How to clean patio cushions with mildew

Who doesn’t love a well-furnished patio? Having outdoor seating and dining could easily make your outdoor space more functional. It allows you to entertain guests without being confined inside your house.

Patio cushions especially add coziness and comfort to your outdoor space, but maintaining them can be tricky. Since these cushions are constantly exposed to the elements, it’s not uncommon for them to accumulate dirt, mold and mildew.

Of course, you don’t want to relax on cushions filled with mildew so you have to clean them. Here we provide some methods you can use to clean the mildew off of your patio cushions.

How to clean patio cushions with bleach

Bleach is one of the most effective ways to remove mildew from your patio cushion because it also kills germs, bacteria, and fungi. But before you pour bleach on your cushion, remember that chlorine bleach is a strong agent. It can remove pigments from colored cushion fabric if it’s not bleachable.

Bleach can also irritate your eyes and skin if not used properly. But if you have white cushions with stubborn stains, mold and mildew, this is your best option.

Using gloves and an apron, mix ¾ cups of bleach to one gallon of water in a bucket. Don’t clean your cushions on your patio as the bleach could cause staining on your floor.

Set up a workstation in your garage or sidewalk and lay down a tarp to avoid staining.

Dip a cloth into the bleach solution and test it on a hidden part of the cushion first to see if it changes the fabric’s color. If it’s okay to use, you can wipe down the cushions using cloth or a brush and keep reapplying until they are fully saturated.

Let the solution sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing the cushions with water. Let them dry completely outdoors.

How to clean patio cushions with vinegar

If you find bleach too strong, vinegar could be a non-toxic, safe, and more eco-friendly option for removing mildew on patio cushions.

If the cushion covers are removable, you can wash them with detergent and add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine. But if your covers are not removable, you can fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray it all over your cushions.

Let the vinegar sit for 10 minutes while you mix 1 tablespoon of dish detergent with 3 cups of hot water. Scrub the cushions using a sponge dipped in the mixture. Rinse the cushions with a clean damp cloth and let them dry out in the sun.

How to clean patio cushions with Oxiclean

Oxiclean is another excellent agent for removing mildew on patio cushions since it contains surfactants, polymers, sodium percarbonate, and sodium carbonate that work to emulsify stains.

To use Oxiclean for your patio cushions, start by shaking them well outdoors to get rid of any powdery white substances that may have stuck on the cushions.

Then, you need to soak the cushions in hot water with Oxiclean for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then you can start scrubbing them using a soft brush. Rinse them well with water and spread them out under the sun to dry. You can also hang the cushions to let the water drain out fast.

How to clean patio cushions without a hose

If you don’t want to take out your garden hose or you don’t have one for cleaning your patio cushions, you can try one of these methods that won’t require you to rinse your cushions with water:

Homemade cleaning solution

Perfect for light stains and mildew, this cleaning solution consists of hot water, borax, dishwashing detergent, and baking soda. Mix these ingredients together and use a cloth to scrub the stain lightly until the mildew has been removed.

Hydrogen peroxide

Mold and mildew can make your patio cushions smell bad, but you can remove that stink by applying hydrogen peroxide to the stain itself and letting it dry.


Ammonia is another effective cleaning solution, especially when mixed with vinegar, water, and baking soda, that you can scrub or spray on the mildew to remove it without having to wash the entire cushion.

Lemon salt

This organic cleaning solution is great if you don’t want to use any chemicals on your patio cushions. Just mix lemon juice with salt and scrub it on the mildew.

How to prevent mildew in patio cushions

Although there are several ways to remove mildew from patio cushions, prevention is still the best way to keep them in pristine condition for a long time.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

  • Be on the lookout for sudden weather changes. If your daily forecast says that it will rain or the humidity is higher than usual, take the cushions inside right away to keep them from the elements.
  • Invest in cushion covers. Waterproof cushion covers will not keep mold and mildew completely off your cushions, but at least they’ll keep them in good condition. Their condition will be better than when they are exposed to heat and water. If you can’t find waterproof cushion covers, try to use a fabric seal spray to make your cushion covers waterproof.
  • Never sit on the cushions when you’re wet. Provide separate seating for people who just came out of the pool or those who are sunbathing. Or you can also tell them to lay out a towel before lying down on the cushions to prevent the sunscreen or water from absorbing and causing mold and mildew.
  • Always keep your cushions clean. Never let spilled food or drink sit on your cushions for a long time to accumulate mold or mildew. Clean them immediately with a damp cloth. If you can remove the cushion covers, wash them regularly to keep them clean and tidy.

Follow these easy steps to keeping your patio cushions in tiptop shape so you can enjoy them longer as part of your outdoor living space.