How to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers

Our Outdoor Cushions are a popular add on when you purchase chairs or benches from Lazy Susan. They complete the look but they also add additional comfort. However, purchase them, and one of the first questions you’ll ask is how to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers?

They sit outside. Even in the summer months a light breeze will blow dust. You’re eating and drinking on them. Then there’s things like suncream, sap, spiders, bird droppings, children.

I could go on but at the very least if you avoid the above eventually you’ll just want to freshen them up!

For me, it’s that time of year I start getting those sorts of ‘jobs’ done. The things I’ve put off for too long now. Work is quietening down a little bit as we are out of season, so my weekends are generally free. I start getting the house ready for Christmas. I suppose a bit of a spring clean but in autumn. Get the garden ready for winter.

This weekend past, I swept all the leaves that had fallen, gave the garden a good pre-winter tidy and jet washed the patio. Its’s mild enough (well above freezing still) to spend a morning or so outside, and it’ll see me through till spring now. I’d already cleaned my Lazy Susan garden furniture. Washed, dried and popped away in the shed ready to pull out when things warm up.

However, one job I skipped was cleaning the outdoor chair cushions.

I have these great Outdoor Cushion Storage Bags I picked up from Amazon. I’d popped them away a month or so before the furniture as we’d had a bit of rain. Like our furniture, our cushions are weather resistant. They’re constructed from a fast drying weather-proof fabric that won’t fade in the sun.

But much like the furniture itself, I like to store them indoors when the weather turns.

In fact the cushions I generally only put them outside when I need them, even in the summer. I know, they’re weather-proof. It just gives me peace of mind that if they do get caught in a sudden downpour, they’ll be OK.

I store them inside more to keep them clean, free from bird and spider droppings, etc.

The big advantage of Lazy Susan outdoor cushion covers over many other products on the market is that the fabric covers themselves are easy to remove and machine washable.

So, even if they do get a little dirty, they’re easy to clean. You can easily remove the fabric from the foam pad via a zip to wash and refresh.

Our outdoor cushion collection can also be tied on to perfectly fit any of our Lazy Susan chairs, seats and benches too. If the wind picks up, they aren’t going to blow off or slide off when you’re sitting on them.

How to clean Lazy Susan outdoor furniture cushion covers

First up, the quick clean method

This is my regular method for cleaning our furniture cushions through the summer months… 

I’m not saying it is the only way you can clean but it has served me well, and it helps to keep the cushions looking and smelling fresh. I tend to do it after a day or so’s use but that’s me.

However, if they just need a light clean after being outside in the summer, then I will get a bowl or bucket and add a small amount of a liquid colour protect washing detergent. 

Not too much, just a small splash will suffice, you don’t want to have to rinse away to many suds.

I find the liquid mixes into the warm water much better than a powder and any undissolved granuals of powder can cause colour burn/bleaching if you don’t spot them. If you do use a powder, just make sure its well mixed into the warm water.

Then pop a microfibre cloth in the solution, ring it out and give the cushions a wipe over. This just helps to quickly freshen them up and remove any dust, etc. 

If there is a stain or bird dropping, then leave a little more water on the cloth and try blotting the mark off. Don’t scrub. Even with a soft cloth you could damage outdoor fabrics leave a mark on the darker colours.

However, if the cushions are beyond the above method. Maybe you’ve left them outside in some bad weather, then they might need a full clean.

The full clean method

Start by removing the sponge seat pads from the cushion covers. Ours are easy to remove, just unzip and slide the pad out.

If the sponge is dirty or smelling a little damp then what I do is get a large plastic storage tub. Fill it with warm water, a little liquid washing detergent and a splash of bleach. Pop them in to soak for around 15 minutes.

Then give them a good rinse in cold water to remove all the detergent/bleach. Once rinsed, I place them between a couple of towels and squeeze out as much moisture as I can. 

Then simply pop them on a clothes rack or somewhere flat and leave to fully dry. If the weather isn’t great, then you can dry indoors too of course. 

Don’t ever be tempted to pop the sponge pads in the washing machine or tumble dryer, it could damage them.

In terms of the covers themselves, they can go in the washing machine if need be. 

I would never tumble dry them though. Even on a low heat setting it can damage/shrink the fabric.

If you want to pop them in the washing machine, I wouldn’t wash any higher that 30 degrees on a gentle spin. 

I’ll often just pop them in on a 20 degree eco-cycle to be honest with you.

Again, I’ll use a colour protect liquid laundry detergent or capsule. And I’ll add in some in-wash stain remover such as Vanish if they are looking a little grubby after a full summers use.

The above method will certainly remove any dried on bird droppings or food stains, etc too. 

Cleaning sap off outdoor cushion covers

If you have any more stubborn stains such as say red wine, then treat it with a spot type stain remover such as Stain Devil and follow the manufacturers guidelines.

Sap can be a problem if it gets on your cushion covers and then dries on in the sun. It is a tricky one to carefully remove. 

I would avoid using alcohol on covers which many websites seem to recommend. It is simply too strong and could damage/fade the colours/fibres of the fabric.

I have seen other people recommend white vinegar too as it acts like a solvent and softens the sap. 

I’ve tried this method on my parasol to remove mould/mildew and it is effective. Just make sure you dilute and test on an inconspicuous area such as the folded seam inside before you fully commit.

However, I prefer to use the following method to clean tree sap of our outdoor furniture cushion covers…

Start by leaving the sap to dry out if it has not already. Gently scrape/pick off as much as you can from the cover and then rinse it under warm running water to soften what is left.

Apply a capful of liquid washing detergent directly onto the remaining sap/stain and leave it to soak in for 5 minutes or so. Then pop it in the washing machine on a 30 degree cycle. 

Pre-treating the sap before you pop it in the machine I find is enough to remove it without damaging the fabric or the need for any scrubbing.

If once clean then need a bit of press with the iron, never iron direct on to the fabric. I will turn the cushion covers inside out, place a damp tea towel over them and quick blast with my steam iron if they need it.

However, I generally find that if I hang them on the line, they dry flat enough to pop them straight back on the pad.

Our How do you clean outdoor furniture fabric? article looks a little closer at other ways you can clean different types of outdoor fabrics such as parasols and sun loungers.

The Lazy Susan outdoor furniture cushion collection

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.