How To Keep Your Outdoor Cushions And Pillows In Tip Top Shape

Many decor enthusiasts have lamented the cost of throw pillows for sprucing up your home's interior, but when it comes to outdoor cushions and pillows, that cost is often even higher — and depending on where you live, there's a good chance you'll only be able to enjoy those particular cushions and pillows for a portion of the year.

As Take a Yard explained, the higher cost has to do with the fact that anything used outdoors, from your patio furniture to accessories like cushions and pillows, needs to be able to withstand all kinds of conditions. From sunny days to rainy days and everything in between, these pieces are often out there day and night. Even if you lug your cushions and pillows in during rainstorms, they're still exposed to a ton.

Luckily, there are a few great tips and tricks that will help you keep those outdoor cushions and pillows looking as fantastic as when you first bought them — read on to learn how.

Clean before storing for the winter

Even if you leave your outdoor cushions and pillows outside all summer long, chances are when the chillier seasons arrive where you're not using your patio furniture, you toss them into storage in your garage, basement, or shed. While it may be tempting to just store them as is, for the longevity of your cushions and pillows, clean and thoroughly dry them first — as Life Storage Blog explained, any lingering dirt or grime "could degrade the fabric while it's in storage."

Bring them indoors during extreme weather

You may have picked up this particular tip from having your parents enlist your help doing it growing up, but the fact stands — one of the best ways to keep your outdoor cushions and pillows looking like new is not to allow them to get battered by rain, storms, and other extreme weather. Sure, it's a pain to lug them into a covered spot like your garage or even your house for a day or two, but as Eclipse Shading Systems said, they could get waterlogged or damaged if exposed to severe storms.

Store them in a container

Another key tip to ensure your cushions and pillows come out of storage looking fantastic — pay attention to the climate where you live. As per Life Storage Blog, in areas with high humidity, you want to opt for fabric storage bags rather than airtight containers. If you're storing them in a spot where they may be exposed to pests or moths, you may want to stick to airtight containers with moisture-absorbing packets in them for best results.

Store out of direct sunlight

Whether you opt to store your outdoor cushions and pillows in a basement, garage, shed, or alternative location, there's just one key thing to keep in mind — try to make sure they're not in the path of direct sunlight. This could be as simple as moving them away from a window. As Life Storage Blog explained, UV light can damage the fabric or cause fading, which is why you want to scope out a dark location.

Add a layer of protectant

One of the best ways to ensure your outdoor cushions and pillow stay looking great is to take preventative steps. One simple yet effective one, as Chris Loves Julia explained, is to treat the cushions with a substance like Scotchgard. There are many products on the market that can protect your items from stains, water damage, and more — and it just takes one quick coat. Sure, it may add an extra step to your process when you pull them out of storage, but it's worth it in the long run.

Spot clean stains and spills

Spills happen outdoors, and it may be tempting to wait until you can do a full clean, taking off all the cushion covers and washing them thoroughly. While there's nothing wrong with that, in order to protect the longevity of your outdoor cushions and pillows, you also want to spot clean whenever you see a stain, according to Chris Loves Julia. Not only will it prevent any stains from setting too deeply, it's also a lot less tedious than doing a full wash of the cover.

Use Velcro to keep cushions in place

Reduce the amount of wear and tear your outdoor cushions and pillows are getting by ensuring they stay in place — Velcro is a super easy and cost-effective way to do so, as Eclipse Shading Systems explained. You can simply grab a pack in your preferred hue and either fasten the cushions to your furniture or even fasten the throw pillows to your cushions. That way, everything will stay in place, but you're still able to easily move things around when needed.

Consider furniture covers

After spending a significant chunk of change on your outdoor furniture, cushions, and pillows, the last thing you likely want is to have to buy another item just to keep them protected. However, as Family Handyman reported, they can really shield your cushions and pillows from everything from UV rays to rain. Just make sure you find covers that are the right fit — not too loose, but also not too tight, lest moisture gets locked in.

Regularly remove dirt and debris

Again, prevention is vital for keeping your outdoor cushions and pillows looking fantastic — that means regularly removing dirt and debris that have made their way onto the fabric, as per Chris Loves Julia. So many leaves, flowers, or other natural elements can leave stains from things like pollen or sap, and you want to deal with them promptly. Yes, you may want to do a deep clean at the beginning or end of patio season, but you also want to keep an eye on your cushions and pillows throughout.

Invest in sun protection

While you can absolutely place your patio furniture in the sunniest area of your yard, just know that while you're soaking in those rays, so are your cushions and pillows. As Family Handyman suggested, those interested in maintaining their outdoor cushions and pillows for years to come might want to consider investing in a patio umbrella, sun shelter, or any other type of structure that provides a bit of shade.

Temporarily store cushions and pillows

We know, we know — if you've already committed to bringing in your cushions during extreme weather, this may seem like overkill. However, as Furniture Fair explained, exposure in general, even on beautiful days, impacts the lifespan of your outdoor cushions and pillows. While it's a pain to put them away every single day, consider temporarily storing them whenever possible — such as for a few busy days when you know you won't have time to relax on your patio — in order to make them last longer and stay looking like new.

Choose sun-resistant fabric

If you've already chosen your outdoor pillows and cushions, it may be too late for this tip. However, those in the market for an outdoor set — or looking to replace a worn old set — should have this tip in mind while shopping. As SFGate suggested, try to find cushions and pillows that are made from sun-resistant fabric. While they will be susceptible to wear and tear, just like everything kept outside for a majority of the time, these fabrics will withstand the sun's rays a bit longer with no extra effort on your part.

Rotate your cushions and pillows

This trick might not be possible if you have uniquely shaped cushions, but for the most part, outdoor cushions are square or rectangle shapes that are relatively interchangeable. As Elegant Outdoor Space suggested, you should try to rotate your cushions and pillows regularly. This could mean placing them in different spots, flipping them over, etc. The idea is that you want them to have even exposure to the elements and your typical seating patterns so that they get worn out equally.

If they get wet, fully dry them

If you happened to leave your outdoor cushions and pillows out during a rainstorm and return to find them completely water-logged, don't worry — they're definitely not ruined, but if you want to keep them looking amazing, you do need to take time to dry them out as much as possible. As Backyard Scape explained, you'll want to remove your cushions and pillows from the furniture and place them all in the sun to fully dry, flipping to ensure both sides are getting the sun's drying power.

Look for ones with removable covers for easier cleaning

When it comes to outdoor cushions and pillows, ones with removable covers are by far the easiest to keep clean, as per Euro Lux Patio. While you're likely not going to wrestle with all the cushions and pillows every week for a deep clean, the ability to fully remove the cover and toss it in the washing machine for a cycle is invaluable when it comes to keeping them looking like new. You do typically want to air dry the covers flat.