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Cleaning Outdoor Cushions, Pillows and Umbrellas for Patio Season

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Cleaning Outdoor Cushions, Pillows and Umbrellas for Patio Season


As the weather warms up, I start thinking about getting my outdoor patio ready for enjoying the spring and summer months. One of the most important parts of prepping my patio is making sure my outdoor cushions, pillows and umbrellas are clean and ready to use. After sitting out all winter, these items can get dirty, mildewy and dusty. Giving them a good deep clean helps extend their life and makes my patio look fresh and inviting for the new season.

In this article, I’ll share my tips and process for cleaning outdoor patio cushions, pillows and umbrellas to get them clean and refreshed for the warmer months.

Supplies Needed

Before I start cleaning, I gather all the supplies I’ll need:

  • Mild detergent – I use a gentle laundry or dish soap. Avoid harsh cleaners that could damage or fade fabrics.

  • Soft scrub brush – For working dirt and debris out of textures.

  • Spray bottle with water – For rinsing and removing soap residue.

  • Clean cloths and towels – I dedicate old towels just for cleaning patio items.

  • Garden hose – For a strong rinse to remove deep dirt.

  • Leather cleaner – If you have leather cushions or pillows.

  • Bleach solution – For removing mildew stains from fabric.

  • Protective gloves – To keep hands clean during scrubbing.

Process for Cleaning Outdoor Cushion Covers

Cushion covers often get the dirtiest over winter. Here are the steps I take to get them clean:

1. Remove cushion covers from inserts

  • Unzip all cushion covers and remove the foam inserts. This allows me to clean the covers thoroughly.

2. Shake off debris

  • I take the empty cushion covers outside and give them a good shake or beating to remove any loose dirt, leaves, pet hair, etc.

3. Spot clean stains

  • I inspect the covers for any visible stains or mildew spots. For mud or dirt, I spot clean with detergent and a scrub brush. For mildew, I use a diluted bleach solution.

4. Wash cushion covers

  • If possible, I toss the cushion covers in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using mild detergent. If they are too large, I hand wash them in my tub or with the garden hose.

5. Rinse and air dry

  • I rinse all soap residue out thoroughly. Then I let the cushion covers air dry completely before putting them back on the cushions.

Cleaning Patio Pillows

For outdoor throw pillows, I follow a similar process:

  • Remove covers – If possible, unzip and remove fabric pillow covers for washing.

  • Spot clean – Spot treat any visible stains on the pillows or covers.

  • Surface clean – Hand wash or spot clean pillows still in their covers if needed.

  • Let air dry – I allow pillows and covers to dry completely before replacing covers.

Cleaning Patio Umbrellas

Here is how I tackle cleaning outdoor umbrellas:

Inspect for damage

  • Before cleaning, I inspect the umbrella frame, spokes and canopy for any damage or rust spots. I make notes on any repairs needed.

Remove canopy

  • If possible, I remove the canopy from the umbrella frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This allows me to clean it thoroughly.

Shake out debris

  • With the canopy off, I take it outside and give it a good shake to remove loose particles.

Spot clean stains

  • Using a soapy scrub brush, I spot clean any visible stains or mildew on the canopy fabric.

Rinse canopy

  • I rinse the canopy thoroughly with clean water using a garden hose.

Air dry

  • Lay the canopy flat or hang it to allow it to completely air dry before reattaching to the frame.

Clean umbrella frame

  • I use a mild soap and scrub brush to clean the umbrella pole and spokes to remove dirt and debris. I rinse thoroughly.

Reattach canopy

  • Once fully dry, I reattach the clean canopy to the umbrella frame according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Final Touches for a Fresh Patio

Once all the cushions, pillows and umbrellas are cleaned, I put everything back in its place on my patio. As a final touch, I like to sprinkle baking soda on the cushions before putting the covers back on. This helps absorb any odors and leaves a fresh scent.

With a little time and elbow grease, I can get my outdoor items cleaned and prepped so my patio looks tidy and welcoming for patio season. Maintaining these items properly helps extend their lifespan so I can enjoy them for many years. A clean, refreshed patio is perfect for relaxing on warm days and evenings.

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