After a lively outdoor gathering, you look at your furniture and realize it’s time to clean things up. Between accidental spills, bird droppings, and bad weather conditions, your outdoor cushions have seen tough stains. You’ve tried to wash it, but these stains are not gone. If you’ve ever wondered how to wash outdoor chair cushions properly without causing damage, you’re not alone. Luckily, achieving clean patio furniture cushions isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Here are the steps to take.

how to wash outdoor chair cushions
How to wash outdoor chair cushions?

Step 1: Preparation: Understand the Fabric and Gather the Materials

Identify Fabric Type:

Before diving into cleaning your outdoor patio cushions, it’s vital to know what you’re working with. Various outdoor fabrics react differently to cleaning methods, and understanding the fabric type ensures you won’t cause unintentional damage.

First, take a close look at the care label. This small tag holds the secret to the cleaning recommendations for your specific cushion fabric. Whether it’s vinyl cushions or fabric surfaces, the care label will help your choice of cleaning solutions. If you’re dealing with more specific stains like grass stains, oil stains, or bird droppings, knowing the fabric type will guide you in selecting the appropriate stain remover. For instance, an enzyme-based stain remover might be the perfect choice for tough stains on certain outdoor cushion covers.

Gather Cleaning Supplies:

These are some Basic things you need:

  • Mild detergent or Dish Soap: Gentle on the fabric but tough on dirt.
  • Soft-Bristle Brush or Scrub Brush: For gentle scrubbing without damaging the fabric.
  • Clean Water: Lukewarm water is usually ideal. Hot water might set some types of stains.
  • Sponge: For applying the soapy solution to the cushion surface.
  • Dry Towel: To dry the cushions using a towel during the drying process.

Step 2: Remove Cushion Covers If Possible

Unzip or Unfasten Covers:

Removable patio cushion covers offer a great advantage: They can be washed in the machine with mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Just make sure you adhere to the cleaning guidelines. If your cushion covers are stretchy or made of particular outdoor fabrics like rattan furniture, you prefer to wash them from your hands. Keep in mind that not all cushion covers are machine washable.

For more advice on cleaning your indoor cushions, see our guide on how to clean dining chair cushions.

Step 3: Preliminary Cleaning: Remove Loose Dirt and Debris

Shake Cushions:

Take your outdoor patio cushions outside where you can give them a good shake. This will help remove any dry debris, loose dirt, and creepy crawlies that may have made a home in your cushions.

Brush Surface:

After shaking, it’s time to bring out your bristled brush (soft or hard brush, depending on the fabric) to brush the entire surface of the cushions. This step ensures that all surface dirt and residual dirt are removed before washing. You might consider using a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner if you want to ensure every bit of dirt build-up is gone.

Step 4: Prepare Cleaning Solution

Mix Water and Detergent:

The heart of your cleaning process lies in the mixture you prepare. In a bucket, combine a gallon of water with a quarter cup of mild soap or liquid detergent. Make sure to stir the solution well to avoid detergent residue. For those with bleach-friendly outdoor fabrics, a bleach mixture might be an option. You can also add a bit of oxygen-based bleach if you’re dealing with mildew stains or any dye stains. However, be cautious of bleach damage.

Step 5: Deep Cleaning: Scrub and Rinse

Apply Cleaning Solution:

This is where your outdoor cushions truly start to shine again. Dip a sponge or soft scrub brush into your prepared soapy solution and scrub the entire cushion. Pay special attention to seams and stubborn stains like greasy stains or blood stains.

For really tough spots, you might try an all-purpose stain remover or heavy-duty liquid detergent. Remember, always test a new cleaning mixture or tool on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it’s safe for your cushion fabric.

Rinse Thoroughly:

Once you’ve scrubbed the cushions, it’s time to rinse. Using a bucket of clean water, rinse the cushions to remove all soap residue.You might need to repeat this a few times to ensure a completely clean surface.

If you’re using a pressure washer, be mindful of excessive pressure. Use a pressure setting gentle enough not to damage the fabric but strong enough to remove the soapy water.

Step 6: Drying Process: Sun and Air Dry

Remove Excess Water:

After rinsing, take a clean towel to press the cushions and remove excess water. This step helps reduce the drying time and ensures no water is trapped inside the cushions.

Sun Dry:

Now, lay the cushions out in a sunny spot or a sunny wall, depending on the fabric’s sun damage resistance. If the care instructions warn against direct sunlight, choose a well-ventilated area instead. Allow enough drying time, and avoid reassembling the cushions if they are damp.

Step 7: Final Inspection and Reassemble

Check for Stains:

Before reassembling, give your cushions a final inspection. Look for any missed spots or remaining wet stains. If you find any, spot cleaning with a sudsy cleaning solution or other cleaning methods, like a steam cleaner, may be necessary.


With your outdoor chair cushions clean and dry, it’s time to reassemble. Replace the removable covers, if applicable, and place the cushions back on the chairs. Your patio furniture cushions are now ready to provide comfortable seating once again.

If you found this information useful, you can also explore our additional information on what are the most comfortable outdoor chairs.

Closing Statements About How to Wash Outdoor Chair Cushions:

Washing outdoor chair cushions may seem like a daunting task, but with proper cleaning methods, it’s easier than you think. So take the time today to freshen up your cushions and reward yourself with a relaxing seat in your favorite outdoor spot. You’ve got to know how to clean outdoor chair cushions, and your cushions will thank you for it!


Q: Can I wash the covers of my cushions in a washing machine?

A: Yes, if the care label on your cushion covers indicates that they are machine washable, you can use a washing machine on a gentle cycle with mild detergent.

Q: How frequently should I clean the cushions on my patio chairs?

A: Regular cleaning helps maintain the look and durability of your cushions. A routine cleaning every month, along with spot cleaning for accidental stains, is typically sufficient.

Q: Can I use bleach on my outdoor cushions?

A: Check the care instructions for your specific cushion fabric. Some outdoor fabrics may be bleach-friendly, while others may suffer bleach damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

Q: How do I prevent future stains on my outdoor furniture cushions?

A: Applying a fabric protectant spray or using outdoor furniture covers can provide additional protection against weather conditions and accidental spills.