How To Clean Patio Cushions With Mildew

It is springtime, which makes it the start of patio season!

Did you make an unfortunate mistake and not make sure your cushions were dry before storing them away for the winter?

Now you are in a situation where you need to know how to clean patio cushions with mildew.

Fortunately, we have done some research and learned how to get those mildewy patio cushions cleaned up so that you and your family and friends can enjoy that nice clean air outside!

If you want to find out some of the best ways to clean patio cushions with mildew, continue reading and follow the steps below!

What You’ll Need

Important Note: You won’t need to have all of the items above.

Depending on your preference of cleaning methods, we have included several different cleaning solution recipes below.

Step By Step Instructions For How To Clean patio cushions With mildew

Step 1) Assess patio cushion

First, you need to know what type of patio cushion you are using – fabric or acrylic.

Most of the steps below can be used for both, but acrylic may not require such deep cleansing methods. 

Step 2) Wash patio cushion Cover

If your patio cushion has a removable cover, take it off and run it through the washing machine.

Add into the fabric softener reservoir some white vinegar to help attack the mildew.

Step 3) Remove Excess With Brush

Using the brush, remove any excess dirt and mildew off of the patio cushion.

This will help with focusing your attention on the patio cushion itself.

I found the Amazer Scrub Brush Comfort Grip & Flexible Stiff Bristles on Amazon, and it works well with this cleaning task and a variety of others that you find around your home.

Step 4) Create The Solution

There are different types of solutions you can create, depending on what you have around the house or your own preference for cleaning products.

The ratios of each are below. 

Bleach Solution 

Mix 1/2 a cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water and put it in a spray bottle.

Be sure to spot treat your patio cushion first to make sure that you will not bleach the patio cushion.

White Vinegar Solution 

Use straight white vinegar in a spray bottle.

Using white vinegar is pretty simple, and it does not need to be diluted with water.

I like La’s Totally Awesome Cleaning Vinegar brand that I found on Amazon.

You can apply it straight to your patio cushions!

Borax Solution 

In a bucket, mix 1 cup of Borax with a few squirts of dish soap.

The 20 Mule Team All Natural Borax is the way to go when looking for the type of Borax to use.

This solution will not be mixed with water as it will be applied with a brush, not sprayed from a spray bottle. 

Lysol Solution 

Mix 1/2 a cup of Lysol with 1 gallon of warm water and put it in a spray bottle. 

Dish Soap Solution

Mix 1/4 cup of dish soap with 1 gallon of warm water.

Put the solution into a spray bottle.

Step 5) Wet The patio Cushion

Using either a pressure washer on the low setting or a garden hose, wet the patio cushion.

If you are using a pressure washer, hold the hose two feet away from the patio cushion to ensure that you do not damage the patio cushion.

Step 6) Apply The Solution

Using either the spray bottle or the scrub brush, apply the cleaning solution on the entire patio cushion, paying close attention to the problem areas that have mildew.

If you are using the Borax solution, be sure to scrub the Borax into the patio cushion.

If you are using the bleach solution, you can skip Step 7 and go to Step 8.

Step 7) Let Sit

Depending on the solution you use or the degree of mildew on the patio cushions, you will let the patio cushion sit with the solution on it for a period of time, generally 5-10 minutes. 

Step 8) Rinse

Using the garden hose or pressure washer on the lowest setting, rinse all of the solution off of the patio cushion.

Be sure to press on it with your hand to ensure there is no lingering suds or solution.  

Step 9) Dry

Lay the patio cushion against a wall to air dry.

Step 10) Repeat

If you notice there is still mildew on your patio cushions, to get it out, you can continue repeating any of the above steps until it is gone.

You may want to try different solutions.

Step 11) Spray With Vinegar

Once you are done cleaning your patio cushions, spray undiluted vinegar on the patio cushions.

By doing this, you are preventing the possibility of future mildew!

Commonly Asked Questions

Does it matter what material my patio cushion is made out of?

The type of material your patio cushion does matter when deciding what type of solution to use on your cushion.

If the patio cushion is acrylic, it has fewer restrictions on what solutions to use on it.

In addition, acrylic patio cushions will not need a thorough cleaning due to their ability to be cleaned easier.

Fabric patio cushions will need more caution in solutions as well as more elbow grease to treat any mildew.

Can I use bleach on my mildewy patio cushions? 

Yes, you can use bleach on your patio cushions.

You will need, however, to check to make sure the washing specifications on your patio cushions.

Some may not recommend you use bleach to keep the colors intact.

Complete a spot check on an inconspicuous location before using it on your entire patio cushion.

How does white vinegar help my patio cushions? Won’t it only make them smell? 

White vinegar can help with preventing and treating mildew as a natural cleaning agent.

It can help to clean while also remove odor.

Even though white vinegar has a powerful smell when in its liquid form, once it dries on your patio cushions, it will help to remove any odor from mildew or musty smell from storage.

Can I mix the different ingredients to make a super solution? 

No! Do not mix these solutions.

Mixing different chemicals can create noxious and harmful fumes for humans. 

Can I dry my patio cushion out in the sun?

It is not recommended to keep the patio cushion in direct sunlight to avoid any discoloration from the sun.

If your patio cushions are already set in the sun regardless, then feel free!


Have you enjoyed learning how to clean patio cushions with mildew.

It’s never fun after a long winter to look forward to lounging on your nice patio cushions, only to find that they used that winter break to mildew.

However, now that you have found the steps and information above, you can quickly and efficiently clean the mildew off your cushions.

No, go out and enjoy the outdoors on your freshly cleaned patio cushions!