How To Clean Outdoor Patio Cushions

freshly washed outdoor patio cushions

Are your outdoor patio cushions looking a little worse for wear? You want your outdoor space to look as nice as possible, and cleaning the cushions can make a big difference to the whole atmosphere.

Outdoor cushions need to be cleaned fairly frequently to keep them looking nice, and in many cases, you can remove the outer covers and put them through your washing machine. For non-removable covers, you may need to make a solution of borax and dish soap, or use white vinegar.

In this article, we’ll explore the many options you have for washing your outdoor cushions and making them look spick and span again.

How Do You Wash Your Patio Cushions?

If your cushions are looking dirty, there are several options for cleaning them, and we’ll look at each in more detail below. You might want to try:

  • Laundering the covers
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Borax and dish soap
  • White vinegar

Any of these, or a combination of them, can help to refer your cushions and make them look bright and comfortable once more. Nobody wants to sit on dirty old cushions, so let’s start exploring these methods.

Laundering The Covers

The covers are probably the part of your cushions that are in most need of a clean, and most outdoor furniture cushions will have removable covers for this reason. If your cushions have removable covers, the best and easiest way to clean them is in your washing machine.

To do this, first check the care instructions. These should tell you what temperature to launder the covers on. If the instructions have faded, opt for a low temperature to be safe.

Next, unzip the covers and remove them from the cushions. Put the cushions somewhere where they won’t get dirty, and wash the covers as you would any normal items of clothing. When they are done, hang them up to air dry.

When the covers are fully dry, put them back on the cushions and your work is done.

Using A Vacuum Cleaner

You may want to do this before you launder the covers if your cushions have crumbs, sand, earth, and other bits of debris on them. Some of this can be brushed away with a stiff brush, but a vacuum cleaner is often the best way to remove dirt from the cushions.

To do this, simply place the cushions on a clean, flat surface, attach the upholstery hose to your vacuum, and work your way across every cushion, lifting off all the loose debris. This should be done on a regular basis to make sure you have a clean place to sit.

Using Borax And Dish Soap

If you can’t launder your cushion covers, you may want to spot treat the dirt on them using borax and dish soap. This is a powerful cleaning solution that will lift even stubborn dirt out of fabric. It’s often a good idea to vacuum the cushions first to remove all the loose dirt.

Note that you should choose a hot day for this method to ensure the cushions can dry properly after they have been cleaned.

Start by mixing ¼ cup of borax with a tablespoon of dish detergent, and then add them to a bucket of warm water. Apply this solution to the cushions with a sponge or soft brush, and scrub the surface thoroughly. Allow the solution to soak into the cushion, and then go back over any heavy stains.

When you’ve finished, rinse the cushions thoroughly with cold, clean water to remove the solution. The water should run clear before you stop rinsing, or there will still be some solution in the fabric. Stand the cushions somewhere airy and warm to dry, and they should look much better.

Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is also good for cleaning cushions, and can help to sterilize them and destroy any bacteria in the fabric. It neutralizes odors too.

To do this, add ¼ of a cup of white vinegar to 4 cups of warm water, and tip the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray it thoroughly over the surface of the cushions and leave it for 15 minutes. Next, use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the cushions, focusing on any stains, and then leave them to air dry.

You shouldn’t need to rinse the vinegar off as it is a diluted substance, and most of it will evaporate. The smell will soon disappear, especially in the open air, so don’t worry about it lingering and making your cushions smell like pickles.


There are lots of great ways to clean outdoor patio cushions and make them look inviting once more. Use your vacuum to get rid of loose debris on the surface of the cushions, and then put the covers in your washing machine or wash them with borax and detergent, or white vinegar.

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