How To Clean Outdoor Cushions | The Easy Way


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 stalking 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 what… I still refuse to pay for overpriced patio cushions.

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So this year we did a deep clean and I’m going to tell you exactly how we cleaned our patio cushions and what to expect from the tools (and little to no harsh chemicals) we used.

When you wait for that perfect sale you’re not going to just toss your cushions to the curb. So let’s see how many more years we can get out of these.

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


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.

Spray with water

Spray your cushions with water and in a bucket make a mixture of water, 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 back and seat, I 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

I was hoping that by getting the cushions a little damp it would be less harsh on the cushions when I used the soft drill brush. 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 that because if your cushions are made from a water resistant material you’ll want to take caution with the soft drill brush.

Clean with soft drill brush

I mentioned before not wanting to put a lot of manual scrubbing power behind this cleaning, and with this soft drill brush from Amazon, we didn’t have to.

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. My main concern was that I was going to chew up the fabric.

This part did take a little more time and effort and one chair did need some extra 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 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.

Spray with Scotchgard

Since these cushions are older, they are no longer repelling 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 can was 13oz and was enough to spray the front of each of these cushions twice.

Spray and 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 took a few hours but with a bit of work, these outdoor 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 had to be sewn at the seam in one chair, but for cushions that are in their 5th season I’d say I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

How we take care of our cushions

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

  • Bring in durning heavy storms
  • Store 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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