Information and Care of Your Outdoor Cushions:

John Fitzpatrick - Outdoor Furniture
John Fitzpatrick

Outdoor Furniture Consultant -

Cushions and pillows bring softness and style to outdoor furniture, but they endure a lot of wear and tear when exposed to the Irish elements. The fabric can gather dirt, debris, mildew, tree sap, bird droppings, and other stains from outdoor use, so it's important to know how to clean them to keep your seating area fresh and comfortable.

Plan to wash your cushions before storing them away for the season, or more frequently as stains happen. Depending on where they're stored, you might also want to clean outdoor cushions before using them for the first time each year. Follow the steps below for the best way to clean outdoor cushions, including how to remove common stains like mildew from outdoor fabrics.

Some outdoor cushions feature removable covers that you can simply put in the washing machine. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and let air-dry completely before putting the covers back on.

If you can't remove the cover from your cushions, refresh them using a simple cleaning solution and your garden hose. Be sure to do this on a solid outdoor surface, such as a patio or deck, to avoid creating new mud or grass stains on them.

As with most stains, it's best to treat stains on outdoor cushions as soon as possible. Use these instructions for specific types of spots:

Grass Stains

We recommend using a liquid detergent that has stain-removing enzymes. Use a soft brush to work the detergent into the stain and rinse with clean water.

Mould or Mildew

Use a brush to scrape away as much of the mould or mildew as possible. Be sure to do this outside to avoid spreading the spores to other areas of your home. Spray undiluted distilled white vinegar over the affected area and wait at least 10 minutes. For stubborn stains, place a cloth soaked in vinegar over the spot. Scrub the cushions with a brush, then clean with a sponge dipped in water and a small amount of detergent. Rinse and let air-dry completely in a sunny spot.

Oil Stains

Remove greasy stains from sunscreen, bug spray, and food by sprinkling baking soda on the fabric. Wait 15 minutes for the oil to be absorbed, then scrape off the powder with a straightedge tool like a ruler or credit card. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone.

Tree sap

Apply an enzyme-based stain remover to the stain, then sprinkle some powdered detergent on top to create a paste. Scrub gently with a brush and rinse with hot water. If the discoloration remains, wash with oxygen bleach to restore the colour.

Many outdoor cushions and pillows are treated with a special coating that resists water and stains. Replenish this coating or protect untreated fabrics with a protective fabric spray like Scotchgard® Fabric Protector, ensuring the cushions are completely clean beforehand to avoid sealing in dirt or stains.

If your outdoor cushions are looking a bit flat and tired, try these handy tips to get them back into shape:

Place your cushions, if they fit, into your dryer for 15 minutes to a half hour. If they are too big, place them in the sun for three hours, remembering to flip them after an hour and a half. Doing so will dry out the moisture that is trapped in the cushions, allowing them to plump up again. Also, after a day in the sun, plump them up to maintain their shape as you would indoor cushions.