How To Clean Patio Furniture Cushions and Canvas

Picture this...

Summer has just arrived and your patio furniture looks as if it went through a sandstorm. If it weathered a couple of rainstorms as well, those cushions and that canvas need to undergo a deep clean.

Even if it is the end of summer and the furniture is going into storage, wouldn’t making it pristine beforehand be a better idea than doing it when you are actually ready to use them again?          

Besides regular upkeep, clean patio furniture can also give a new and refreshing look to an otherwise dull and drab patio.

So before planning that barbecue, consider the following simple and effective cleaning tips:

How To Clean Patio Cushions

How To Clean Patio Furniture Canvas and Cushions

Patio cushions may be waterproof or at the very least water resistant, but that doesn’t mean that they repel dirt as well!

The patio is exposed to the elements 24/7, which means that your cushions collect dust, dirt, and debris all the time.

Dirty covers are not a pretty sight, especially if you have friends coming over.

The good news is that you can keep them as vibrant and clean as the day you bought them by using these easy cleaning instructions:

Step by Step:


Mix ¼ cup of dishwashing detergent, half a cup of distilled white vinegar, as well as a gallon of lukewarm water in a bucket. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture for easy application and store the rest.


Use a stiff scrub brush to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the cushion. This will reduce the time it takes for you to scrub the cover clean later.


Spray the cleaning mixture generously over both sides of the cushion. Don’t be stingy. The cover should be saturated with the solution so that it can get into those tiny creases and crevices. The more you put on, the less scrubbing you will have to do.


Place the cushion to the side to dry (and allow the solution to set in) for at least 15 minutes.


Take a garden hose, crank it up on high, and spray the cushion from top to bottom thoroughly to knock out stubborn dirt and the cleaning solution off it. Place the wet and clean cushions on the side to dry and make sure they stand on edge.


Once the cushion is dry enough (or just damp), spray some fabric protector on it to protect it and make it easier to clean in the future. The solution creates a shield around the fabric, which makes it stain resistant for a while.

Whatever you do, avoid using a pressure washer to clean outdoor cushions. The force of the water can tear the fabric.

Even small tears allow moisture to seep through into the material, which can cause mildew to grow.

How To Clean Patio Canvas


Patio canvas furniture covers do a great job in keeping your furniture clean, and awnings made from it can protect you from harmful UV rays.

That pristine surface can get dirty very quickly from the elements. The good news is that cleaning it is not difficult.

If it is removable and machine washable (check manufacturer instructions on the tag to confirm them), just toss it in the washing machine.

If you have removed the tag and don’t know whether the canvas is machine washable, a good rule of thumb is to wash it on the gentle cycle using mild detergent.

Place it back on the furniture when it is damp so that the material can dry out completely and retain its shape at the same time.


However, if the canvas cannot be removed, take a scrub brush, apply Fels-Naptha laundry soap on it, and then scrub the material thoroughly.

This soap is great for canvas awnings since it not only cleans out dirt, but it also removes dry bird droppings and stubborn stains easily.

Scrub as long as it takes to make a good lather. Allow the lather to remain on the canvas for 5 minutes and then use a hose to spray it clean.

Like cushions, spray the clean canvas with fabric protector to make it stain resistant after it is dry or at least damp.

This will also go a long way in preventing mildew and mold from growing in areas that don’t receive a steady supply of fresh air.

Besides Fels-Naptha, you can use also use OxiClean to make your patio canvas pristine.

All you need to do is mix OxiClean in a bucket of water and apply it on the canvas with a scrub brush. Allow it to remain on the material for 30 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water.

How To Remove Mildew from Patio Furniture

Outdoor patio furniture is constantly exposed to the elements, and this includes rain and mist. That makes it an ideal environment for mildew, which grows and spreads fast in dark and damp areas.

Besides giving off a musty odor, these can discolor your brand new patio furniture and cause a series of health problems such as asthma.

The method of mildew removal that you use should vary according to the material of the furniture you use it on:

Removing Mildew from Wooden Furniture

No matter what you have heard before, bleach should not be used on wooden furniture. It can weaken and discolor the material because of how harsh it is.

Make a mild cleaning solution by mixing 1 cup of ammonia, ½ a cup of white vinegar, and ¼ cup of baking soda in a gallon of water.

Dip a sponge or a wash cloth in the solution and rub it all over the wooden parts of the furniture.

If you see a lot of mildew, use full strength white vinegar so that it can’t grow back quickly.

Removing Mildew from Wicker Furniture

Removing mildew from wicker patio furniture can be tricky since it has a lot of nooks and crannies that cannot be reached with a wash cloth or a sponge.

However, that doesn’t mean it cannot be cleaned as thoroughly as wooden furniture.

The first thing you need to do is to wipe the furniture from top to bottom using mild soap and water.

Then, use a hose to spray it thoroughly and especially the spaces you cannot reach manually. Use a high pressure nozzle on the hose if the wicker is strong enough to take the pressure.

Make sure that you are not standing too close when you are using the hose on a high pressure setting. You will get soaked or even injure yourself otherwise.

A good rule of thumb is to check the pressure of the water on a small spot in the back of the wicker to check whether it causes damage or can be used safely.

Removing Mildew from Metallic Furniture

This is, by far, the easiest surface to clean. If you notice mildew on your metal patio furniture, all you need to do is to wipe it down with some mild soap and water.

Just make sure that you remove the cushions that are on it before doing so.

Removing Mildew from Cushions

How Do You Remove Mildew From Outdoor Fabric?

Add ½ a cup of bleach in a gallon of water and pour it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture evenly on the cushions from front to back and then use a scrub brush to clean the mildew off.

Then, rinse the cushion with water and leave it out to dry.

Besides this cleaning method, you can also toss your patio cushions in the washing machine if they are small enough to fit in it. This way, you can ensure that they are cleaned thoroughly from the inside and out.

However, rather than using bleach (residues of which can remain in your machine later), add a cup of white vinegar (believe me, this stuff is magic!) in the machine to ensure the mildew and mold is killed off.

Wrapping It Up...

Your patio furniture deserves just as much love and attention as your indoor sets, even if you don’t entertain guests there too often.

Do you really want to see it go to waste after all of the money you spent on it and all the time you took to shop for it?

You don’t even have to spend a whole day cleaning it when it gets too grungy to ignore. Regular upkeep can help you save a lot of time and effort.

For example, make sure that spills are cleaned up immediately before they have time to seep into the material and make sure to turn the cushions sideways after a storm to dry them out faster and prevent mildew growth.

The bottom line is that you should maintain each and every piece of your outdoor furniture to make the entire set look as amazing as it did when you first bought it.

Rather than splurging on a cleaning service, use the aforementioned tips to save money and prevent extra work.


Drew - CountrySilo


Co-Founder CountrySilo

Growing up around the farmlands of the Midwest you learn at an early age getting your hands dirty is a way of life. Whether it was helping my Grandpa make cedar furniture, mowing neighborhood lawns or throwing bails of hay the do-it-yourself mentality runs strong in our family.

I am excited to help you tackle your projects and discover new ways to make your house a home!

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