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How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric Cushions

How to clean Sunbrella fabric cushions

Is there anything better than enjoying spring and summer weather from the comfort of your own backyard? My husband and I love hosting friends and family outside year round! We invested in outdoor furniture complete with Sunbrella fabric cushions because we knew it would look great, last for years, and provide comfortable seating for us and our guests.

I chose white cushions for our furniture… Some people thought I was crazy considering we have two small boys and host frequent BBQ’s and pizza parties. Here’s the thing, you can always bleach and clean white Sunbrella fabric cushions, but you cannot revive sun bleached colorful fabric cushions.

If you too have invested in Sunbrella fabric cushions and you’re wondering how to keep them clean, look no further. I am going to teach you how to clean Sunbrella fabric cushions based on manufacturer recommendations and years of personal experience.

Removing Sunbrella Fabric Cushion Covers

If your Sunbrella cushions are beyond the point of spot cleaning it might be time to give them a full wash. Some cushion covers can be unzipped and removed for cleaning. Even if that seems to be the case with your Sunbrella fabric cushions, proceed with caution!

Removing the cushion covers is a project within itself but replacing the covers back over the cushions? Forget it.

If your cushion covers have reached a point where it’s “remove and wash the covers or throw the cushions away” then by all means give it a try. Even so, I recommend washing them with the covers still on the cushions first!

How to Machine Wash Sunbrella Fabric

If you chose to remove the Sunbrella cushion covers from your outdoor furniture, then it might be easiest to machine wash them.

**Before you remove cushion covers, take note of my cautionary tale about removing Sunbrella fabric cushions above!

What You’ll Need

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Close all zippers. 
  2. Wash on a delicate cycle in cold or warm (not hot) water. 
  3. If necessary, you can add chlorine bleach to the wash cycle for white fabrics.
  4. Air dry outside if possible.

How to Hand Wash Sunbrella Fabric

Whether you choose to remove the cushion covers or not, it is easy to hand wash Sunbrella fabric cushion covers.

What You’ll Need

  • ¼ cup mild soap
  • 1 gallon lukewarm water

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Mix your cleaning solution.
  2. Wet your cushion fabric with lukewarm water.
  3. Dip your sponge or soft scrub brush into the cleaning solution then apply it to the cushion by scrubbing with the grain of the fabric. 
  4. Rinse clean with water.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Air dry in the shade for colorful fabrics. Air dry in the sun to naturally bleach white fabrics.

How to Remove Stains from Sunbrella Fabric

More often than not, all that’s required is a little spot cleaning to keep Sunbrella cushions looking like new. Here is how to clean common stains on Sunbrella fabric cushions.

Mold and Mildew

  • 1 cup bleach
  • 1/4 cup mild soap 
  • 1 gallon of water
  1. Spray mixture on mildew and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before rinsing clean with water. 
  2. I sometimes have to repeat this method multiple times for stubborn stains but trust me when I say this method WILL make your white cushions white once again.

Oil Based Stains (oil, butter, grease, sunscreen, etc.)

  • Cornstarch or baking soda
  • ¼ c dish soap
  • 1 gal water

If possible, cover the stain with a small pile of cornstarch or baking soda. Let that soak up as much oil as possible. You might have to brush away and repeat this step a handful of times over the course of many hours until the oil stain has lifted almost completely.

Follow up by cleaning the area with a mixture of soap and lukewarm water.

Beer

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • ½ c vinegar 
  • 1 gal water

Berries

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • ½ c vinegar 
  • 1 gal water

Bird Droppings

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Blood

  • Hydrogen peroxide spray
  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

For dried blood stains, start by spraying the stain with hydrogen peroxide. This will immediately create a reaction and start lifting the stain. Repeat as necessary. Once you notice the stain has lifted follow up by cleaning the area with a soap and water mixture.

Charcoal

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Ketchup

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Gum

  • Ice cube(s)
  • Silicone Scraper
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Start by using the ice cubes to freeze any gum that remains on your cushions. Using a silicone scraper, scrape off the frozen gum.

Follow up by dabbing the stain with a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Repeat, repeat, repeat. In time the ink stain WILL lift from your fabric and once you see the stain has lifted you can follow up by cleaning the area with a mixture of soap and water.

Chocolate

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • ½ c hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 gal water

Coffee, Tea

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Wine

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • ½ c isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 gal water

Soda, Fruit Juice

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Lipstick

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Use a clean cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol to dab (don’t rub!) the ink stain. Repeat, repeat, repeat. In time the ink stain WILL lift from your fabric and once you see the stain has lifted you can follow up by cleaning the area with a mixture of soap and water.

Ink

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • 1 gal water

Use a clean cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol to dab (don’t rub!) the ink stain. Repeat, repeat, repeat. In time the ink stain WILL lift from your fabric and once you see the stain has lifted you can follow up by cleaning the area with a mixture of soap and water.

Candle Wax

Urine or Vomit

  • ¼ c dish soap 
  • ½ c vinegar 
  • 1 gal water

Power Washing Sunbrella Fabric

Sunbrella manufacturers warn customers to NEVER use a power washer on Sunbrella fabrics

You can hose Sunbrella fabric cushions down but avoid using a power washer. I like to do a deep cleaning of my white Sunbrella fabric cushions twice per year – once in spring and again in the fall.

I hose them down, wash them and treat stains as necessary, then hose them clean once again before air drying in the sun. 

How to Prevent Stains on Sunbrella Fabric

Brush Regularly

A big reason outdoor Sunbrella cushions get dirty over time is because of dirt buildup on the surface. Dust, dirt, fallen leaves, and other plant debris will blow onto the cushions during the day. Then at night the dew from the air dampens the cushions and sets the dirt into the fabric. 

Over time, this repeated process will leave cushions looking dingy. To avoid this, invest in a light weight hand broom

Most afternoons either myself or one of my family members will give our outdoor cushions a quick brush with our eco-friendly hand broom to remove dust and dirt from the surface. This habit alone extends the time between washing significantly!

Cover

Consider investing in outdoor furniture covers. Especially if you live in a climate where you get a lot of rain, wind, or other weather conditions that might damage your outdoor furniture cushions. 

Covering your furniture will help keep cushions protected in place during periods of more severe weather conditions.

This is also helpful if you want to minimize the possibility of sun bleaching colored fabrics. 

Remove Cushions During Inclement Weather

Can’t find furniture covers? Alternatively, you can remove and store Sunbrella fabric cushions in a dry, covered area during inclement weather. 

This is also helpful if you want to minimize the possibility of sun bleaching colored fabrics. 

Clean stains as they develop

Stains are always the easiest to treat right after they occur. Don’t wait!

Review the stain removal guide above to properly treat any stain on your Sunbrella fabric cushions.