How To Wash Outdoor Furniture Covers

So, you’ve been enjoying your outdoor furniture all summer long, but now that autumn is here, it’s time to give those furniture covers a good cleaning before storing them away for the season. In this article, we will guide you through the simple steps of washing your outdoor furniture covers, ensuring that they stay in pristine condition for years to come. With just a little bit of time and effort, you’ll have fresh and clean covers that are ready to protect your furniture until next summer rolls around. Let’s get started on keeping your outdoor space looking its best!


Before you begin cleaning your outdoor furniture covers, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and materials. You will need a bucket, warm water, mild detergent or soap, a soft brush or sponge, a washing machine (if applicable), a pressure washer (if applicable), a stain remover (if needed), and any other cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer. It’s also crucial to read the care instructions provided with the covers to ensure you are using the correct cleaning methods and products. Lastly, remove any loose debris from the covers before starting the cleaning process, as this will make the job easier and more effective. Once you have everything you need and the covers are free from debris, you can move on to choosing a suitable location for the cleaning process.

Cleaning Methods

There are several methods you can use to clean your outdoor furniture covers, depending on their material and the level of dirt and stains. The three main methods discussed in this article are handwashing, machine-washing, and pressure washing. Each method has its own steps and considerations to ensure the best results for your covers.


Handwashing is a gentle and effective method of cleaning outdoor furniture covers, especially for delicate or sensitive materials. To handwash your covers, start by preparing a cleaning solution using warm water and mild detergent or soap. Fill a bucket with the solution and dip a soft brush or sponge into it. Using gentle circular motions, scrub the cover, paying close attention to any stains or dirtier areas. After scrubbing, make sure to rinse the covers thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Once rinsed, let the covers air dry completely before putting them back on your furniture. This method is particularly suitable for covers made of fabrics that may shrink or get damaged in a washing machine.

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If your outdoor furniture covers are machine-washable, this method can be a convenient and efficient way to clean them. However, it’s crucial to check the care instructions provided with the covers before proceeding with machine-washing. Start by removing any removable parts, such as cushions or straps, according to the instructions. Then, choose a gentle cycle and cold water setting on your washing machine. Add a mild detergent, specifically recommended for the type of fabric your covers are made of. Place the covers in the machine, making sure not to overload it. It’s important to avoid overloading to ensure thorough cleaning and to prevent excessive wear and tear on the covers. Once the machine-washing is complete, remove the covers promptly to avoid wrinkles or damage. Air drying is the preferred method, but if you need to speed up the process, you can tumble dry the covers on a low heat setting. However, be cautious not to expose them to high heat, as it can cause shrinking or other damage.

Pressure Washing

For outdoor furniture covers that are heavily soiled or have ingrained dirt and stains, pressure washing can be an effective method to restore their cleanliness. However, it’s crucial to evaluate the condition of the covers before using this method, as some materials may be prone to damage from high water pressure. First, choose an appropriate pressure washer with adjustable settings to ensure you can control the pressure according to the cover’s material. Prepare the pressure washer by attaching the appropriate nozzle or accessory for cleaning surfaces. Before applying the pressure, it’s recommended to use a mild cleaning solution, such as a mixture of water and mild detergent or a specially formulated outdoor fabric cleaner. Apply the cleaning solution to the covers and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the dirt and stains. Adjust the pressure settings on the washer to a level that is safe for the cover’s material. Working in a sweeping motion, spray the covers thoroughly, focusing on areas with visible dirt or stains. However, it’s important to avoid excessive pressure, as it can potentially damage or tear the covers. After pressure washing, allow the covers to dry completely before using or storing them.

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Stain Removal

Outdoor furniture covers are frequently exposed to various stains, including food and beverage spills, dirt and mud, and environmental elements. To effectively remove stains from your covers, it’s essential to identify the type of stain and treat it accordingly. Common stains can often be treated with simple household solutions. For example, a mixture of warm water and dish soap can be effective for removing food and beverage stains. Gently blot the stained area with the solution using a clean cloth or sponge. For more stubborn stains, such as oil or ink, you may need to use a stain remover specifically designed for the fabric of your covers. Always spot clean the affected areas rather than soaking the entire cover. Follow the specific instructions provided with the stain remover to ensure proper application and removal. Remember to test any cleaning solution or stain remover on a small, inconspicuous area of the cover first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage.

Drying and Storage

Proper drying and storage of outdoor furniture covers is essential to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. After cleaning, it’s crucial to allow the covers to dry completely before using or storing them. Excessive moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can deteriorate the fabric and cause unpleasant odors. When drying the covers, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause fading and weakening of the fabric. Instead, choose a shaded or well-ventilated area for drying. Once the covers are completely dry, you can fold or roll them neatly. This helps to minimize wrinkles and creases, ensuring they fit properly when you put them back on your furniture. It’s advisable to store the covers in a clean, dry area to protect them from dust, moisture, and pests. Consider using storage bags or containers specifically designed for outdoor furniture covers to provide an extra layer of protection.

Frequency of Cleaning

The frequency of cleaning your outdoor furniture covers will depend on several factors, including the manufacturer’s recommendations, the level of use, and the environment in which they are placed. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you clean the covers in a way that maintains their quality. Generally, it is recommended to clean the covers at least once a season to remove accumulated dirt, stains, and debris. However, in high-use areas or harsh environments with excessive dirt or exposure to elements like saltwater or heavy rain, you may need to increase the frequency of cleaning. Regular cleaning not only keeps the covers looking their best but also helps prevent the buildup of dirt and stains that can lead to permanent damage.

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Maintaining the Covers

In addition to regular cleaning, there are several maintenance practices you can follow to keep your outdoor furniture covers in optimal condition. First, make it a habit to regularly remove loose debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other outdoor debris, from the covers. This prevents the accumulation of dirt and debris, which can become embedded and cause stains or damage over time. Whenever possible, protect the covers from excessive dirt by avoiding activities that may generate dirt, such as gardening or outdoor construction work, in close proximity to the furniture. During extreme weather conditions, it’s advisable to cover or store the furniture with the covers on to provide additional protection. This is especially important during periods of heavy rain, snow, or extreme temperatures, which can accelerate wear and tear on the covers. Applying fabric protectors as recommended by the manufacturer can help repel water, prevent stains, and extend the lifespan of the covers. Lastly, regularly inspect the covers for any damages, such as loose stitching, tears, or fading. Promptly repair any issues to prevent further damage and ensure the covers continue to provide effective protection to your outdoor furniture.


In conclusion, knowing how to properly wash and maintain your outdoor furniture covers is essential to ensure their longevity and keep your outdoor living space looking clean and fresh. Whether you choose to handwash, machine-wash, or pressure wash the covers, following the correct methods and using suitable cleaning solutions will help you achieve the best results. Regular cleaning, along with proper maintenance practices, can extend the life of the covers and protect your outdoor furniture investment. By dedicating some time and effort to clean and care for your outdoor furniture covers, you can enjoy a beautiful and inviting outdoor space for years to come.

Maci Morgan Photo

Maci Morgan

We spend a lot of time on our patio. So why not have the style and decor to your own specific taste. Not only will you feel great and relieve some stress, but so will your relatives and friends when they come to visit and chill out. Small party or special events, they all will be enjoyable once you find the right patio decor.

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