How to care for outdoor furniture cushions

This month we wanted to look at how to care for outdoor furniture cushions in more detail.

We recently published a couple of articles that looked at how to make cushion covers for outdoor furniture and how to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers and those posts have proven to be very popular, however, I wanted to expand on the subject in a little more detail.

I suppose you could argue we maybe should have published this post first. A case of ‘cart before the horse’ so to speak. So apologies for that!

We'll rectify it now, and look more at how to care for our Garden Cushions. How you should look after them in order to reduce any need to make new and hopefully minimise any need (or at least the amount of time) to clean them.

As the old saying goes; prevention is better than the cure...

Why garden cushions are important

For me a garden chair isn’t complete without a good cushion. And it doesn’t matter what material that chair is made from too. 

I know as manufacturers we spend much of our time debating/saying which material makes the best garden furniture. However, regardless of what a chair is constructed from, a good cushion will always take it to the next level comfort-wise.

Even the synthetic/poly rattan style seating, which is a supple material (in other words it has more give than wood and metal), isn’t great for long term sitting without cushions, especially on a warm day. It just isn’t nice to the touch when it/you’re hot. 

If you want to sit for any period of time, then you need good outdoor furniture cushions. Cushions that not only look good but fit and stay secured to the chair/won’t slide off.

And, as those cushions are likely to be left outside, what’s even better is if they’re easy to care for too. Low maintenance cast aluminium outdoor furniture needs low maintenance outdoor furniture cushions. Easy to remove, easy to store but, most importantly, easy to clean and quick to dry.

We went into great detail about the materials/fabrics used to make our outdoor furniture cushions in our article are outdoor furniture cushions waterproof, so I won’t repeat the finer details. 

However, it is worth reiterating that the fabric we use for our cushions is both waterproof and designed to not fade in the sun/UV rays.

How to keep outdoor furniture cushions clean

Our cushions are just like the Lazy Susan outdoor furniture collection itself to be honest with you...

They’re designed and constructed to stand up to the elements. However, like anything that is left outside, be it your car, decking or garden furniture, it will always need a little TLC from time to time. 

Outdoor furniture cushions are no different. Although the fabric on our outdoor furniture cushions is water resistant, when not in use, I would always advise you store them inside. It will not only keep them cleaner for longer, it will help to reduce the need to clean them.

A little preventative care will make it much easier when they do need a ‘freshen-up’, and it will help keep them looking like new for longer.

In terms of general care, I will simply give them a wipe over with a damp microfibre cloth if they’ve been outside for a day or two during the summer. It just helps to get any surface dust off more than anything.

I try not to leave them out overnight but it is easy to forget. And whilst waterproof, I’ll still always try and keep them out of the rain. Whip them in quick sharp if it starts.  

As I say, I’ll generally store them inside when not in use too, even during the summer months.

Of course they can (and mine have) been caught in a sudden downpour. Just must make sure they’re fully dry before you use them again. It won’t do them any harm but it’s not very pleasant to sit on damp cushions and it could encourage mould/mildew to form.

If you decide to store them in storage bags or containers, then again, also make sure they're never put away damp for the same reason.

I’m lucky I have a large, well ventilated utility room they can sit in if damp until dry, and a cupboard to keep them in when not needed.

To further protect them, I’ll also use an outdoor fabric protector. It just helps any liquids (be it a sudden downpour or the kids juice) better run off and less likely to stain.

Our cushions are waterproof, and rain is unlikely to stain, so the fabric protector will primarily help to minimise any stains from food, drinks, tree sap, pollen, insects or bird droppings, etc. However, that said, they do seem to help rain drops bead and run off a little bit quicker.

There’s a number of good products on the market, so just have a shop around, do a little research. Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturers instructions/guidelines and if in doubt test on a small inconspicuous area before you apply to the full cushion. 

Two of our favourite (tried and tested) brands are as follows:

Scotchgard™ Protector Water & Sun Shield

Scotchgard Outdoor Cushion Protector
You know what you’re getting with 3M’s Scotchgard™ brand…They’re the market leaders in this field for good reason. They offer a line of products that are specifically designed to provide protection from the elements. 

If it can be stained, faded, or tarnished, Scotchgard will probably have a formula that can provide dependable protection, and that is what you get with their Scotchgard™ Protector Water & Sun Shield

We’ve mentioned it before on this Blog, and all it needs is a simple, one-step application to give your cushions that little extra protection. 

You can also use it on the outdoor furniture itself, parasols, grill covers, tarps, flags, awnings, boat covers, spa covers, auto covers and pretty much anything else you can think of!

Professional Strength Outdoor Furniture Waterproofer

Professional Strength Outdoor Furniture Water Proofer
This on the other-hand is a product I’ve not mentioned on our blog before. In fact, it is one that was only recently (last summer) recommend to me. So, I’ve not been using it long, but I can definitely say I really like it.

Again, like the above it will help to further protect your outdoor furniture cushions from the rain, dirt, grease, bird droppings, etc, and as they say on their website: 

Garden furniture has become ever more popular in recent years, with outdoor couches and bean bags showing up in gardens everywhere. Unlike older style patio furniture, the fabrics are comfortable and soft and resemble living room furniture, the difference being that they live outside and are susceptible to the elements. So, how can you protect your outdoor furniture from rain, dirt, nocturnal animals and birds that take aim at your lovely new garden sofa? You need a powerful water proofer to keep your garden furniture and awnings looking as good as new.

Professional Strength Water Proofer is easy to apply and great value for money.

It penetrates the fabric to form a protective barrier around the fibres, so that water and other liquids simply bead on the surface and run off. Which basically means that if those cushions do get caught in a shower, they’ll dry much quicker!

You simply spray on an even coat to clean, dry fabric and leave it to fully air dry for 24 hours.

It’s not just on outdoor cushions I’ve used it too… On the mesh weave fabric of our Garden Sun Loungers, my Lazy Susan Parasol, a caravan awning and even the families hiking gear have all been protected with Professional Strength. 

And as I say, I’ve used both the above products in recent years, they’re both great, but other brands are available, this isn’t a paid for advert.

However, if I had to pick a favourite brand I think the Professional Strength Outdoor Furniture Water Proofer would probably just shade it for our outdoor furniture cushions. They’re both great products though, Professional Strength just goes a little further for the price.

How to store outdoor furniture cushions 

When it comes to actual storage, my advice is to purchase some proper storage bags or a storage chest, cupboard or box…

As I mentioned above, always store dry!

I will sometimes give them a spray of Febreeze or Astonish Fabric Refresher (pictured below) before I put them away (again make sure dry before they go in) or when I get them out. You don’t need to do this, I just like the smell.

Astonish Fabric Refresher
Another tip is to pop in a tumble dryer sheet or two such as Lenor when you put them away over the winter months. And if you’re worried about moisture/dampness, these Moisture Absorber sachets (pictured below) from Unibond are great.

Unibond Moisture Absorber
I myself, I just use the Storage Bags (pictured below) that I purchased from Amazon to keep them together/tidy. Then pop them in the cupboard.

Outdoor Cushion Storage Bags
As I say, I’m lucky that I have cupboard space indoors to keep them dry, the bags are more just to keep them together/easier to take in and out. Just look for a bag that is waterproof but breathable and that the cushions can fit in flat so as not to crease/mishape the seat pad. 

The other option is storage boxes, cupboards or chests such as the example pictured below, again from Amazon:

Outdoor Furniture Storage 
However, if you use them, I would still place the cushions in a waterproof/breathable bag first.

How to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers

From a general cleaning point of view, the best way to tackle our outdoor furniture cushions is to hand wash in warm water with little mild detergent.

Using fabric protector, giving them a regular wipe with a damp cloth and correct storage when not in use should significantly reduce the need to clean but you’ll inevitably have to wash them at some point.

Our How to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers article looked at how to wash in much greater detail, while our recent Are outdoor furniture cushions waterproof post on the other hand provided a detailed breakdown of the materials used to make our cushions and the care label/instructions.

How to clean outdoor furniture foam inserts/seat pads

The aforementioned How to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers article also provided a detailed how to for cleaning our seat pads/inserts in the ‘Full Clean Method’.

It’s no good having a waterproof/UV resistant fabric if the foam insert isn't fit for purpose. Ours are constructed from 100% Polyester Fibre so they hold their shape and are designed to stand up to the elements. They're also easy to wash and quick to dry!

The Lazy Susan outdoor furniture cushions collection

If you’ve purchased outdoor furniture from Lazy Susan but didn’t take advantage of the option to add cushions at the checkout, then my advice would be to purchase today…

Lattice Bench Cushion in Stone £50.00 
Also available in Green, Blue and Terracotta.

Lattice Bench Cushion in Stone

April Bench Cushion in Green £50.00
Also available in Stone, Blue and Terracotta.

April Bench Cushion in Green

Lattice Lounger Cushion in Green £75.00
Also available in Terracotta, Blue and Stone.

Lattice Lounger Cushion in Green

Seat Pad Cushion in Blue £22.50  
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

Seat Pad Cushion in Blue

Curved Back Cushion in Blue £37.50
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

Curved Back Cushion in Blue

High Back Cushion in Blue £37.50
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

High Back Cushion in Blue

Shop our full Outdoor Cushion Collection.