How to Remove Stains From Your Patio Cushions
March 15th, 2021
One of the best benefits of buying new patio furniture is the ability to enjoy it fully. This furniture is designed to provide exceptional wear, whatever the elements. Even then, your furniture will need some cleaning and upkeep from time to time. Knowing how to clean your furniture is important to ensure you don’t damage it further. At Paddy O’ Furniture, we want to ensure you have the tools and resources to do this safely.
Know Your Furniture Before You Clean It
Start with knowing your furniture. The products you buy from us are high quality. The materials are outstanding. And if you own our Bliss cushions, then you know about our water-proof and stain-resistant fabrics and cushion design. Yet, the use of the wrong chemicals or treatment processes could damage your furniture more than a stain can. That’s why you should take a few minutes to check out our Care & Maintenance Guide. You can also find care instructions on most of the products we sell – or just reach out to us for specific insight.
Simple Cleaning of Patio Cushions and Fabrics
The following tips are likely to be beneficial to most cushions but shouldn’t supersede care directions provided by the manufacturer.
- Set up cushions in an upright position.
- Brush off any dust or dirt using a soft brush or cloth towel.
- Use a damp towel to spot clean any easy-to-remove areas.
- For more ground-in dirt, use a mild dish detergent and warm water to wash the surface.
- Let it air dry.
It is never ideal to saturate the material. Try to use as little water as possible to ensure the interior fibers are not damaged from the moisture. Air drying is a must – you do not want to put pillows or cushions into a dryer, which could cause damage to the materials themselves.
Take Care of Your Furniture Routinely
It is also important to pay close attention to your furniture throughout the year. Here are a few tips for ensuring your furniture remains in good condition.
- If you’re not using your furniture during the winter months, pack it up and store it in a dry, cool space.
- When it is wet outside, take steps to pick up the patio cushions to allow them to drain fully. Don’t let water pool on them.
- Just like you would your indoor furniture, make it a point to wipe them down every week, whenever possible.
- After guests, take a few minutes to wipe pieces down just in case a sticky piece of food was dropped.
- Make it a point to clean the cushions at least one time every other week with warm, mild soap and water (as described above) to ensure they remain clean and fresh.
Minimizing Mildew and Mold Risks
One of the most common concerns related to patio cushions has to do with mildew and mold. If you’ve pulled out your cushions for the first time this spring and noticed a musky smell, that’s a clear indication of potential mold or mildew buildup. The key to remember is that the outer surfaces of most products are waterproof or water-resistant. However, the inside materials may not be.
Even on outer surfaces, such as the fabrics of these cushions, there is a risk of developing mold and mildew if these products are left in damp conditions. For example, after a rain, pick up the cushions and remove excessive water. Don’t allow them to sit in a pool of water on the deck. These contacts with water can lead to problems later.
To avoid mildew and mold, follow these tips:
- During very wet conditions or over winter, store patio cushions inside, away from moisture in a dry and cool area.
- Avoid allowing water to pool on the surface. Let them dry in the sun after it rains.
- When you see mildew or mold growth, use a mild soap to wash it off if possible. Sometimes, this can leave a residue that doesn’t go away. For tougher stains, consider using Borax.
- Don’t place these cushions into a washing machine or dryer.
- Bleach can cause discoloration and generally should not be used.
If the interior of the cushions has damage, such as through seeping in of moisture, it becomes critical to seek out more advanced treatment. Professional cleaning services may help.
Other Strategies for Cleaning Patio Cushions
If you are still finding it hard to get these outdoor cushions clean and looking their best, try a few more steps.
Machine Washing: In some situations, it may be possible to remove the outer covering on the cushion and launder it. That will vary based on the product itself. This may help with more difficult cleaning tasks if it works. Don’t wash the actual foam within cushions, though.
Vacuuming Helps: Sometimes, the worst part of dirt and debris on cushions is getting them wet. To avoid that, try vacuuming them. Use a handheld vacuum that can pull up all the loose dirt from the surface first. That way, you are not wetting that dirt and causing it to stain further. Some vacuum cleaners have an upholstery attachment that may help. This is also a good way to get into the seams and crevices of the more ornate cushions you may have.
Soaking: Some fabrics may be okay to soak. These are pillows and others that do not have foam in them but rather fabric in them. In these cases, you may be able to add a solution of ¼ cup of borax to a bucket of soapy water. Use only about a tablespoon of dishwashing soap to create this mixture. This is a good way to get rid of the smell that comes from mildew. Soak for about 15 minutes, rinse them, and then allow them to air dry.
Fabric Protectors: Another way to keep your outdoor cushions looking their best is to use a fabric protector on them. This is a type of spray-on application (Scotchgard offers a Water & Sun Shield product) that may work well. This helps to ensure the cushions can resist dirt and stains in the first place. This can also help with those popsicle spills – keeping it from seeping into the fabric themselves.
Make sure you take the time to check out the recommendations from the manufacturers. Whether you are buying cushions for your all-weather wicker furniture or you are looking for a way to freshen up another set you own, our team at Paddy O’ Furniture wants to help you. Take a look at our Bliss Cushions and see why it’s the best patio cushion on the market.
A final tip – when not using your items, be sure to cover them. We offer protective covers that can help safeguard your furniture from all of the rough weather that could otherwise cause damage.