Can outdoor cushion covers be machine washed?

Patio cushions and outdoor pillow covers that are removable can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with a mild cleaning detergent. So, if your outdoor cushion cover comes with a zipper or buttons, they can be safely removed for machine washing.

Cleaning your outdoor cushion cover is a breeze if it’s removable, and it’s a task you can add to your spring cleaning checklist.

Keeping your outdoor cushion covers clean not only helps keep your patio furniture clean and healthy but also helps your cushions last as long as possible.

You can either machine-wash or hand-wash the cushion cover to remove dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris from it.

Can outdoor cushion covers be washed in washing machine?

Most outdoor cushion covers are made from coarse linen, cotton, or blended fabrics that have a combination of synthetic materials, such as polyester and cotton, polyester-linen-cotton blends, and polyester-viscose blends.

These types of fabrics are sturdy and can withstand machine washing as well as hand washing.

Before starting a machine-washing cycle, make sure that the cushion cover is colorfast by testing it in an inconspicuous area.

When machine washing, use the gentle cycle with cold or warm water and a mild cleaning detergent.

To make sure the cushion cover doesn’t tangle or twist, do not overload the machine.

Once done, hang the cushion cover to dry or dry it in a clothes dryer on the low-heat setting.

How do know if the cushion cover is machine washable?

In most cases, cushion covers that are removable can be machine-washed.

However, there are a few things to look out for before washing removable cushion covers in a washing machine.

Care Label

Almost all cushion covers that are branded have a care label.

These care labels will tell you whether your outdoor pillows are machine-washable or not.

If there’s no care label, the safest way to clean your cushion cover is by hand-washing it.

Material Type and Colorfastness Test

The type of material used in the cushion cover will also determine whether it’s machine-washable or not.

Machine-friendly fabrics such as polyester, linen, cotton, and blended fabrics are all strong enough to be washed in a machine.

Similarly, there are certain fabrics that may not go well when machine-washed. Therefore, it’s recommended to go through the care label before considering machine washing.

Finally, before you start a machine-washing cycle, make sure that the cushion cover is colorfast by testing it in an inconspicuous area.

Size of the cushion cover and capacity of the washer

To make sure the cushion cover doesn’t tangle or twist, do not overload the machine with too many covers at once.

Also, the capacity of the washer should be taken into consideration.

It is best to use a front-load machine for larger cushion covers and a top-load machine for smaller cushion covers.

Even if the care label says it’s machine washable, it won’t make sense if you put the cover in a washer that cannot accommodate it.

So, the answer to the initial question, “Can outdoor cushion covers be washed in washing machine?” is a definite yes! As long as the cushion cover is removable, the material type is suitable for machine washing, and you are mindful of the capacity of your washing machine.

How to wash outdoor cushion covers?

Depending on the care label and fabric type, you can either machine-wash or hand-wash the outdoor cushion cover.

Ones that are non-removable can be treated without performing a full wash.

Let’s take a quick look at both the machine-washing and hand-washing processes, followed by the process to clean non-removable outdoor covers.

Instructions to machine wash the outdoor cushion cover

Step 1: Check the care label

The first step is to read the care label thoroughly to make sure it is suitable for machine washing.

Not all cushion covers are made the same, therefore, some may be machine washable while others may not be.

Step 2: Colorfastness test

Before you start a machine-washing cycle, make sure that the cushion cover is colorfast by testing it in an inconspicuous area.

Step 3: Pre-treat the cushion cover

Before you put your cushion cover in the washing machine, treat any stains with a stain remover.

Only do this if the stain remover does not affect the color of the fabric.

So, always test the stain remover in an inconspicuous area first before applying it to more visible areas.

If you are uncomfortable using a stain remover, you can make one at home using simple ingredients easily available in your house.

Here’s how you can make a homemade stain remover solution.

In a bowl of water, combine some white distilled vinegar and some mild detergent.

Next, mix the solution and pour it into the stained areas, followed by treating it with a soft brush or sponge.

Once, you are done pre-treating it, rinse the affected areas with cold water.

Note: It’s ok if there is a slight amount of stain remaining after pretreating. Over-trying to remove the stains may damage the fabric.

Step 4: Put the outdoor cushion covers in the washer

Now that you have pre-treated the cushion covers, you can put them in the washer.

If your washer size is small and you are afraid of the covers getting tangled, use a mesh laundry bag.

A mesh laundry bag helps protect the fabric from tangling or wrinkling and also prevents it from getting damaged.

Step 5: Add detergent to the detergent tray

The next step is to put some detergent in the detergent tray of your washer.

If you are using a pre-measured pod, place it directly in the washer’s drum, and it will dissolve itself during the washing process.

Step 6: Set the machine to a gentle cycle

Now, set your washer to run on a gentle cycle with cold water and start the machine.

For heavily soiled covers, you can set it to a regular cycle and adjust the soil level accordingly.

Step 7: Dry the covers

Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the cushion covers from the washer and hang them to dry in a warm place.

Do not expose the cushion covers to direct sunlight since that can fade the color of the fabric.

If you have a tumble dryer, set it to low heat and dry the covers for about 15 minutes or as per the instructions on the care label.

Instructions to Hand wash the outdoor cushion cover

Handwashing the cushion cover is fairly straightforward and does not require any prep work.

All you need is a tub or a sink with cold water, detergent, and a little bit of manual effort.

Here are the steps to safely hand wash the outdoor cushion cover.

Step 1: Fill a basin or sink with cold water.

Step 2: Prepare a bowl of warm water and add a mild detergent to it before stirring.

Step 3: Soak the cushion cover in the detergent solution for about 15 minutes.

Step 4: Gently agitate the cover and work on the stained areas.

Step 5: Rinse the cover in cold water until all the suds are gone.

Step 6: Hang the cover to dry in a warm place.

Wash Non-removable outdoor cushion covers

If your outdoor cushion covers cannot be removed, you can make a cleaning solution using warm water, detergent, and vinegar.

Simply mix a mild detergent with a bowl of warm water and add two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to it.

Now, blot the stained areas of the cushion covers with a sponge or soft cloth.

Then dip the soft brush into the solution and start scrubbing it until the stains go away.

Finally, wipe the affected areas with a damp cloth and let the cushion covers air-dry.

How to clean patio cushions with mildew?

In a large mixing bowl, combine one tablespoon of dishwasher liquid with two cups of water OR use two tablespoons of vinegar and the remaining water mixed with the detergent.

Next, dip the sponge or clean cloth in the mixture and start scrubbing the mildew-affected area.

Repeat the process multiple times until the mildew is completely gone.

Once you are done cleaning, air-dry the cushion covers naturally.

Also, if the cushion covers are removable, you can soak the cover in a sink or tub filled with water and laundry disinfectants like Lysol or Dettol before doing the final wash.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor cushion covers can be washed in washing machines or by hand with detergent solutions.

However, it is important that you always follow the instructions given on the care label and use gentle cycles to avoid damaging the fabric.

Handwashing is often preferred for delicate or non-removable cushion covers to avoid potential damage.

Also, it’s important to let the cushion covers dry completely after washing them and never put them in direct sunlight.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)