How do you clean mildew on fabric cushions?

Mildew---a fungus---is a form of mould that thrives on damp surfaces in areas with high humidity that are void of sunlight. Mildew, typically black or white in colour, can grow on a variety of surfaces, including fabric cushions. Mildew will stain the cushions and give off an unpleasant musty odour. But if you act quickly, you can remove the mildew from a fabric cushion before the stain sets in.

Remove the fabric cushions from the furniture. Take the cushions outside and dust off as much mildew as possible from the surface.

Mix 1/2 cup of borax with 2 cups of hot water until the borax is thoroughly dissolved into the water. Alternatively, mix equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.

Saturate a sponge in the mixture. Scrub the mildew on the fabric cushions until it is no longer visible.

Dampen a clean cloth in cool water. Rinse the fabric cushion by wiping with the cloth.

Blot the cushion with a dry towel to absorb excess liquid. Allow the fabric cushion to air-dry out of direct sunlight.


Test the mildew removal method on an inconspicuous area of the fabric cushion. If damage or discolouration occurs, discontinue use. An alternative cleaning method---if the fabric cover can be removed from the cushion---is to launder it as you normally would, except add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash.

Things You'll Need

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Towel
  • White vinegar
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About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.