Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cleaning Outdoor Cushions

If you have been following my blog since it began last year, you may remember when I ambitiously decided to sew my own replacement cushions for my backyard swing.  I actually did a pretty good job and had an entire season with beautiful new cushions.  Here they are all shiny and new:

I was especially impressed that I managed to get the stripes to match up! 

However, in one short year, they turned completely disgusting!

This picture doesn't even do it justice. They were gray with dirt and looked moldy.  I wasn't really thinking about how hard the white color would be to keep clean when I purchased the fabric, obviously.  I was going to just through them out but decided I had to try to save them.  After spending so much time and energy on making them I couldn't stand to just through them in the trash yet.  So, I turned to my go to source for everything these days...Pinterest.  

I found some tips over at Bee Interiors that looked easy enough.  She used Clorox Cleanup with bleach to clean her cushions.  As she says on her blog, it does contain bleach which could potentially ruin the colors in my cushions, but what did I have to lose?  I followed her directions pretty closely with one exception. She uses a pressure washer to rinse hers, but honestly, I was just too damn lazy to drag that thing out so I simply used our garden hose with the nozzle set on the highest pressure.  I spread the cushion out flat on the picnic table, hosed it down until it was completely soaked, sprayed the Clorox Cleanup generously over the entire cushion and walked away.  I came back in about 5 minutes and rinsed it well.  It wasn't totally clean, but I could see an improvement so I tried it again.  After the second rinsing, it was even cleaner and I was getting excited so I thought, "What if I used a scrub brush on this?!!!"  After applying some more Clorox and scrubbing the fabric a little, it looked great!!!!!! I probably ended up doing about 4 applications and using the scrub brush on all sides of the cushions and pillows.  Sometimes I did let the Clorox sit for up to 15 minutes and it didn't harm the fabric at all (I would recommend testing your own cushions first though!).  Want to see how clean they are now?

Here's the before again so you can see the difference:

Again, these pictures don't even do this project justice.  It's not perfect, but it's sooooo much better!  The difference is much more impressive in person.  If you have some dirty outdoor cushions, give it a try.  The bleach doesn't seem to fade the colors at all in the fabric and does wonders on the lighter colors!

Cushions saved for another year!


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  1. I love that fabric! You did a great job :) I wouldn't paint the chairs white...they would show dirt so easily! I like the color you have or go all silver!

    Outdoor Chair Cushions Online

    1. Thanks! That post is a year old though and now they need cleaned again! LOL!


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