How to Take Care of Patio Cushions & Make Them Last (Solved)

  • Written By: Rachel
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Can you really make a patio cushion last for years? If you take good care of them, yes, yes you can. Otherwise, you might end up with weather-faded cushions that lessen the appeal of your outdoor space. Or worse, you might sit down on mold!  

Patio cushions can last for years, so long as you take good care of them. There are many simple ways to prolong the life of your patio cushions: 

  • Keep them dry
  • Keep them out of the shade
  • Periodically spot clean them
  • Store them in a dry place 
  • Use cushion covers

If you want to find out how to manage all the points on the list above with minimal effort, just keep reading and I’ll go over everything you need to know. 

How Do You Dry Out Wet Patio Cushions?

The easiest way to get mold and mildew is by not allowing your patio cushions to dry properly. If they are wet for too long, especially in warm conditions, mold and mildew will grow. So, it’s a good idea to know how to dry your cushions. 

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Who best to ask than the experts, and this is what Cushion Factory out of Australia had to say:

“Simply apply pressure to remove any water residue then place it in an airy spot, in direct sun, on its side so the water can drain out of the zip end. If you need to dry the cushion inside, ensure it is in front of a fan. Quick-dry cushions are best air-dried and will still retain their shape…Do not put it in a dryer or subject it to heat.” 

The main thing is, to let the fabric and the foam dry completely. Squeeze out any access water and lean them up against something in the sun so they can completely dry out. 

How Long Does It Take for Outdoor Cushions to Dry?

By using the method above, it may take 8 – 12 hours for your outdoor cushions to fully dry. And by then, they may end up with a layer of dew on them, too! So, we’ve always pulled out the fans to help speed that along. 

Why Is Shade Good but Also Bad for Your Outdoor Cushions? 

UV exposure may not cause much actual damage to a cushion made for outdoor use, but it can definitely fade the colors over time. To avoid this discoloration, you may want to place your outdoor furniture, along with those cushions, in a shaded area. There is, however, one thing to keep in mind. 

Don’t place your furniture and cushions somewhere dark, especially if the climate is generally humid. If your cushions are in the shade most of the time, you want there to be plenty of air passing through the area to prevent moisture from attaching to the fibers of your cushions. After all, mold and mildew love dark, damp conditions and will spread in them. 

Spot Cleaning Your Patio Cushions

If you want a good preventative for mold and mildew, use a spray bottle of distilled white vinegar around, and periodically spray your cushions with it. Clean your cushions at least monthly to get rid of any dirt from them. After all, where there is dirt and moisture mold can thrive. 

If you spill something on a cushion, clean it off immediately instead of letting it sit and risk mold. Keep a check on your cushions to be aware if mold or mildew starts, and wash it off immediately so that the problem doesn’t get out of hand. 

If you can, use water-proof cushion covers. No matter what kind of cover you have on your patio cushions, use a fabric sealant like 3-M Fabric Sealant to add an invisible layer of protection to your cushions. On that note, be sure to always use dry towels before you sit on your cushions with a wet bottom. 

If you mess up and wind up with mold and mildew on your cushions anyway, I have written an article that fully explains what the issue is and how to remove both mold and mildew. It even outlines several methods, some using chemicals and others that are more environmentally safe. So check that out. 

Should You Bring in Outdoor Cushions on a Regular Basis?

You don’t have to store your outdoor cushions after each use, but there are times when having an indoor storage area (garage, sunroom, shed) or an outdoor storage box (like this one…) is handy. For instance, when it’s going to rain for long periods of time or when dangerous or inclement weather is coming your way. Water resistance can only handle a certain amount of water.

No matter where you store your patio cushions, both the cushions and the area should be dry and clean. This is all to ensure that no mold and mildew invades the space or your cushions. There are ways to clean the entire cushion, but many cushions are foam-covered in a washable cover. Remember to machine wash cold in most cases, but NEVER use a heated dryer. 

Can You Leave Patio Cushions Outside in the Winter?

Outdoor fabrics are designed to be weather-resistant and much stronger than those made for inside. However, sleet, snow, rain, and ice in large amounts can still damage your outdoor cushions if you aren’t careful. Therefore, you may also want to store your patio cushions during the winter. Don’t forget to clean them off before storing them. 

Covers for Outdoor Cushion Storage

Not only can you purchase an actual chest that can be used to store your cushions that can be left outdoors, but you can purchase waterproof storage bags. These containers are usually made of water-resistant materials that breathe. Therefore they keep animals and dirt from getting on your patio cushions while they’re being stored as well as prevent mold and mildew.

These cushion storage bags can be purchased in multiple colors and with various measurements to fit your storage needs. Some even have wheels. They’re available in specialty storefronts and also on large retail websites. 

An alternative option would be to use a Christmas tree storage bag instead of the typical cushion storage bag because they usually have more storage space.

A great option for a cushion storage bag is the Christmas Tree Storage Bag from Covers & All.

Outdoor furniture can be expensive, but so can the cushions that you use on them. If you want your investment to last as long as possible, please take my suggestions and put them all to good use. If you have any further suggestions, feel free to let me know! 

How Do You Fix Sagging Patio Cushions? 

There are several methods that are quick fixes for a saggy cushion. You can plump up a cushion really quick by unzipping the cover and just stuffing that bad boy with a material called “poly-fill”. It’s almost the same material you would find in the middle of a comforter.  

Another way to re-fluff an outdoor cushion is to remove the entire foam from the inside and either replace it or purchase less thick foam upholstery chair pads. Put the chair foam on top of the new foam pad and cut it to the appropriate size. Then, push both the old and the new foam into the cover.