Get Ready For Spring! The Easy Way To Clean Outdoor Cushions


How to clean outdoor cushions the easy way. Keeping them clean from mildew and harsh weather to prolong the life of your patio cushions.

This will be our 5th summer with these outdoor cushions. I remember watching them in the store just waiting for a good sale. At the time they were marked at around $35 dollars each, and when you’re trying to stick to a budget, that’s just not in the cards.

The price dropped to $18 a piece and I grabbed six of them as fast I could! But that was years ago and let me tell you, I still refuse to pay for overpriced patio cushions.

Here’s how we keep them clean and ready for spring year.

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This is our own personal experience. Be sure to follow manufacturing advise on your cushions for cleaning care.

Table of Contents:


You’ll need a few things to get started. One thing I wasn’t interested in doing was scrubbing my outdoor cushions by hand. So we invested in a fun little gadget to help us out.

Dirty outdoor cushions

Tools and cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies to include soft drill brush and soap.

Patio Cushions Cleaning Solution

First spray your cushions with water. In a bucket make a mixture of water with Dawn Dish Soap and vinegar. For this part use your best judgement depending on how many cushions you’ll be cleaning.

For our 6 cushions that have a seat and backing we used approximately 1/2 gallon of warm water, 1 tsp. Dawn Dish Soap and 1/2 cup vinegar. This cleaned 3 top and bottom cushions before I dumped out the dirty liquid and repeated the process for the next 3 cushions.

Mildew on outdoor cushions
Clean cushion after cleaning process

At one point these cushions were water resistant. The material was a little more slick but over time that protective layer wore away to a softer fabric.

I mention this because if your cushions are made from a water resistant material you’ll want to take caution with the soft drill brush, and read the manufacturer instructions for cleaning and care.

How To Clean With a Soft Drill Brush

Since we didn’t want to put a lot of manual scrubbing power behind this cleaning, we used this soft drill brush from Amazon.

Lay your cushions on a flat surface and begin cleaning with the water mixture and drill brush.

Using the soft drill brush on outdoor cushion.

Be sure to use a light pressure and to not stay in one location for too long as it can be harsh on the fabric.

This part did take a little more time and effort and one chair did need some additional attention from extra wear and tear from the outdoors, but overall it made this scrubbing portion a breeze.

Rinse and Hang Up to Dry

In a clean location (such as over the fence) rinse off your cushions using the jet feature on the hose. Start from the top of the cushions and work towards the bottom.

Hang them up to fully dry.

Hanging the cushions on the fence to dry.

Water Repellent Spray

Since these cushions are older they no longer repel water the way they use to. In this case we decided to give them a coat of Scotchgard Outdoor Spray.

Lay them on a flat dry surface and follow the manufactures directions.

Green can of Scotchgard outdoor water shield.

This 13oz can was enough to spray the front of each of these cushions twice.

Allow to dry before applying second coat.

Did this Scotchgard change the feel of the fabric?

No, it did not. After two coats of this spray the fabric felt exactly the same. To be honest a bit of change might have been nice just to be reassured it was working. But the fabric is still soft and left no sticky residue.

Cushions on patio after being cleaned.

This outdoor project only took a few hours, but with a bit of work these cushions are looking clean and ready for another season of backyard living.

They are not perfect and still have a bit of wear and tear. They are faded in places and one had to been sewn at the seam but for cushions that are in their 5th season I’d say I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

Preventative Care to Prolong The Life of Outdoor Patio Cushions

We must be doing something right if we can get over 5 years use out of them. I thought you might also be interested in how we’ve care for them besides a good cleaning.

  • Bring in durning heavy storms
  • Store inside for the winter
  • Sew small rips and tears

You can also

Before and After


I wouldn’t say that they are perfect but with a little effort these cushions are ready for another 5 years. I hope.

Best Wishes ~Sara

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