How to clean mildew from outdoor seat cusions

Written by kathy mayse
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Mildew on outdoor seat cushions is a concern because it is so common. If left untreated, mildew can discolour cushions permanently. Mildew can also be attributed to transfer stains on other fabrics including clothing, decorative items, seat covers and place mats. Removing mildew from seat cushions is an easy task, but it needs to be done often or mildew will return. Mildewed seat cushions should be cleaned immediately once the mildew is spotted. When cushions are not in use, they should be stored in dry, airy room or storage building.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Vacuum
  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning brush

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  1. 1

    Brush all debris from the seat cushions and vacuum to remove any leaves, twigs, soil or loose organic debris. If debris is stuck to the cushions, use a hard-bristled broom or cleaning brush to loosen the material before vacuuming.

  2. 2

    Fill the bucket with warm water and a squirt of mild cleaning detergent. Soak the sponge in the mixture and wipe down all surfaces of the cushions, paying particular attention to the creases, crevices and seam lines.

  3. 3

    Add 1 cup of bleach to the mixture. Spot check the colour fastness of the fabric on an underside of the cushion. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes. If no colour change is detected, wipe down all cushions with the bleach mixture. Use a small cleaning brush or tooth brush to get into the cracks, crevices and along the seam lines.

  4. 4

    Rinse cushions with a water hose on medium intensity nozzle setting.

  5. 5

    Check the cushions to see if all mildew has been removed. Spot clean any areas where mildew remains.

  6. 6

    Air dry the cushions and recheck for mildew stains. If particularly tough stains remain, scrub the spot with a strong bleach and detergent mixture. Soak stains for five to 10 minutes before scrubbing.

Tips and warnings

  • Firm-bristled tooth brushes are ideal for getting into tight areas and cleaning along seam lines.
  • Stains on seam threads are difficult to remove. Spray all-purpose bleach cleaner directly to the seams of the cushions to lift stains. Soak briefly and rinse thoroughly. If left for a long period of time, bleach can undermine the integrity of the seams by breaking down the threading.
  • Bleach and detergents drying the hands and can cause irritation. Gloves should be worn at all times.

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