How To Clean Outdoor Cushions

Outdoor chair cushions are designed to provide ample of comfort, and can be a perfect accessory for any outdoor chair. These cushions come in many different colors that match well with virtually anything from furniture to floors and walls. Their wide selection makes it easy to find one that is just right for you!

They are also exposed to the elements and can get dirty quite quickly, so it's important that you know how to clean outdoor cushions and chairs. Most outdoor furniture cushions are made of synthetic materials, not foam or natural fabrics. Sometimes fabric-covered cushions will come with your seating and this requires extra attention because sunlight can cause fading and cracking which is irreversible damage.

The main thing to keep in mind is that outdoor chair cushions are going to get dirty more quickly than any other type of seat cushion. This means you need to start with a thorough cleaning and maintenance regime so they don't stay filthy for long periods.

When you notice that the cushion is dirty and can't be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, it's time to give them some TLC!

How To Clean Outdoor Cushions

Outdoor Chair Cushion Materials

The materials used when creating an outdoor chair cushion are very important as they often determine how long the cushion will last, its durability, level of comfort, and the overall feel or style of the cushion itself. Let's take a look at the most common materials you will encounter when looking for a outdoor furniture suite:


A common material chosen by many manufacturers for its durability, cost effectiveness, and ease of care. Vinyl has the added benefit of being waterproof as well which makes it ideal in wet climates or areas that are often exposed to rain. Sometimes, manufacturers will use marine upholstery for extra added benefits. 

One downside is that over time vinyl cushions can start to crack due to heat exposure but this does not seem like an issue with most users who have more than one set on hand just in case!


A very tough and durable material, nylon holds up well to the elements and extended sun exposure. Can often be blended with other materials for a different texture or appearance.

This is a common choice for outdoor cushions and regular cleaning can ensure its longevity.


Solution-dyed acrylic is another common material for outdoor upholstery. This can come in a variety of different colours and patterns and can also be UV-resistant.

If you want a material that easily allows you to combine style with practicality, then this is a good choice.


Another extremely durable material, polypropylene is great for cleaning and also can be blended with other materials.

It can handle prolonged exposure to the sun and can get soaked from the rain and still hold up. Mould will grow in the right environment so it's important to keep a regular maintenance schedule before it sets and causes a stain.

How To Clean Outdoor Cushions & Chairs

Knowing how to clean outdoor cushions and chairs properly will greatly influence their longevity. We recommend washing your outdoor furniture upholstery at least once per month but this can vary depending on how frequently people visit the space, what materials are involved, the exposure to the elements the upholstery has, etc. Depending on the type and condition of the material, it can either be steam cleaned or dry cleaned.

If you are unable to do this, then start by removing all loose particles - dirt will work its way into your seating if left unattended. You can either vacuum the cushions or brush the particles off.

Next, take out any removable covers (if they exist). They may have come undone over time as well which would make an already difficult task even more frustrating!

The covers or even the filling may be machine-washable, so check the labels or with the manufacturer if this is the case.

Washing Instructions: Machine washable (if possible). Use gentle cycle using mild soap/detergent; Dry thoroughly after cleaning; Inspect covers and fillings often when drying outdoors because they can collect debris quickly! Do not dry near heat sources!

A clean towel works great for wiping down the exterior surfaces of your chair frame while dusting away those stubborn spots.

If you're wondering how often to do this, it's best to inspect the outside of your furniture on a regular basis. We recommend that outdoor chair cushions are washed at least once per month with an upholstery cleaner or natural soap.

- When washing your outdoor chair cushions make sure that you use a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner because harsh chemicals can damage foam and fabrics over time.

- Dry outside to prevent mildew and stains from forming on the cushions.

- Examine the outside of your outdoor furniture regularly to see if it needs a thorough cleaning or sprucing up with some dusting and vacuuming.

- Vacuum outdoor upholstered furniture and any removable covers at least once per week.

- Machine wash removable covers or fillings if possible, this will help you maintain your cushions for years on end!

If the upholstery can't be machine washed or properly maintained yourself, then you will need expert upholstery cleaners to take care of it for you. This can ensure that the correct cleaning procedures will be used and that all bacteria can be properly treated.

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Common Questions About Maintaining Outdoor Chair Cushions

Are outdoor furniture cushions waterproof?

It depends!

Some outdoor chair cushions are waterproof and some aren't. It is best to check with the manufacturer's instructions or ask an expert before committing to one. The right fabrics will be resistant to water, mildew, mould and bacteria so that they can withstand outside conditions for longer periods of time. Synthetic fabrics will also have much more resilience than natural fabrics.

Can outdoor furniture cushions get wet?

Yes, outdoor furniture cushions can get wet but you want to make sure they are dried properly before it becomes a problem. They should be designed with materials that can handle the elements but they are still susceptible to other issues.

It's important that the fabric covers of your upholstered furniture stay dry because mildew and mould will form if water is allowed to seep in over time. Water damage isn't always visible from the surface so be careful!

How to protect outdoor furniture cushions?

To keep your outdoor cushions in good condition for as long as possible, it's best to take the necessary precautions.

Store them away from direct sunlight and rain when not in use if they aren't UV-resistant.

Use UV-resistant fabrics if possible. UV coatings can help keep fabric colours vibrant and reduce fading due to sun exposure, which will also extend their lifetime by quite a bit.

Protect with a cover or tarp during periods of heavy rainfall so that they don't get wet as the moisture can lead to mould and mildew growth.

Now that you know how to clean outdoor chair cushions, be sure to implement a regular maintenance schedule to keep them fresh and hygienically clean all year long.

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