How to Clean Commercial Outdoor Cushions Like a Pro

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: July 31, 2021

From poolside bar service to patio dining, the great outdoors extends your hospitality business. Spotless furniture outside reflects the professional focus you put on keeping guests happy. Knowing how to clean outdoor cushions makes sure your venue makes the best impression.

It’s just one of the specialty services we provide for hotels and restaurants in Chicago. ServiceMaster by Zaba is proud to be the city’s leading commercial cleaning business, and we enjoy sharing that expertise.

Let’s take a look at patio furniture cleaning ideas that can make this big project easier on your in-house staff. We’re including some of our best power tips too.

How to Clean Outdoor Seating Cushions

outdoor patio furniture

Whether you own or manage, you know how quickly dirty furniture creates a negative guest experience. From customer seating to office chairs, your staff keeps interior furnishings clean and inviting. Outdoor patio cushions and cabana pillows don’t always get the same attention.

Outside seating dulls with everyday wear. Add mold, tree sap and oily spills, and expensive outdoor furniture loses its welcoming appeal. This guide helps protect your investment and your commitment to guest satisfaction.

How to Clean Removable Outdoor Cushion Covers

Removable covers let you bring outside furniture cleanup inside. However, before washing outdoor cushions in the washing machine, vacuum them first. Run an upholstery attachment on both sides of each cover.

This trick loosens up accumulated dirt and helps you spot problem areas that need additional attention. Check cushion labels for instructions on recommended types of laundry detergent and drying temperatures.

Power Tip: Drying removable covers outside keeps them from shrinking and freshens the fabric.

How to Clean Outdoor Cushion Covers That Don’t Come Off

When you don’t have the convenience of removable covers, plan on working outside. You’ll need the following supplies.

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Soft-bristled brushes
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Powdered enzyme cleaner
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water buckets
  • Garden hose and sprayer
  • Clean towels

Before cleaning patio cushions that don’t come off, move pieces located over grassy areas onto concrete or paved surfaces. Otherwise, washing and rinsing over open ground can create a muddy mess.

1. Thoroughly Vacuum Cushions

A shop vac speeds up this first step, but be sure to use its upholstery attachment. As the vacuum pulls up loose dirt and debris, be careful around trim and seams.

Power Tip: A soft-bristled brush works well on sweeping out deep seams around cushions.

2. Wet and Wipe

Wet down outdoor cushions with clean towels and a mixture of liquid dish detergent and warm water. Work the solution into the material, and then let it set for five minutes.

3. Scrub, Drain and Repeat

Next, use a clean soft-bristled brush to firmly scrub cushions. Give them a few minutes to drain, and repeat brushing and scrubbing. It may take several passes before you see results.

Power Tip: Loosen deep-set dirt by scrubbing cushions side to side and then up and down.

4. Rinse Cushions Carefully

Rinse outdoor cushions using a garden hose and low-pressure spray attachment. Never use pressure washer equipment on furniture outside. It can tear fabric and damage frames.

5. Dry With Purpose

Blot freshly washed patio cushions and pillows with clean towels. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible around seams and edges, and air dry. A sunny day and southern exposure should finish the job.

6. Know When to Call Cleaning Pros

Dirty cushions can spoil an outdoor event, so always check their condition between shifts. When you run into a problem that needs attention right away, contact a commercial cleaning company like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba in Chicago. Their equipment and techniques greatly reduce cushion cleaning and drying time.

How to Remove Mold from Outdoor Patio Cushions

mold patio cushion

Outdoor cushion and pillow covers are made with highly durable materials. From acrylics to olefin fabrics, they’re manufactured to resist mold and mildew.

Busy outdoor furniture in commercial settings presents a different type of problem. In addition to the weather, patio spills and poolside splashes add extra layers of moisture that cause mold growth on cushions.

These steps get rid of it:

  1. Scrape or brush off as much mold as possible.
  2. Spray affected areas with full-strength distilled white vinegar.
  3. Wait 10 minutes before scrubbing clean with a stiff brush.
  4. Finish cleanup with a sponge soaked in water and vinegar.
  5. Rinse well, and air dry in a sunny spot.

How to Get Stains Out of Patio Cushions

The same finish that makes outdoor upholstery mold-resistant also helps it resist staining. Over time, most patio and poolside furniture loses that protection, so be ready with these stain-removing strategies.

Oily Stains

• Sprinkle oily cushion stains with baking soda or cornstarch.
• Give the powder 15 minutes to absorb oily residue.
• Use a dull straightedge to gently scrape away the powder.
• Repeat as needed, and finish with an upholstery stain remover.

Grass Stains

• Pre-treat cushions by soaking stains with a heavy-duty laundry detergent.
• Work detergent into affected areas with a soft brush, and rinse thoroughly.
• Soak grass stains with a mix of oxygen bleach and warm water.
• Wait one hour, wash cushions again, rinse, and air dry.

Tree Sap

• Apply an enzyme-based stain remover to cushions.
• Sprinkle with powdered detergent to create a paste.
• Scrub with a brush, rinse with hot water, and air dry.
• Oxygen bleach can also remove tree sap from outdoor upholstery.

Looking for Outdoor Furniture Cleaning Services in Chicago?

Outdoor service is an important part of business for so many Chicago restaurants and hotels. Between taking care of guests and general upkeep, your busy staff doesn’t always have time for extra jobs like cleaning outdoor cushions.

We understand the hospitality industry, and we can help. Our outdoor cushion cleaning services make sure your customers feel welcome and comfortable when they take a seat. Leave the extra work to Chicago’s best commercial cleaning company. Call ServiceMaster by Zaba today for a free quote: 773-647-1985.