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How to Clean Outdoor Cushions and Furniture

How to clean outdoor cushions and patio furniture quickly in 2 simple steps using just 1 ingredient already in your pantry.

The ONLY reason I could ever get excited about cleaning anything is due to the anticipation that spring and brighter, warmer days are on the horizon!

It was 80+ degrees here in South Carolina today, and I basically have a whole new lease on life now. So cleaning our outdoor cushions and patio furniture in the backyard seemed like a good way to celebrate that.

This was the state of our patio chairs… covered in mildew and they had definitely seen better days.

how to clean outdoor cushions and patio furniture (before)

How to Clean Outdoor Cushions

The 1 Ingredient to Remove Mildew and Mold from Patio Furniture

We should have brought our patio furniture inside during the winter or covered them (but we’re over here handling toddler tantrums and keeping our children alive, so it didn’t happen).

And the winter aftermath isn’t a pretty sight. It’s an easy fix though.

The only ingredient you need: Vinegar

That’s it. 30% vinegar is the unsung hero of rescuing outdoor furniture from the post-winter grossness. Regular kitchen vinegar can do the job, but if you have a serious mildew/mold problem on outdoor cushions and patio furniture, the 30% stuff can knock it right out.

how to clean outdoor cushions and patio furniture from mildew stains using vinegar

How to Remove Mildew from Fabric

I poured straight undiluted 30% vinegar into a spray bottle and spritzed it all over our outdoor cushions and patio furniture. Let the vinegar sit on the mildew / mold stains for about 15 minutes.

For any extremely stubborn stains, soak a rag in the 30% vinegar and let it sit on the stain for 10-15 minutes.

how to clean outdoor cushions and furniture with vinegar

The Best Electric Power Washer for Patio Furniture

After allowing the vinegar to sit on the mildew stains for 15 minutes, rinse with a power washer.

I don’t know why power washing is so satisfying, but I could literally power wash everything in my path all day long in our backyard.

We absolutely love this electric power washer that we use every spring and fall to keep our backyard and porches looking fresh.

how to clean outdoor cushions and patio furniture with vinegar and a power washer

It’s mesmerizing to watch the milder / mold spots completely disappear with the swipe of that power washer.

cleaning outdoor furniture with a power washer
The Best Electric Power Washer for Patio Furniture

Flip your patio furniture, outdoor cushions, and fabric over to repeat the process on the underside as well.

outdoor furniture cleaning with a power washer

That’s it!

I’ve used a couple of outdoor cushion cleaning processes in the past, and this one has proven to be the most simple, most effective, and uses very inexpensive ingredients.

If you need more help getting your outdoor furniture in ship shape for spring, here are more resources.

I’m just ready to get to living live by our pool in this DIY pergola cabana again. The rest of the backyard isn’t nearly as cute as this at the moment, but it won’t be long now.

DIY pool cabana pergola

Is it feeling a little spring=like where you are? I know we hit a weird weather spike of “fake spring” as we like to call it in the south, but whatever you want to call it, I am here for it!


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  1. Also in South Carolina! Trying to get the pollen off the outdoor furniture takes two or three scrubbings and power sprays. Will have to try the vinegar.

  2. Your outdoor furniture looks amazing! I have upholstered cushions on the back porch covered in Sunbrella fabric. Was sold by the company I bought the furniture from that to clean the cushions, all I need to do is put on something clean on the driveway, then spray with a bleach/water mixture to clean. We did that (bleach is safe on this fabric), but the cushions, which are 4-5 inches thick, became waterlogged and it took a very long time for them to dry. Any suggestions for cushions that thick?

  3. Anytime I need to make a purchase of any kind, but especially small equipments and outdoor items, I make sure to check your webpage. Your pool area is beautiful and I will be trying the paint our pool concrete next spring using the tools and products you recommended. I enjoy looking at all of your projects, and the beautiful end results. Well done!

  4. Your outdoor area is lovely and WHITE!! How did your new, white pergola top/cover survive your winter? Did you use this same vinegar cleaning process on it along with the power washer? Have you used the vinegar application and power washer on upholstered outdoor cushions? I live in a milder climate with more nuetral upholstry shades and it is a tedious job keeping my outdoor space clean even in protected areas. Please keep sharing your tips!!

    1. Yes! It works on just about anything! We still need to clean our pergola cover, but it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.