Outdoor cushions are constructed to withstand some wear and tear. Most of the time, the fabric, stitching, and fillers are more durable than indoor cushions. However, patio furniture can become moldy, musty, and full of mildew if it isn’t appropriately stored in the offseason. Or worse yet, the cushion could become pest infested. Rats and spiders can make a home inside your cushion, or moths could eat holes in the fabric.
Learn how to store patio cushions the right way and find an appropriate storage location that is dry and rodent-free. This guide will show you how to store patio cushions, so they stay looking and smelling like new.
For starters, we will discuss the three facets of storing outdoor cushions: cleaning, wrapping, and storing. Each step will ensure that your cushions are waterproof, bugproof, and smell proof. Then we will explore some smart storage ideas that will work even if you’re limited on space.
1. Wash the cushions and then dry them thoroughly.
Cleaning is probably the most underrated step when it comes to storing items during the winter. As the seasons quickly change, many people rush around and toss dirty outdoor gear into storage. Things will inevitably get dirty while they are in storage, but that isn’t a reason to skip this step.
It’s essential to take some time to clean and dry your patio cushions before the winter. Even if you keep your outdoor cushions out of the rain, any dirt, pollen, or moisture could degrade the fabric while it’s in storage.
How you clean an outside cushion depends on the fabric and whether or not the exterior is removable. These steps will walk you through various types of cushion fabrics and best practices.
How to clean and waterproof fabric cushions:
- Remove the cushions from the base and use a broom to sweep off any leaves, dirt, and debris.
- Check the tag for manufacturer cleaning instructions and follow them.
- Toss removable cushion covers in the washing machine and allow them to air dry.
- If the covers can’t be removed, scrub the exterior fabric with a soft cleaning brush using a mild detergent.
- Take extra care removing any stains or signs of mold or mildew by spraying on some white vinegar or a mixture of bleach and water. Be sure to test a small patch of fabric first.
- Rinse the suds thoroughly with the hose and air dry the cushion on a hot, sunny day. Drying the fabric in the sun will help to disinfect the fabric and remove any odors. Never store a slightly damp patio cushion. Make sure that every section is dry regardless of your cleaning method.
- Waterproof the fabric before storing the cushions. Even if you bought outdoor cushions that have moisture proofing built into the material, you should re-treat them every couple of years. Purchase a waterproofing spray and follow the directions. Be sure to test a spot before treating the entire cushion.
2. Choose an appropriate container or wrapping for storage.
The main goal for outdoor pillow storage is to keep moisture and pests out. Outdoor cushions should not get wet, and if they do, they should be dried out thoroughly as soon as possible before mold and mildew have a chance to grow.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind when picking out a patio cushion cover or storage box.
Patio cushion storage ideas:
- Airtight containers. You can keep patio cushions in airtight containers if you don’t plan on storing the cushions for an extended period. Ideally, the fabric should breathe, but the airtight containers will be sure no moths or pests get to the material. Just be sure the cushions have no moisture before putting them in the bin. Put in some moisture-absorbing packets inside the containers.
- Fabric storage bags. If you live in an area with high humidity, storing cushions in an airtight container is a mistake. The outside humidity can transfer to the inside of the container, and that moisture could get trapped and cause issues. In this case, opt for breathable fabric bags so that the air can move through the cushions and not get stuck. Try to control the humidity inside the room by using a dehumidifier.
- Tarps or blankets. Use a tarp, sheets, or a drop cloth to wrap the cushions together when you’re storing them in a garage or other area that could have rodent visitors. The extra fabric will act as an additional barrier of protection and will work if you don’t want to purchase storage bags. Use sheets over a plastic tarp if the humidity is very high. The sheets will allow the air to circulate better than if you use a tarp.
3. Store outdoor cushions in a dry location.
As we mentioned in the intro, outdoor cushions are made to withstand the elements. However, they are still susceptible to mold and mildew if they are stored outside or in a damp area. The location you choose makes the most significant difference when storing outdoor cushions. Ideally, you want to select a dry environment that maintains a consistent temperature and humidity.
If you have the choice between storing cushions in a garage or a finished basement, opt for the finished basement. A garage’s temperature and humidity levels are constantly fluctuating due to the door opening and closing. On the other hand, a finished basement is likely drier, and the air quality is more consistent.
Below are some more ideas to help you figure out the best place for your cushions in the offseason.
Outdoor cushion storage tips:
- Keep the cushions off the ground. No matter where you store cushions, make sure you keep them at least six inches off the ground. The ground of a basement or garage holds moisture, and that moisture can transfer to your cushions. Also, pests are more likely to get into your cushions if they are on the ground. Use a pallet, table, or shelf to lift the cushions.
- Choose a dry, cool environment. Do whatever you can to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity. This could mean keeping the cushion inside an interior closet or renting a climate-controlled storage unit. If you must keep your cushion inside a shed, store the cushion inside a breathable deck box.
- If possible, keep cushions out of direct sunlight. We never recommend storing cushions outside, but if you must, keep them under some type of shelter. Also, keep the cushions away from the windows. The UV light can cause the fabric to fade and become compromised.
Patio cushions should be cleaned before they are put in storage. Once dry, wrap the cushions in a fabric bag or put them in an airtight container. Keep the cushions off the ground and in a dry environment that doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Good luck!