How Salt Can Get Musty Odors Out Of Your Outdoor Furniture Cushions

Sometimes it's the oldest remedies, passed down over generations, that still work the best to clean up spills, eradicate stains, or eliminate odors from our household. And so it is with salt. Despite decades of advancements and chemical innovation to create new and better ways to clean and deodorize our outdoor patio cushions, the age-old trick of using the natural absorption powers of good ole' sodium chloride — also known as table salt – to freshen up fabrics can't be beat.

Areas with excess moisture may house organisms such as mold with smelly potential but salt is a simple combination of minerals that absorb moisture from their surroundings. (Think of the way the salty ocean water dries out your skin or how a bag of potato chips parches your mouth.) Odor elimination is such a tried-and-true fact of the product that even Morton Salt lists several ways to use it in this capacity on its website. So if musty odors are clinging to your patio cushions, you might want to reach into your kitchen cabinets for some salt before you resort to using harsher chemicals.

How to use salt on smelly outdoor cushions

While your outdoor seating cushions and throw pillows can be tossed in the laundry, if that option isn't available to you, you can simply freshen up your cushions with a bit of salt. To find out if you can launder these items, simply check the tags for care instructions.

Sprinkle salt liberally over your cushions and pillows, or anywhere odors are lingering. If the salt isn't staying where you want it, rolling off the curves of the stuffed cushions, you can add a little water to the salt to make a light paste, then gently dab this on with a damp cloth in the stinkiest spots. This has to sit for a number of hours to allow enough time for the salt to absorb the odors at play. After four to six hours have passed, you can use the upholstery tool or crevice wand vacuum attachment to remove all the salt from the surface of the cushions, and the odors should be pulled away right along with it.

Precautions to take when cleaning and deodorizing with salt

Salt is an extremely versatile household product, but there are some things it can be too abrasive for. When deodorizing your outdoor cushions with salt, it's best to remove the cushions from their furniture in order to deodorize them, simply because the salt can pit, abrade, or even discolor the various other materials the furniture is made from — even rust-resistant aluminum. Salt residue can leave staining and pitting on surfaces after extended exposure, which obviously you want to take pains to avoid.

Additionally, you can attempt to add to the salt's disinfecting and deodorizing properties by mixing it with lemon juice. Whether or not you choose to add lemon, however, for best results, always err on the side of caution and test a small area first so you don't potentially ruin anything. Taking a bit of precaution will ensure the safe use of these products and the preservation of your possessions.