How to Clean and Scotchguard Outdoor Sunbrella Fabric Cushions
For about the last year, our patio furniture has been left outside under a large pine tree. The Sunbrella cushions were new last year, but when we looked at them today, they were covered in dirt, sap, bird poop, and food stains from the summer. All of this dirt and grime has been baked into the cushions from the sun and soaked in through the heavy rains of the winter. To say the least, we have some very dirty cushions.
Today we decided to clean the cushions to see if we can salvage them and put them in our garage until summer. Sunbrella has pretty good instructions for cleaning the fabric.
Step 1: Create the Cleaning Agent for the Fabric
For a heavy or very dirty cushion, in a small bucket mix
- One gallon of water
- 1 cup of Oxy Clean bleach (don't use chlorine bleach with Oxy Clean)
- 1/4 cup of dish soap
Mix it together to form a soapy and sudsy cleaning formula. Using Oxy Clean got us much better results than regular bleach.
Step 2: Soak and Scrub Cushions
If possible, remove the cushion covers before cleaning.
Brush some of the soapy water onto the Sunbrella fabric. Let it soak in and sit so the cleaning mixture can break down the dirt and stains. After fifteen minutes, dip the brush back in the cleaning solution and vigorously scrub the cushions.
If the cushions aren't coming clean, spray the fabric with Woolite Oxy cleaning spray. After spraying, let the cushions sit for a few minutes and then scrub them with a bristly brush.
Step 3: Rinse and Dry Cushions
Once the scrubbing is complete, rinse the cushions off with a hose and place them in the garage to dry.
Most of the dirt will come out easily. The stains caused by the sap will be mostly gone, but not completely. If you really want that sap gone, here are tips on how to remove sap from almost anything.
After the cushion has dried out, this is the same cushion in the first picture. It's now very clean and looks good enough to last through another season.
Step 4: Spray Cushions With Scotchguard
One last step. After the cushions are clean and dry, spray them with Scotchguard.
We have cleaned our cushions three times with this technique, and they have lasted going on five years. The final step with Scotchguard helps protect them from the morning mist and water from sprinklers and rain.
An Alternative Way to Clean Sunbrella Cushions
I've just recently tried an alternative way to scrubbing them with a cleaning solution to clean them much more quickly. I simply took a power washer and sprayed them with a 30-degree nozzle. After the cushions are washed, place them on their side and dry them in the sun.
Note: Drying the cushions out took about three days. So, if you're going to want to use the cushions, plan ahead so they're dry!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Can I wash the Sunbrella cushion covers in a washer?
Yes, if you can get the covers off, you can wash in washer. Just don’t put the entire cushion in.Helpful 17
Can you use Shout on sunbrella fabric?
Most mild detergents work well on Sunbrella fabric. Try the stain remover on a small hidden section first, but it should be fine. One thing to keep in mind is that the detergent or stain remover should be rinsed out thoroughly, so to avoid water rings and stains the entire fabric should be cleaned.Helpful 13
© 2010 Paul Edmondson
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