Relaxing outdoors is a great way to unwind. Investing in comfortable furniture cushions makes it even better. It is important to know how to store patio cushions to ensure your investment is well looked after. This will allow you to enjoy it for years to come.
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, if not correctly stored in the off-season, patio cushions can become moldy, musty, and full of mildew.
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.
What is the best way to store outdoor cushions?
The best way to store outdoor cushions is to completely clean and dry the material. Then, wrap the cushions in a protective layer before storing them in a dry, climate-controlled environment. Cushions should be stored during winter or heavy rain.
With this guide, you will learn how to store patio cushions properly in winter. From tips on cleaning, wrapping, and finding a dry and rodent-free storage location, ensure your cushions maintain the best condition.
1. Follow Proper Cleaning Practices
Cleaning is often 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. It’s not advisable to put already dirty items away without a thorough cleaning.
The best way to store patio cushions is when the material is clean and dry. Take the time to clean and dry your patio cushions before the winter season. The fabric could degrade from dirt, pollen, or moisture during storage.
The steps for how to clean patio cushions vary depending on the material. “Different materials on your outdoor cushions will have different washing instructions, some you’ll be able to hose down in the garden, and others you’ll need to put on a delicate wash,” explains Simon Barker, co-founder of Grow Your Yard. There are general best practices you can follow when cleaning.
How To Clean 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. Spray white vinegar or a mixture of bleach and water on the stain. Test a small patch of fabric first to ensure it doesn’t discolor or stain the fabric.
- Rinse the suds thoroughly with the hose and air dry the cushion on a warm, 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.
Once the cushions have been cleaned, waterproof the fabric before storing the cushions. Even if you have water-resistant outdoor cushions, re-treat them every couple of years. Purchase a waterproofing spray and use it as directed. Test a spot to evaluate how it interacts 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 while in storage. If they do, dry them thoroughly as soon as possible before mold and mildew can grow. There are general tips to remember when picking out a patio cushion cover or storage box.
Patio Furniture Cushion Storage Ideas:
- Airtight containers. If you don’t plan on storing the cushions for an extended period, you can keep patio cushions in airtight containers. Ideally, the fabric should breathe, but the airtight containers ensure no moths or pests get to the material. Ensure the cushions have no moisture before putting them in the bin. Place moisture-absorbing packets inside the containers to stay safe.
- Fabric storage bags. If you live in an area with high humidity, storing cushions in an airtight container isn’t the best option. The outside humidity can transfer to the inside of the container, and that moisture could get trapped, risking damage. Instead, opt for breathable fabric bags so the air can move through the cushions and not get stuck. Try to maintain climate control inside the room by using a dehumidifier.
- Tarps or sheets. Use a tarp or sheets to wrap the cushions together to deter rodents. The extra fabric acts as an additional barrier of protection. This is a great option if you are storing items in a hurry or don’t want to purchase storage bags. If the humidity is very high, use sheets over a plastic tarp. The sheets will allow for better circulation than a tarp.
3. Store Outdoor Cushions in a Dry Location
Outdoor cushions are made to withstand the elements. However, they are still susceptible to mold and mildew if they are left or stored outside or in a damp area. Select a dry environment with a consistent temperature and humidity.
“While storing cushions indoors is better, sometimes you have no choice but to store them outdoors when not in use,” advises Jena Scolum from Backyard Scape. “Keeping them out of the elements as much as possible will prolong their life expectancy.”
Where Should You Store Patio Cushions?
Patio cushions should be stored in a dry, indoor location. 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. A finished basement is likely drier, and the air quality is more consistent.
Below are some more ideas to help you determine the best storage options for outdoor cushions in the off–season.
Outdoor Cushion Storage Ideas:
- Keep the cushions at least six inches off the ground. The ground of a basement or garage holds moisture, and that moisture can transfer to your cushions. Pests are also more likely to get into your cushions if they are on the ground. Use a pallet, table, or shelf to keep cushions lifted.
- Choose a dry, cool environment. Consider keeping the cushion inside an interior closet or renting a climate-controlled storage unit. If you must keep your cushion inside a shed or garage, store the cushion inside a breathable deck box.
- Keep cushions out of direct sunlight, if possible. Storing cushions outside is not recommended, but if you must, keep them under some type of shelter. Keep the cushions away from the windows. UV light can cause the fabric to fade.
Related: How to Store Wine Properly at Home
Can You Leave Outdoor Cushions Outside Overnight?
To protect the material of your patio cushions, it is a good idea to bring them indoors overnight. You can also place them inside an outdoor storage bench. There’s no need to do a complete deep clean or wrap them. This practice prevents the cushions from trapping moisture from morning dew, protects them from rain, and deters pests.
By following proper practices for storing patio cushions, you protect enjoyment for years. Plus, you avoid investing in new patio furniture each year. It’s a win all around.
This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on 10/7/19 and was revised on 4/27/23 to provide new information.