How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine -( 5 Simple Techniques)

Last updated on October 11th, 2022

When cushions are exposed to the elements, they will always end up getting dirty, no matter how careful you’re. If you’re like most homeowners, then your major concern should be how to clean them – what is the best method? Hand washing, machine washing, or using a power sprayer?

For most people, it’s only logical to take the easiest route, and that’s machine washing.   So, today, we will be looking at how to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine.

While using a washing machine is less stressful and convenient, it involves more than just pulling out the cushion and tossing it into the washtub. You have to learn the proper way to do it to avoid damaging the cushion. That is exactly what we’re going to cover in this post.

We will also attempt to answer other questions like, can you wash patio cushions? Can you put patio cushions in a dryer? Are patio furniture cushion covers machine washable? And how to clean outdoor cushions in washing machine.

Can you put outdoor furniture cushions in the washing machine?

Yes, you can machine wash your outdoor furniture cushions as long as they have removable covers and fit into the washer. Just unzip the covers and put the cushions in the washing machine. It’s always a good idea to check the laundry instructions on the fabric tag before settling for machine washing.

Also, we recommend using this method less frequently. You can do it once or twice a year, depending on how much you use the cushions. Frequent cleaning with a washing machine can cause the cushion fabric to degrade faster.

For patio cushions that don’t have removable covers, hand washing is the safest route to go if you want your cushions to last longer.

Why wash outdoor cushions in a washing machine

Washing machines offer a great deal of convenience. Other cleaning methods like pressure washing, hand washing, or using a garden hose can be very stressful.

An upset woman wondering how to clean outdoor cushions in a washing machine

Machine washing, on the other hand, is much easier and takes away a lot of the hard work on your part.

Also, by laundering in a washing machine, you’re sure the water and detergent will get through every part of the cushion. This is a sure-fire way to get your patio cushions clean again. For the best results, you can use a spray bottle to spray white vinegar to kill mold and mildew.

Another benefit of machine washing is that it’s less time-consuming, especially when compared to handwashing.

NOTE: Not all patio cushions are candidates for a washing machine. Two major factors come into play – the size of the cushion and the fabric it is made of. Smaller cushions can be washed in a washing machine, while larger ones should be washed by hand. Also, cushions made of materials like microfiber, shredded foam, and polyester are potential candidates for a washing machine. If your cushion is made from a different material, you might want to check the laundry tag to ensure it’s machine wash friendly.

How to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine

Here are the steps to clean outdoor cushions in a washing machine.

1. Pre-cleaning

To get the best results, we recommend pre-cleaning the cushions before tossing them into the washing machine. This involves shaking off loose dirt or vacuuming loose debris such as crumbs, lint, bird droppings, and dust particles. You can use a specialized cleaning solution for more stubborn dirt, such as pet hair.

2. Get rid of minor stains

For minor stains on the cushion, consider spot cleaning. These include recent spills, pollens, new bird droppings as well as some older stains. The easiest way to get rid of spills is to soak up much of the liquid with an absorbent towel or a wet cloth. Don’t rub the towel over the stain; just place it on the spot and press gently.

To clean outdoor cushions with older stains from pets like cats and dogs, use a clean rag and special fabric cleaner, or warm water. Most likely, the cleaner will be in a spray bottle. Spray it on the rag and use it to scrub off the stain. Sometimes, you might need to apply the cleaner a number of times to completely remove the stain. Check the bottle for specific instructions on how to use the cleaner. And make sure you rinse it off when you’re done.

3. Remove tough stains

For stains that are too stubborn to remove with upholstery attachment cleaners, you can try using a steam cleaner. As the name implies, a steam cleaner uses steam as the primary cleaning agent to get rid of tough stains. You can also use this method for a couch that cannot be removed. It ensures the couch dries faster.

4. Wash the cushion cover

If the patio cushion cover is machine washable, toss it into the washing machine and get it washed first. We highly recommend using a gentle cycle and cold water (with mild detergent). Avoid using bleach as that could ruin the fabric completely. If there are zippers on the covers, make sure you zip them up before putting them in the machine.

Once it comes to drying the covers, we recommend air drying rather than using a tumble dryer. Nonetheless, to be on the safe side, check the instructions on the laundry tag.

5. Wash the cushions

Depending on how dirty the cushions are, you may not need to wash them any further after spot cleaning.

Further cleaning is only needed when they have deep stains or haven’t been washed in a long time. In this case, follow the steps below to give them a good wipe.

  1. First, remove the covers from the washing machine. Don’t wash both items together!
  2. Turn off the agitator on the washing machine as leaving it on can damage the outdoor fabrics. Some washing machines (especially front loaders and high-efficiency models) don’t have this problem, so you don’t need to worry.
  3. Balance the load on the machine. This might involve tossing in multiple cushions at once. If this is not enough, you could put clean towels with the cushions. The idea is to get a balanced load in the washtub before proceeding.
  4. Next, set the machine to a gentle cycle and use warm water and a mild liquid wash for washing.
  5. If it’s possible to time the wash cycle, set it above 15 minutes.
  6. Once done, bring out the cushions to dry. The safest option is to air dry them. But if you decide to use a tumble dryer, make sure you use gentle heat settings to avoid burning the cushion fabric.
  7. When air drying the cushions, position them vertically and make sure they air dry completely before using them again. Using cushions with leftover moisture can cause mold and mildew to develop.

Finally, consider various ways to make your outdoor cushions more resistant to dirt and stains. Some of these include spraying the cushions with a fabric protector, storing them away during the colder months, and covering them with a tarp or outdoor furniture covers.

 Can you wash and dry outdoor furniture cushions?

Yes, you can wash and dry outdoor cushions. The norm is to vacuum or shake off loose debris from the cushion before tossing it into the washing machine.

Once the cushions are done in the washing machine, you can remove them for drying. Two options are available – you can place them in a dryer or set them outside to air dry.

If you’re using a dryer, make sure you use a low-temperature setting, as too much heat can damage the foam fibers. In fact, we don’t advise you to use a dryer. The best solution is to use pressure, towel drying followed up with a light airing. This ensures the foam remains in good shape.

 Can you wash patio furniture covers in washing machine?

Patio furniture covers can be washed in a washing machine, but this largely depends on the fabric type. Some of the more popular options are vinyl, nylon, polypropylene, and polyester. These materials might require different cleaning methods depending on the make and brand.

So before you toss the cover into the washing machine, check what type of material it’s made of. Then determine whether it’s machine washable or better washed by hand.

For any fabric to be machine washable, it needs to be pre-shrunk and colorfast. Patio furniture cushions that are not pre-shrunk are at risk of shrinking when put into a washing machine. Similarly, covers that are not colorfast will fade easily in a wash cycle.

How do you clean removable outdoor cushion covers?

There are generally two ways to clean removable cushion covers – machine washing and hand washing using a soft bristle brush. In any case, check the laundry tag or the manufacturer’s website for cleaning instructions.

  • Machine washing

Start by removing the stains on the cover using a soft brush.

cleaning outdoor cushions in a washing machine

When done, toss the covers into the washing machine. You can wash the covers by themselves, or you can wash them together with some other load.

Next, add your mild detergent and cold water, and set the machine to a gentle cycle. Using a cool temperature is vital to avoid fading or damaging the fabric.

You can add a little bleach (not more than ¼ cup) if needed, especially if there are stubborn stains.

After washing, you can air-dry the covers.

  • Handwashing

This one is pretty basic and is recommended if you don’t find any instruction on the tag on how to machine wash the cover. It’s also the safest method.

Create a soapy mixture by mixing one gallon of warm water with ¼ cup of liquid detergent. You can use a clean tub or bowl.

Soak the covers inside the cleaning solution for at least 30 minutes.

Then scrub gently with your hands or use a soft bristle brush.

Rinse with cold water and air dry.

Washing Outdoor Cushions in Washing Machine – FAQs

1. Can you put outdoor patio cushions in the dryer?

Yes, you can, but it is not advisable to do so as heat can easily destroy the foam interior. The best way is to let the cushions air dry.

2. Are Sunbrella cushion covers machine washable?

Yes, Sunbrella cushion covers can go into the washing machine. Make sure you use a delicate (gentle) cycle with normal amount of detergent and water. Add bleach if needed. Once done, air dry the covers; don’t use a dryer!

3. Are outdoor patio cushions washable?

Yes, outdoor cushions are washable, and there’s a number of ways to go about it. Machine washing is just one of them, and warm water is another.

4. Can you dry patio furniture cushions in an open outdoor space?

Yes, it is possible to dry the patio furniture cushion in an open outdoor environment instead of using heat dryers that will increase the rate at which it gets old.

5. Can you use mild dish soap to make outdoor cushions clean?

While a mild dish soap can be a great way for dirt removal, it is not an effective method for outdoor cushion covers.

So, Machine Washing Outdoor Cushions or not?

Outdoor cushions bring style and softness to patio furniture. Learning to keep them clean at all times will keep your seating area fresh and comfortable. It will also increase the lifespan of the cushions and keep them in pristine condition.

In this article, we’ve covered how to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine. But there are other cleaning methods available such as hand washing, spot cleaning, or using a power sprayer.

Again, before putting your cushions into the washing machine, make sure they are machine washable, and always follow the laundry tags.

Let us know if you have any more questions on how to wash outdoor cushions in washing machine. Until then, happy machine washing!