How To Refresh Your Dirty Outdoor Cushions With Fabric Dye

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Outdoor furniture is a staple for decorating your deck or patio, but over time, those cushions can start to look dingy, especially if they're a light color. If you want a fresh look without buying a new furniture set, you can dye your cushion covers. By choosing a darker color, your seats will look brand new, and won't appear as dirty moving forward as they sit outside.

Since most outdoor furniture is made from synthetic fabrics, choosing a dye made for synthetic blends or polyester is important. While this trick can be time-consuming, it will cost less than replacing your outdoor seating. All you need to start is a pot large enough to fit your cushions (about 10 gallons), fabric dye, dish soap, and tongs. It's also good to have rubber gloves and a plastic table cover to protect your skin and your counters from being stained.

Before dyeing your cushion covers, make sure to wash them. Pre-washing your fabric removes any protective finishing that could prevent the dye from fully setting in. After they're washed, there's no need to dry them since your fabric will need to be damp anyway.

How to dye outdoor cushion covers

To start, cover your counters and fill your pot with 8 to 9 gallons of water, placing it on the stove over high heat. Since synthetic materials like polyester are more difficult to dye than fabrics like cotton, it's crucial to maintain a simmer throughout the dyeing process. You can also add a teaspoon of dish soap to help your fabric dye evenly. Cover the pot and wait for it to reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or just below boiling. Once the water is hot enough, dump in your dye of choice, stir, and lower your damp fabric into the pot. It's important to note that you'll need to check the recommended amount of dye for however much fabric you're using (If you choose Rit Dye, it's about 1 bottle per 1 pound of fabric).

Once your cushion covers are soaking on the stove, continue stirring them with your tongs until they're the color you want, but remember that they will look lighter once they're dry. This may take more than 30 minutes. After you remove them from the dye, ring them out, rinse them in cold water until it runs clear, and wash them with warm water and detergent in your washing machine. Lay them flat or hang them to dry to prevent shrinking.

Protecting your freshly dyed cushions

Since the washing and dyeing process will remove the protective finish from your outdoor cushions, they might become susceptible to the elements. It's possible that they could become bleached or stained once they're back on your patio. If you don't take steps to protect them from sunlight, spills, and rain, your beautiful dye will fade. Luckily, there are sprays made to keep outdoor fabrics safe from UV rays and water, like Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield, which can be found on Amazon for $10.

If you happen to spill something on your newly dyed furniture, make sure to clean it up quickly. Use a dry cloth to dab the spill (rubbing it can push the stain into the fabric.) Then wash it with warm water and dish soap. Make sure to rinse as much of the soap as possible after cleaning.

Now you can enjoy your outdoor furniture in whatever color you wish without worrying about fading or staining, and your patio will look refreshed!