Cleaning and Caring for Outdoor Patio Cushions

Outdoor living spaces are a wonderful way to expand the size of the gathering areas of your home.  Our home has a fantastic pergola and deck off the kitchen/dining area, and it gets lots of use in the warmer months. When it’s just the three of us, we often dine al fresco in the evenings.  Plus, it’s like having a second living and dining space, especially when we have guests during warmer months.  And while it doesn’t need attention weekly like most indoor rooms, it does require care so that cushion and fabric items last longer than 1-2 seasons.

Tips to Keep your Outdoor Fabric Looking Nice

  • Address spills immediately.  This is a must-do for anything fabric related whether outdoor cushions, bedding, or clothing.  The sooner you address a spill, the more likely it is to be removed.  If your items came with care instructions or have care labels, be sure to consult them before attempting any stain removal.  If you are uncertain, you can always check with a professional for guidance. 
  • Dust and debris.  Pillow and cushion fluffing are probably a bit calmer than what I actually mean, but periodically shake, beat, and punch them to clean off accumulated dust and dirt.  If they are exceptionally dusty, use a soft-bristle brush to aid in clean up.
  • Cover when not in use.  While this might be difficult to do, especially if you use your outdoor space a lot, it’s a good idea to cover cushions if you’ll be gone for an extended period or for lengthy inclement weather.  
  • Apply water and sun protection annually.  Choose a brand that protects fabric from both fading, by blocking out harmful UVA & UVB rays, and water damage, by repelling water and resisting stains.  Shores Fine Dry Cleaning’s Water and Sun Protection causes moisture to bead up and run off, and our UV protection will safeguard your cushions for years to come.
  • Clean before storing away.  Again, be sure to check the care labels to make sure your cushions can be cleaned.  I dilute about a quarter cup of mild liquid laundry detergent in a 5-gallon bucket of cool water and use a soft brush to clean the entire surface, then completely rinse to remove all the soap.  I do the entire surface to avoid any watermarks, then I make sure they are completely dry before placing them in storage.  
  • Store during off season.  Just as with clothing, you don’t want to place them in plastic or store them in a humid environment for fear of mildew.  Find a cool, dry place and cover them with some old sheets to keep dust from settling while in storage.

If you’d rather save time and have your outdoor patio cushions cared for professionally, just phone or stop by the nearest Shores location.  Fabric care is our specialty.