How to Dry Outdoor Cushions (5 proven ways)

Last updated on September 25th, 2023

It is normal for outdoor cushions to get wet, and this can happen for any number of reasons – rain, spills, sprinklers, or a splash from the pool. Allowing them to stay wet for too long doesn’t only make the cushions difficult to use but can also encourage mold and mildew growth. So, most homeowners are often faced with the problem of how to dry outdoor cushions.

There are several ways to dry patio cushions. One way is to towel dry and lay out the cushions in an airy spot outside. Also, you can use a fan to dry them after towel drying in your bathroom or bathtub. For foam cushions, using a car hood might be the fastest way to get the cushions to dry, especially during the summer months.

Avoid tossing cushions into a dryer. It is not safe and can damage the foam material. Follow the methods we shall discuss here to dry outdoor seat cushions without much stress.

Let’s get started.

Why dry patio cushions?

Even though most patio cushions are made to be weather-resistant, they are NOT waterproof. This means they can still be affected by moisture. Of course, a little shower here and there won’t do much damage. But prolonged exposure to rain or snow can be detrimental if the cushions are not dried properly and ASAP.

Not drying patio cushions when they get wet or allowing them to remain wet for a long time can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, or bacteria.

How to dry outdoor cushions

So, whenever you’re expecting the rain, it’s always a good idea to store them away or cover them with outdoor furniture covers. And in case they accidentally get wet, be quick to dry them immediately. This helps to keep them in good condition

When buying outdoor cushions, we recommend looking for options that have good durability against water and mildew resistance.

How to dry wet outdoor cushions

Below are different methods with step-by-step instructions on how to dry outdoor cushions.

1. How to dry outdoor cushions outside

Just like your laundry, you can allow your wet cushions to sit under the sun and soak up the natural heat and breeze. This method works for both cushions with removable covers and those whose cover cannot be removed.

Ideally, you should choose a day that is not too humid, or else the cushions may never get to completely dry.

Also, to get the best result, towel dry the cushions first before putting them in the sun. To do this:

  1. Place the wet cushion on your deck, concrete, or any tiled surface.
  2. Place a thick clean towel on top and press it down to absorb some of the moisture.
  3. Choose a warm, airy spot and lay out the cushion to dry.

You can flip the sides and ends from time to time to allow drying from all angles.

The exact drying time depends on the type of cushion. Foam cushion usually take much longer to dry. This can be several hours to days, depending on the weather condition.

Note: Don’t allow cushions to stay under direct sunlight for too long. Drying them under a shade is better. Too much heat can damage the foam material.

2. How to dry outdoor cushions inside the house

  • Using A Fan and Bathtub

If the weather is not conducive outside, you can dry the cushions inside the house. You will need a fan for this method. If the cushions come with covers, remove the cover and dry them separately.

You can use your bathroom floor or bathtub. Lay out the cushions in the bathtub or bathroom floor. If you’re using a bathtub, make sure you drain it completely.

Next, place a thick, dry towel on top of the cushion and press it down to soak up as much water as possible. Flip the cushion to the other side and repeat the process. Do this a couple of times until water stops coming out.

Now, put a fan in front of the cushions and allow it to dry. The drying time will depend on the amount of water you’ve squeezed out with your towel.

  • Use Dehumidifying Gel Packs

If you still notice some moisture in the cushions after trying any of the methods above, you can use some dehumidifying gel packs.

Put each cushion in a bag and throw in some gel packs. Then seal the bags but not too tight so some air can go in. Now, locate an area that is warm and dry and place the bags there.

The gel packs will draw out the water in the cushion until the last bit. This normally takes a few days.

3. How to dry fixed outdoor cushions

Although no longer common, there are still many patio furniture in the market with fixed cushions. These include arms and backs as well as sofa seats. So, how do you dry these when they get wet or stained?

The easiest way to go about it is to steam clean or spot clean the cushion. A small steam cleaner would suffice for the job, which could be either yours or rented. Run the water extractor feature on the machine to get it to dry faster. This will help remove most of the water.

How to dry outdoor cushions.

Next, use a towel to soak up any remaining moisture. Then, place one or two fans near the cushion and direct the air towards it. Wait for it to dry; this can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the density of the foam and the amount of moisture or stain.

Make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions before you dry or clean outdoor cushions just to be on the safe side.

4. How to dry non-foam cushions?

Non-foam cushions are no longer invoke, but if you still have them around, drying shouldn’t be a problem.

Start by removing the covers (if you can), then wash if necessary. Since they are non-foam cushions, hanging them on a clothesline should be easy.

If you don’t have a clothesline, look for an airy spot and place the cushion there. Avoid direct sun exposure, except you’re sure the heat won’t ruin the filling.

You can also dry the cushions indoors in your bathroom using a fan. The method described above also applies except for the part that deals with towel drying. Since there is no foam in the cushion, the water is lesser, so you can easily squeeze the cushion with your hands instead of using a towel.

You can also dry the cushion in an unheated patio or porch, but it will take much longer since the humidity in these places is usually higher.

How to dry outdoor cushions fast

One way to dry wet outdoor rugs and patio cushions fast is to lay them out in the sun. As earlier indicated, avoid direct sun exposure as the UV heat can break down the foam. Instead, look for an airy spot where the cushion can get a lot of natural breeze.

Using a car hood can speed up things. This works for both foam cushions and non-foam cushions. Since they are made of metal, car hoods tend to get hot on a sunny day. You can place your cushion on the hood to enable it to dry out faster.

Again, before laying out the cushions, towel dry and wring them out several times. This will cause the water to evaporate more quickly.

A car hood is usually hotter during the summer months, which makes it the best time to use it. You will also get faster results with a darker hood.

Note: Don’t put your outdoor patio cushions on the hood directly, as this could ruin the car paint. Instead, place a towel on the hood, then put your cushion (foam or non-foam) on it.

How long does it take for wet cushions to dry

Generally, it will take a day to several days, or even more, for a wet cushion to dry completely. The exact timeframe depends on several factors, mainly the amount of water-soaked in the cushion, the weather condition, the drying method, and material.

Regardless of what method you choose to dry the cushions, make sure they all dry completely before using again. Using a damp cushion can encourage mold and bacteria growth and ruin the cushion over time.

So, our advice is to be patient and consistent. Even if it takes a week to air dry properly, just wait!

How to keep outdoor cushions dry

You don’t need to wait for your patio cushions to get wet so you can dry them. There are several ways to prevent this from happening in the first place. We describe these below:

Clean Patio Cushions Spills ASAP

Besides rain, another thing that causes cushions to get wet is liquid spillage. Blot the spill as soon as possible before it soaks into the foam. You can use a microfiber cloth for this. Make sure the cloth is dry and clean.

If you still notice any stain, spray a tiny amount of dishwashing liquid on the area. Blot it again and rinse with clean water.

Cleaning one small stain spot often results in more water stain. For this reason, we usually recommend cleaning the whole area (i.e., the side of the cushion that is affected).

Store Cushions Indoors When Not In Use

It’s always a good idea to bring your patio furniture cushions inside the house, garage, or shed when they are not in use. This helps to protect them from the elements and also reduces the chances of them getting wet.

If you don’t have any storage facility like the ones mentioned above, or you consider it stressful bringing them in every time, then set up a shade if you don’t already have one. This could be a tree, pergola, or some other kind of cover that will protect the cushions from the rain.

However, during winter, make sure all the cushions and outdoor furniture go inside the house, or else they can get wrecked by snow and ice.

A good place to store the patio cushions would be a basement, shed, or deck box.

Treat With Water Sealant 

Another way you can protect your cushions from moisture is to seal them. This should be done as soon as you buy the cushions before using them.

Sealants help to prevent water damage and protect the color of outdoor fabrics. This helps in extending the useful life of your cushions. A good example of a water seal is Thompson’s WaterSeal.

Besides treating the cushions when you buy them, it’s also a good idea to spray them annually. This should be done at the start of the season.

Waterproof Cover

You can also use outdoor waterproof covers to keep your cushions dry. Simply slip them on when the cushions are not in use or when you’re expecting rain.

Make sure the covers are breathable, or else there would be no way for moisture to escape, which can result in mildew growth.

Alternatively, you can cover the cushions with a tarp or blanket if covers are not available. Then secure the tarp with a rope or weights.

FAQs – How to Dry Outdoor Furniture Cushions

Can outdoor cushions be put in the dryer?

No, we don’t recommend putting your cushions in a dryer. This is because dryers can get very hot, and the heat can ruin the foam material.

Can outdoor cushions be left in the rain?

It’s not a good idea to leave your cushions in the rain. This is because water can penetrate the cover and foam, and overtime, this can cause mold and mildew growth. So, it’s best to cover the cushions whenever you’re expecting rain, or you can take them inside the house. If the cushions do get rained on, endeavor to shake off the excess water immediately the rain stops. Then allow to air dry completely before using them again.

Can you leave outdoor cushions outside overnight?

Yes, patio cushions can be left outside overnight but not in all weather conditions. While most outdoor cushions are weather-resistant, it doesn’t make them indestructible.

If the weather is mild in your area and the morning dew is minimal, then it’s safe to leave your cushions outside overnight, especially if they are covered. However, if you get a lot of rainfall and wind, it’s best to take them inside as the water can cause damage over time.

Can you dry outdoor cushions covers?

Yes, outdoor cushion covers can be washed and dried. The best way to do this would be to towel dry them and then hang up to air dry. This helps to keep the cushions safe. You can also toss them in a dryer but make sure you use the lowest heat setting and for a short duration to avoid shrinking or damaging the fabric. Pull the covers out before they’re fully dry.

Can you dry couch cushions?

Yes, you can dry couch cushions. Any of the methods discussed above would suffice. However, we still recommend you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure whatever drying method you choose is safe for the couch.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor cushions do not only provide comfort but also add color to your outdoor space. Choose any of the methods above to dry out your wet patio cushions and outdoor pillows. Pay close attention to all the tips and be patient with the drying process.

For dirty cushions, consider rinsing with a garden hose to remove loose dirt before drying. To remove stains, you can sponge the area with a cleaning solution made of warm water and your dish detergent or an enzyme based stain remover. To avoid any odious smell, allow cushions to dry completely.

Let us know if you have any more questions about drying wet patio cushions. Till then, happy drying!