove all the soap. 

Let Them Dry

Take a towel and blot away as much of the water as you can. Then allow them to air-dry outside, preferably in the sun. You want to make sure that the cushions and pillows dry completely so they don’t get any mold. 

Consider Protection

After the cushions are completely dry, you may want to consider adding a fabric protector spray to help them resist stains and dirt. This is entirely optional but it may give you a few more seasons with your current cushions. 

Follow these directions as often as needed to clean your cushions and pillows. Cleaning them once a season is a good rule of thumb. If you can, store your cushions away during the winter months, to keep them away from the harsh weather.

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