How to Wash Outdoor Cushion Covers in a Washing Machine

Washing Outdoor Cushion Covers in a Washing Machine

Outdoor cushion covers are exposed to the elements, dirt, and stains, making regular cleaning essential for their longevity and appearance. While hand-washing is a common method, using a washing machine can save time and effort. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps to wash outdoor cushion covers in a washing machine effectively. From understanding fabric types to selecting the right detergent and adjusting water temperature, we've got you covered.

Understanding Fabric Types

Outdoor cushion covers come in various fabric types, including polyester, acrylic, and Sunbrella. It's crucial to identify the fabric of your cushion covers as each requires different care. Check the manufacturer's label or consult the retailer if unsure.

Preparing for the Wash

Remove the cushion covers from the cushions and unzip any removable covers. Shake off loose dirt or debris and pretreat stains if necessary. It's recommended to wash cushion covers individually or in small loads to prevent tangling.  We have used Dawn dishwashing liquid in the past for stubborn stains.  You can also use liquid laundry detergent and let it soak in to the stained area before putting in the machine.

Selecting the Right Detergent

Choose a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that may damage the fabric. For an eco-friendly option, consider using a plant-based detergent.

Adjusting Water Temperature

Check the care label for specific water temperature recommendations. In general, a cold or lukewarm water setting is suitable for most fabric types. Hot water may cause shrinkage or color fading.

Washing Procedures for Different Fabric Types


Turn the cushion cover inside out to protect the vibrant side. Place it in the washing machine and add the appropriate amount of detergent. Select the gentle or delicate cycle and run the machine. Avoid using fabric softeners as they may affect water repellency.


Follow the same steps as for polyester. However, acrylic fabrics are more delicate, so it's important to choose a gentle cycle and lower spin speed to prevent stretching or damage.


Sunbrella fabric is highly durable and can withstand machine washing. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but generally, use a mild detergent, gentle cycle, and cold water. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners.

Drying Your Clean Cushion Covers

After washing, remove the cushion covers promptly from the washing machine. Shake them gently to remove excess water and hang them to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading. Alternatively, you can tumble dry on low heat if the care label permits.

Additional Tips for Maintenance and Care

  • Spot clean stains promptly to avoid deep-set stains.
  • Regularly brush off dirt and debris from cushion covers.
  • Apply fabric protectors or waterproofing sprays to enhance water repellency.
  • Store cushion covers in a dry, well-ventilated area during prolonged periods of non-use.

Washing outdoor cushion covers in a washing machine can effectively remove dirt and stains, keeping them fresh and prolonging their lifespan. By understanding the fabric types, selecting the right detergent, adjusting water temperature, and following specific washing procedures, you can maintain the beauty and durability of your outdoor cushion covers. Remember to air dry or tumble dry on low heat, and follow additional maintenance tips for optimal care. With these guidelines, your outdoor cushion covers will remain clean, vibrant, and ready to enhance your outdoor living experience.