Can You Put Outdoor Cushions In The Washing Machine?

Outdoor cushions, often made of foam, are generally safe for machine washing. Their covers are designed to resist the weather, which usually makes them waterproof. However, being outdoors, they tend to pick up more dirt compared to indoor cushions, making regular washing essential.

It’s worth mentioning that although many outdoor cushions are made from materials like foam that you can wash in a machine, the care instructions might differ depending on the fabric and internal materials. Most manufacturers recommend spot cleaning or hand washing to prevent damage to the fabric or inside materials. 

Keep reading to learn effective cleaning techniques and tips to ensure your cushions stay looking fresh and new.

How To Machine Wash Outdoor Cushion Covers

open washing machine door

To effectively clean your outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine, start by checking the care labels to confirm they are machine-washable. Do not machine wash the inner foam as this might cause mildew and mould to develop.

Select a gentle cycle to avoid damaging the waterproof layer. Use a mild detergent and ensure you do not overload the washer to allow for adequate movement and cleaning.

After washing, ensure the covers are thoroughly dried to prevent any mildew or mould buildup. Using a radiator or airing cupboard for drying can be particularly effective.

How To Hand Wash Outdoor Cushions

outdoor cushions

When your outdoor cushions are too large for the washing machine or if you prefer not to machine wash them, hand washing is an effective alternative. Follow these steps:

  • Mix a spoonful of laundry detergent in a litre of warm water 
  • Spray the solution generously over the cushions
  • Use a stiff brush to tackle mould, algae, or any stubborn stains
  • Rinse thoroughly with a hose or under running water. Without a hose, you can rinse them under a tap or simply pour water over them. 
  • Press the cushions between two towels to remove any excess water

This method also works well for removing grass stains, particularly when using a biological detergent that contains enzymes.

How To Remove Stains From Outdoor Cushions

bicarbonate of soda

For spot-cleaning, oxygen bleach is suitable for most outdoor cushion fabrics. Ensure the bleach is colour-safe. Check the instructions on the package and mix it with a litre of warm water. Apply it directly to stains, and leave it for up to 30 minutes before wiping off with a damp towel. This should effectively remove most stains without damaging the fabric.

White vinegar is also an excellent choice for regular cushion maintenance. Create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar, apply it with a spray bottle, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Use a soft brush to gently scrub the fabric, then rinse with clean water. This is particularly effective against mould and mildew.

For oil-based stains, such as from food or sunscreen, apply bicarbonate of soda directly to the stain, let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrape off with a blunt knife. Repeat this process until the stain is completely removed.

How Often Should You Clean Outdoor Cushions

Cleaning frequency depends on usage and exposure to dirt. It’s advisable to clean your cushions thoroughly at least once per season, especially during periods of high usage in warmer months. 

Before storing your outdoor furniture for the winter, ensure the cushions are clean and dry. Regularly applying a fabric protector can also reduce the need for frequent deep cleans by providing a barrier against dirt and moisture.

Is Professional Cleaning A Better Option For Outdoor Cushions?

Depending on the material and size of your cushions, professional cleaning might be a more suitable choice. Dense foam cushions can absorb a lot of water and may not dry adequately in a home washing machine, leading to potential mould and mildew issues. 

Check the manufacturer’s tag for recommended cleaning methods, and consider professional services if your cushions are particularly bulky or made of sensitive materials.

SEE ALSO: Can You Tumble Dry Sofa Cushions? (is it safe or will it damage them)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean my outdoor cushions?

The best way to clean your outdoor cushions involves checking their care labels to confirm if they are machine washable, using a mild detergent on a gentle cycle, and ensuring they are thoroughly dried to prevent mildew or mould. For non-removable covers, hand washing with a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water, followed by a thorough rinse and drying, is recommended.

How do you clean outdoor cushions without removable covers?

To clean outdoor cushions without removable covers, mix a spoonful of laundry detergent with a litre of warm water, apply it generously over the cushions, and scrub using a stiff brush. Rinse thoroughly with a hose or running water and press between towels to remove excess water.

How do you wash outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine?

To wash outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine, start by checking the care label to ensure they are suitable for machine washing. Select a gentle cycle, use a mild detergent, and avoid overloading the machine to allow the covers to move freely for optimal cleaning. Do not wash the inner foam in the machine as it may lead to mildew.

Can you put outdoor cushions in the washer and dryer?

You can put outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine if they are labelled as machine washable. Avoid using the dryer for these covers; instead, air dry them completely to prevent any risk of shrinking or damaging the waterproof coating. Do not place the foam inserts in the washer or dryer.

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