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How To Clean Fabric Patio Furniture Cushions

How To Clean Outdoor Cushions Without Borax

Step by Step Instructions to Clean Outdoor & Patio Furniture Cushions | Phifer Inc.

I have noticed almost EVERY single DIY cushion cleaner online adds borax. I use borax for many things, but I prefer this method for cleaning dirt from cushions. You will find borax added to the last method which is geared more towards mold and mildew. This DIY below is a great way to freshen up everything if you plan to have company or just need to spruce up your patio.


  • Hose with spray nozzle


  • First, shake out your cushions and beat out dust and debris. This step is very important!
  • Add the warm water to a bowl, sprinkle in the washing soda, then add in the dish washing liquid. I always use blue Dawn because it works best . You can also add the solution to a spray bottle! It is your preference. I prefer spray bottles if I just want to quickly clean, but will use the bowl for deep cleaning.
  • If you have very stained cushions, now is the time to spray some hydrogen peroxide on them. Oxygenated bleach like peroxide doesnt remove coloring from fabric, but TEST a spot first. If you dont have stains, you can skip the peroxide.
  • Dip your scrub brush into the warm water solution, scrub in a small circular motion all around the cushions. If you sprayed the peroxide, really scrub that area!
  • Allow solution to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse with a hose.
  • Sunbrella Fabric Vs Sunscreen:

    Im sure many of us have kids, and I know you spend far too much time begging them to put o sunscreen before they head into the pool or into the sun, just for them to get it on your Sunbrella cushions. Well, worry not, we have the solution for you!

    Begin by scraping the excess sunscreen off with a spoon. Next, spay the affected area with a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water and begin to agitate with a soft bristle brush from seam to seam. Lastly, rinse with water to remove any soap residue. If you find that soap didnt do the trick, try using a strong degreaser. Lastly, pat dry and continue with your warm, sunny day outside.

    Also works for bird droppings, ketchup/mustard, cola, raw egg, grape juice, milk and tea.

    Oh yeah, we can see it now- youre having a great morning, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and youre sitting out on your patio with a fresh cup of coffee in hand. Then, suddenly, the cup slips out of your hand and the coffee lands on your Sunbrella cushions, and just like that your morning, and your cushion, is ruined. Or so you thought! Dont fret, heres how to clean up that pesky coffee stain!

    Begin by rinsing the area with a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water.  For tougher stains, you can try a mixture of bleach and water. Then, agitate the area with a soft bristle brush until the stain is out, scrubbing from seam to seam. Next, rinse thoroughly with water to remove soap residue. Lastly, pat dry and then allow to air dry.

    The Best Way To Clean Outdoor Cushions

    Related Articles

    Easy-to-maintain outdoor cushions are available in an array of colors and textures. Colorfast, durable fabrics woven with solution-dyed acrylic fibers are attractive and pleasant to the touch. These fabrics resist sun damage and mildew. The cushion fillings usually consist of polyester fiber or a combination of fast-drying exterior grade foam and polyester wrap. Cleaning techniques for these outdoor cushions are simple and affordable. Environmental-friendly cleaning agents work in most situations, although chlorine bleach can be safely used on the toughest stains.

    Can I Use A Garden Hose To Clean My Outdoor Cushions

    Yes, if you can remove the cushions or cushion covers, go for it. It can be a really convenient and easy way to clean your cushions. 

    If you cant remove the cushions, carefully consider whether or not you want to usebe careful about using a garden hose to clean them. It could affect the base of the couch or chairs you are cleaning. Not to mention you might get other outdoor furniture wet.

    For Tough Stains Let The Area Soak For 15 To 20 Minutes

    If you notice that the stain isnt breaking down, just wait a little longer.

    To remove the most difficult stains from your patio cushions, let them soak for a couple of hours before you scrub.

    It takes a little more time, but it may be worth it in the long run.

    If the stain doesnt seem to break down, repeat the process of rinsing the cushions and applying dish soap one more time. Keep doing this until the stain disappears.

    Use A Scrub Brush On Any Tough Spots

    Once the patio cushions are done soaking, take out your scrub brush. Give the cushion a thorough scrub, anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes depending on the toughness of the stain.

    If you dont have a scrub brush, apply your dish soap to a cloth and scrub your patio cushions.

    Use an up-and-down or side-to-side motion. Scrubbing in this way helps loosen dirt from deep within the fabric, which is something that water alone cant do.

    Most importantly, repeat this process until the stains have vanished!

    How To Remove Stains On Outdoor Cushions And Pillows

    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: If the above Borax solution doesn’t work on grass stains, use a liquid detergent that has stain-removing enzymes, such as Tide Heavy Duty Hygienic Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent . Use a soft brush to work the detergent into the stain and rinse with clean water.
    • Mold or mildew: Use a brush to scrape away as much of the mold 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 cornstarch or baking soda on the fabric. Wait 15 minutes for the oil to be absorbed, then scrape off the powder with a straightedge 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 to restore the color.

    Making Food Stains Go Away

    Having a snack out in the garden is a real pleasure until some of it gets on the furnitures covering. No need to worry too much! While greasy stains are very stubborn once they penetrate deeper, you can prevent soiling with a simple trick:

    • As soon as you notice the stain, generously apply salt on it until its fully covered.
    • Leave it there for 5-10 minutes until the crystals absorb the greasy substance.
    • Brush the salt off and clean with warm water and soap.
    • If you have a product specifically for stains, you can add a little bit, too.
    • Wash and leave to dry.

    How Outdoor Cushions Get Dirty

    How to Easily Clean Patio Cushions

    Melting ice cream, muddy paws, and red wine: Some of the best things about summertime are also the messiest. Also, it’s the outdoors. Anything can happen in nature. You’re probably expecting rain, sun, snow, grime, dirt, and dust to mess with your furniture, but things like debris from your neighbor’s tree, mold and mildew, and bird droppings can cause just as many problems when it comes to keeping your cushions clean. While you can’t control Mother Nature, to keep cushions looking as new as the day you bought them, you can get to know your fabric, learn how to treat stains as they happen, and have a cleaning kit ready. No matter where you live, you can keep your in good shape year-round. The best outdoor cushions are water-resistant and machine-washable, but tough stains require more specific cleaning methods and products. 

    How To Clean Mold Off Outdoor Cushions

    When cleaning mold off outdoor cushions, its important to start with a cleaning solution made from one part Borax to four parts warm water, saturate the area on the cushion and use a microfiber cloth to blot out the stain. For tougher stains, allow the solution to sit for 20-30 minutes before blotting. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

    Eliminating Bird Poop Stains

    Its hard to predict when you may get a visit from birds and what they leave behind can be really unpleasant to clean. Still, though, not impossible. Just prepare and do the following:

    • Gently scrape off all of the excess dirt with a plastic tool.
    • Spray the stain with a mixture of warm water and detergent. Any enzyme-based cleaners are also welcome to try. You can scrub a little bit with a toothbrush to get the solution deeper into the fabric.
    • Then wash and rinse the outdoor furnitures cover. If stains are still visible, you can repeat the procedure.

    To Clean Outdoor Cushions With Summer Classics Exclusive Fabrics:

    Use only water-based cleaning agents.

    From Summer Classics Warranty Instructions:


    Remember, although outdoor fabrics all have Ultra-Violet light inhibitors, the sun and weather will eventually degrade the cushion. Storing the cushions indoors when not in use will prolong the life of the cushions significantly.


    Most Summer Classics cushions have a water-resistant jacket underneath the fabric, which resists water from soaking the cushion cores. Older cushions did not have these jackets , and we would have to wait many days for a cushion to dry, and only if it was standing on its corner so the water could weep out of the seams. The new water-resistant jacket allows us to enjoy our furniture much sooner after a rain, especially with a little elbow grease and  a quick towel dry!


    Remember, a little prevention goes a long way to protecting your investment and enjoying your Summer Classics furniture for years to come.

    Method 3 Of 3:cleaning Tough Stains

  • 1Remove wine stains. Spray the stain with clean water, so the stain is saturated. Spray the stain with soapy water and rub the area with a bristle brush. This will work the soap deep into the stain. Spray more clean water over the stain to rinse the soap out. Pat the stain dry with a soft cloth and let it air dry.XResearch source
  • For an even deeper clean, vacuum the area with a wet vacuum.
  • 2Wash away blood stains. You can remove dried blood stains by mixing a simple solution. Spray the stained area with soapy water to try to remove as much of the stain as possible. Then mix up the blood stain cleanser and spray it over the stain. Use a bristled brush to gently rub the cleanser in and then rinse it with water. For the blood stain cleanser, mix together:XResearch source
  • 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid
  • 1/2 cup of ammonia
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 3Make a soapy vinegar cleanser. For strong smelling stains, you’ll need to make soap and vinegar solution. Combine 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid with 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Transfer some of this to a spray bottle and spray it over the stained area. Rub the cleanser in with a sponge or bristle brush and then rinse it clean with water. The soapy vinegar cleanser will remove these stains:XResearch source
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  • Read Tags And Instructions

    Read labels to find out the fabric and filling content of your cushions. Fabrics include solution-dyed acrylics, PVC-coated polyesters and vinyls. Some cushion covers are secured with zippers or fabric fasteners, while some cannot be removed. Follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. If cleaning tags are missing, check the manufacturers website.

    Sunbrella And Solution Dyed Acrylics

    A soil-and-stain-resistant finish that makes outdoor cushion cleaning a breeze. Spot wash by sponging briskly with a soapy solution of natural soap in lukewarm water. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove soap and air dry. For stubborn stains or suntan lotion, use a fabric spot remover. Follow directions on container. Rinse thoroughly with clean water, and air dry. Solution-dyed acrylic does not promote mildew growth. However, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. To clean mildew stains, prepare a mild solution on one cup bleach plus two capfuls of a natural soap per gallon of water. Spray on entire area and allow to soak in. If necessary, cleaning outdoor furniture might require a vigorous scrub with a sponge or a clean rag. Sponge thoroughly with clean water, and air dry.

    How To Clean Patio Furniture: Teak Wood

    Teak is a beautiful, natural material and the best wood for outdoor use. It starts out a warm, golden-brown color and naturally weathers into a silver-gray tone.

    We recommend using a gentle soap and warm water to clean teak. It may be tempting, but itâs best to avoid using a power washer to clean it. It can deepen any natural cracks in the wood, letting water and erosion in.

    If mold has grown on the surface of your teak furniture, add a small amount of bleach to your cleaning solution . This will break down the mold, making it easier to remove.

    To clean your teak furniture, youâll need a few extra tools to make sure you get the best results possible.

    How To Clean Patio Cushions With Mildew

    Care Guide – How to Clean Your Patio Cushions

    If you have mold or mildew on your cushions, you will need to use some different methods to get it out. There are a few things to try. Depending on what type of fabric you have or how bad the mold is, these will help!

    This will be a similar solution to the first method, but with some changes to address mold or mildew. In this particular case, we WILL be using borax.  Cleaning mildew off outdoor fabric can be simple with this DIY solution.



  • Mix up the solution in a bowl.
  • Using the scrub brush, add a generous amount to the cushion or fabric, rub in circular motions and upward.
  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Spray off with hose.
  • How Often To Clean

    Don’t allow stains to wait for summer to end before you treat them. The type of stain remover you need depends upon the specific stain. A good overall cleaner is Carbona Pro Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner. The foaming action and built-in scrub brush is perfect for outdoor fabrics. The key to success is giving the treatment time to work. No product is magic; allow it at least 30 minutes to penetrate to loosen the stains. While you are cleaning the cushions, don’t forget to give metal, plastic, and rattan furniture a proper cleaning.

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

  • Launder as usual. Fabric stained with self-tanner will need additional treatment.

  • Can I Wash Patio Furniture Cushions In The Washing Machine

    Before throwing your cushions into a washing machine, check the care tags to see if theyre machine washable. If they dont say machine washable, then using a washing machine will damage the fabric or the stuffing. If it is machine washable, then check that they fit in the washing machine with enough room to agitate.

    If the cushion has a removable cover, you can put the cover in the washing machine without risking the foam core.

    Step 1: Mix The Cleaning Solution

    Lay your cushions out on a deck or patio. Do not wash them in your yard as you will only get grass stains and mud all over them.

    In your bucket or container filled with warm water, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of dish detergent and ¼ cup of Borax. The Borax helps if you have mildew stains, but otherwise it’s not needed.

    How To Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions By Hand

    a. Choose sunny weather, place cushions of outdoor furniture on the driveway or terrace, and spray each cushion with water to ensure that cushions are fully moistened. Be careful not to put these cushions on the lawn to avoid contamination with dirt and weeds.

    b. Use a brush to fully apply the dish soap to that cushions. Scrub the entire area of these cushions to produce a lot of foam. For severe stains or moldy areas, you need to apply more detergent, then let it rest on these cushions for 5-10 minutes to allow the solution to fully penetrate the stain, and then wipe it with a brush.

    c.Rinse the outdoor furniture cushions thoroughly with a hose to ensure that the detergent is rinsed out to avoid leaving white traces of the detergent after each cushion is dried.

    d.Spray fabric protection sprays on the entire area of these cushions to form a protective layer.

    e.Press these cushions with your hands to remove most of the moisture, and then hang these outdoor furniture cushions upright in a sunny area to dry it.

    How To Clean Patio Furniture: A Guide

    Letâs face it: furniture that lives outside gets dirty! And in this day and age, it should be easy to learn how to clean patio furniture.

    Dust, pollen, and weather conditions can all impact the look and longevity of your outdoor furniture, so itâs important to know the best ways to keep your furniture looking and feeling fresh.

    Our top tips for how to clean patio furniture, as well as all the supplies youâll need to get the job done, can be found ahead. From removing damp mold from fabrics to getting into the weave of your furnitureâs wicker to ensure a thorough clean, Outer shows you how!

    Tip: To skip straight to the good stuff, check out this video on how to keep your outdoor pieces clean.

    How To Remove Stains From Canvas Patio Furniture And Pillows

    • Mildew: While the fabric is dry, brush the surface with a soft-bristled brush to loosen and remove mildew spores. Make a paste of one tablespoon liquid laundry detergent and one teaspoon powdered oxygen bleach and apply it to the mildew stains with a soft-bristled brush. Allow the paste to sit for at least one hour before rinsing.
    • Food and oily stains: Use a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent on each stained area and work it into the fabric with a soft-bristled brush. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before rinsing.
    • Bird droppings: If the dropping is wet, allow it to dry before cleaning. Use the edge of a dull knife or a credit card to lift away any dry solids. Dab the spot with liquid detergent, work it into the stain with a brush, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Add a bit of powdered oxygen bleach to the detergent if the stain is dark from berries the bird ate.
    • Grass: Make a paste of one tablespoon liquid laundry detergent and one teaspoon powdered oxygen bleach and apply it to the stain with a soft-bristled brush. Allow the paste to sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.
    • Tree sap: Work a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent onto the stained area with a scrub brush. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing the area with the brush dipped in hot water.

    The White Vinegar Method

    The White Vinegar Method is a non-toxic and eco-friendly way to clean outdoor cushions of any fabric.

    You can use distilled white vinegar for many tasks around the house, and one of those tasksyou guessed itis removing mold and mildew from outdoor cushions.

    However, this might not be the ideal method if your outdoor cushions are severely affected by mold or mildew. In that case, go with a more rigorous technique to get a deeper cleaning, such as the pressure washer or bleach methods.

    Tools and Materials:

    • Water


  • If the cushion covers are removable, toss them into the washing machine and add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. White vinegar is acidic and can kill up to 82% of mold. Plus, it helps to prevent further mold outbreaks.If you dont have removable cushion covers, continue with the next steps.
  • Fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  • Spray it all over the cushions on both sides.
  • Allow the vinegar to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Mix three cups of warm water with one tablespoon of dish soap. Stir to dissolve.
  • Soak a sponge in the mixture before scrubbing the cushions on both sides.
  • Rinse the cushions with a clean damp cloth.
  • Air out the cushions in a sunny spot until completely dry.
  • Spray the white vinegar onto the cushions again to prevent further mold and mildew outbreaks.
  • Can I Wash Patio Furniture Cushions With A Pressure Washer

    Maintaining Patio Furniture with 303® Multi-Surface Cleaner and Indoor & Outdoor Fabric Guard

    You can wash patio furniture cushions with a pressure washer if you wash them carefully. Set the pressure to the lowest possible setting, and if the soap tip is adjustable, set that to the lowest possible setting as well. Stand 2 feet back and place the cushions on a flat, dry surface.

    However, outside of mold and mildew removal, theres little reason to risk using a pressure washer.

    Clean Your Patio Cushions Before You Store Them

    When its time to pack up your cushions for the colder months, be sure to check them for any stains or food spills. These will be harder to remove if theyre left all winter and can attract bugs.  Also ensure that the pillows are thoroughly dry before you send them off to storage to prevent any mold or mildew.  Waterproof storage bags are available if you dont have a completely weather-proof area to store them.

    How Do You Remove Mildew From Metal Outdoor Furniture

    Metal furniture can be prone to mold building up in the form of algae or mildew. To remove mold from metal outdoor furniture, you want to make sure to have the proper tools, including:

    • Face mask
    • Spray bottle
    • Cloth

    After gathering your materials, proceed to inspect the furniture from top to bottom so you know where the mold is located. Any untreated mold will continue to spread, so be sure to look under the furniture and in every hidden nook. Once inspected, follow these steps:

  • Scrub away mold by using the scrubbing brush and water. Hold the brush and use strokes that push away from you. Work especially hard on areas that come in contact with the ground, since mold is more prone in these areas. Wear a mask for safety.
  • Create a liquid solution using water and soap in the bucket. Put on gloves and dip a washcloth in the solution. Apply the cloth to the entire furniture set.
  • Wipe down and dry the furniture to get rid of moisture, which could cause mold to return. Be sure to look over the furniture and make sure you didnt miss any areas that needed to be cleaned.
  • Prevent future mold by wiping down furniture soon after it gets wet from rain, snow, or the hose. Apply a mold-resistant sealant to further reduce the likelihood of mold returning.
  • How To Clean Oil

    Whether its from sunscreen, bug spray, or food, oils can make their way onto outdoor cushions and pillows. These oils can also attract more dirt and grime. Dont worry, though! You can remove these stains with a dry absorbent powder like cornstarch or baking soda. Follow these steps to tidy up your cushions.


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