As the summer season gets underway, patios and decks are often in need of a little extra attention.  Those cushions that were left outside over the winter months can be quite an eyesore in the light of summer sunshine.  What can you do to clean your deck furniture cushions and revive their look in time for those July backyard barbecues?

It is a good practice to clean your cushions at least twice a year.  A good cleaning in summer will take care of the accumulated grime left by winter weather. And autumn is an excellent time to inspect and spot clean your cushions after a summer of fun in the sun.

Follow these quick and easy tips for effective cleaning:

  1. Vacuum Cushions Carefully

Your first line of defense against dirt and grime on your outdoor furniture cushions is the humble vacuum cleaner. Using the brush attachment, gently vacuum the surface of the cushions, taking care to cover every square inch. The suction power of the vacuum cleaner lifts loose dirt and dust particles, reducing the amount of embedded grime. However, don’t just vacuum the obvious surfaces. The seams and creases are perfect hiding places for dirt and should be given special attention. In cases where the vacuum cleaner can’t reach, a stiff brush can dislodge the dirt, ready to be vacuumed up.

  1. Rinse with Lukewarm Water

Following the vacuuming, proceed to rinse the cushions using lukewarm water. The water loosens any remaining dirt particles, washing them away. It’s essential that the water isn’t too hot as this can damage the material of the cushions, causing it to shrink or warp. Similarly, while pressure washers are excellent tools for many outdoor cleaning tasks, they’re too forceful for cushion fabrics. They could rip them, leading to water retention and the proliferation of mold and mildew.

  1. Spot Clean Sparingly

Sometimes, cushions have areas with stubborn stains that need targeted cleaning. In such instances, spot cleaning comes into play. Mix a solution of 1/4 cup of clear dishwashing detergent, such as Dawn, in a gallon of lukewarm water. The detergent is mild enough to clean without destroying the water-resistant treatment of most outdoor cushions.

For particularly stubborn stains, a diluted bleach solution can be cautiously employed. However, this should be your last resort, as bleach is harsh and can fade fabric colors. If bleach is necessary, ensure to blot the area with a clean, dry cloth immediately after application to mitigate potential damage.

  1. Try an Alternate Method

If you’re averse to the bleach route, there’s another mixture you can use. This alternative solution combines 1 teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of borax, and 1 quart of lukewarm water. Once these ingredients are mixed in a clean spray bottle, saturate both sides of your cushions with the solution.

Allow this mixture to soak in and work on the stains for about fifteen minutes. Then, rinse your cushions thoroughly, ensuring all the solution is washed off to prevent residue build-up. Finally, to ensure a thorough dry and to help kill any remaining bacteria, stand your cushions on end in direct sunlight. Sunlight not only hastens the drying process but also has a natural disinfectant property, which helps keep your cushions fresh and clean.

)  Vacuum cushions carefully.

A surprising amount of dirt and grime can be easily lifted from your cushions with vacuuming or the use of a nice, stiff brush.  Your aim should be to get off any loose dirt you find.  Be sure to pay special attention to the seams and creases of your cushions, as grime loves to live there.

2) Rinse with lukewarm water.

This should remove any dirt particles left from your vacuuming efforts.  No matter the degree of grime on your cushions, do not use water that is hot, as this is very damaging to the material. As an additional word of caution, never use a pressure washer for this job, as this could potentially create small tears in the fabric of your cushions, which would cause them to hold moisture and breed mold and mildew.

3) Spot clean sparingly.

Spot clean problem areas using only  1/4 cup of clear dish washing detergent such as Dawn per one gallon of lukewarm water.  Do not use oil based cleaners or harsh detergents.  Most outdoor cushions are treated to be water-resistant, and harsh detergents ruin this feature. For stubborn stains, a mild bleach/water mixture may be used very sparingly.  Be careful not to use too much bleach, as it can have the unfortunate result of ruining the color of your fabric.  If you must use bleach, take great care to blot the area quickly with a clean, dry cloth to minimize damage.

4) Try an alternate method.

If you do not wish to risk the bleach option, alternately you may use 1 teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of borax, and 1 quart of lukewarm water.  For this method, mix the ingredients in a clean spray bottle and saturate both sides of your cushions.  Let the solution work for fifteen minutes and then rinse your cushions thoroughly.  Once you are satisfied that the solution has been rinsed well, stand your cushions on end in direct sunlight to dry.

For additional information about how to get your deck barbecue-ready and all your grilling equipment in order, please contact us.  We are here to ensure your summertime fun.