This week I was finally able to get outside and start cleaning the deck up from winter. Our new outdoor living space was completed last summer, and it was definitely one of the biggest and most rewarding projects I’ve tackled in awhile. It felt so good to finally get back out there and start preparing to make this space beautiful again! If you’re new here, you can catch up on these posts from last summer: the finished deck reveal, building the deck, and the design plans + furniture sources.
I started by removing the furniture covers and storing them in the bottom of the outdoor sofa, which is one of my favorite features of this particular sofa I chose. It’s so nice having the extra hidden storage! I also had all my outdoor cushions and pillows stored in there, so I pulled those out to give them a good cleaning. A lot of you mentioned wanting to see how I keep these lighter cushions looking so clean being outside with kids and a dog, so I took some photos and a video and will share what I do in today’s blog post! Cleaning your cushions even just once a year will help keep them looking new for years. But I typically clean mine once in the fall before I put them away so they don’t sit dirty all winter long, and then once again in the spring to get them ready to use. Let’s get started!
Note: These cushions that came with the outdoor IKEA sofa DO have zippers and are removable AND machine washable. I’ve washed them once, and they came out perfect. But I worry that continuing to take them off and on eventually may end up breaking the zippers. So unless there are some serious stains that need a better soak and scrub than I can do by hand, I prefer to clean them this way!
HOW TO CLEAN OUTDOOR CUSHIONS + PILLOWS
liquid dish detergent
Lay your cushions out on a deck, driveway, or sidewalk. Do not wash them in your yard to avoid any grass or mud stains. Spray the cushions with water, then mix your cleaning solution in a bucket: 1-2 tablespoons liquid dish detergent + ¼-½ cup Borax (helps remove mildew stains) + warm water.
Generously apply the cleaning solution all over the cushions with a hard-bristle scrub brush. Allow the solution to sit on the fabric for five minutes. Heavily soiled areas may need additional scrubbing and cleaning solution.
Use a garden hose on high pressure (not a pressure washer, which could damage the fabric) to completely rinse the solution off the cushion.
Press/squeeze any excess water you can out of the cushion, and lean the cushions vertically against a sunny wall to dry completely.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CUSHIONS LOOKING BRAND NEW:
SWEEP THEM REGULARLY
Use a broom, vacuum with an upholstery attachment, or even a leaf blower to regularly remove dirt and debris. Be sure to sweep along any seams, creases, or tufting to keep stains from developing.
CLEAN SPILLS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Use a clean, dry cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible (do not rub). If there is any stain remaining, clean with a solution of water and liquid dish detergent. Rinse with clean water, then blot with a dry cloth. To avoid any kind of water stain while spot cleaning, clean the entire side of the cushion instead of just the stained area.
APPLY A FABRIC PROTECTOR
When your cushions are freshly cleaned and completely dry, apply a spray fabric protector such as Scotchgard Water and Sun Shield. This helps prevent water damage or color fading and repels spills and stains, making it even easier to keep your cushions looking clean and new.
If your cushions get rained on, lean them vertically to help speed up the drying time.
If certain cushions get more or less sun exposure, make sure to rotate them regularly so they get equal amounts of sun.
CLEAN BEFORE YOU STORE
Letting dirt or stains sit on the cushions all winter will make them harder to clean when you’re ready to use the cushions again. Make sure they are clean and completely dry before storing for the winter. If you don’t have a dry place to store your cushions, you can buy a waterproof storage bag to keep them in.
Now that the deck is all cleaned up, I can’t wait to decorate and plant flowers again and finally entertain out here this year. Stay tuned for an updated blog post once I get the deck all finished! I hope this post is helpful for keeping your beautiful outdoor furniture looking like new, and I also know how expensive having to buy new cushions can be. Hopefully this post stretches the life of your cushions out quite a few more years!