How To Get Mildew Out Of Patio Cushions In 3 Easy Steps

There are two ways on how to get mildew out of patio cushions, and we’ll tackle the most accessible one, which is using vinegar. 


how to get mildew out of patio cushions

How Does Mildew Develop On Patio Cushions?

Mildew and mold grow the same way, or they need the same conditions to develop. The requirements are moisture, food source, appropriate temperature, and oxygen. 

The last two criteria are not that difficult to meet for these fungi. The first two are the only ones that need a specific circumstance, like dust accumulation or water damage. 

Water damage results in mold and mildew contamination. It also leads to a lesser resale value of your house if not attended immediately. 

You may be familiar with indoor water damage, but it can also occur outside your home. Outdoor water damage may be due to storms, problems with gutter drainage, and yard leaks.

As for the food source criterion, your home is more prone to fungi’s food sources outside. Examples of possible food sources for mildew and mold are tree saps and organic debris (e.g., dirt, leaves, etc.). 

Mildew spores do not require much time to grow. At maximum, they need forty-eight hours to grow, but they often take less time. 

The cushions’ material makes it easier to develop fungi since they are absorbent and located outside. The chances of them acquiring mildew or mold become greater with lesser time spent on maintaining them. 


How To Detect Mildew On Patio Cushions?

One way to detect mildew is through the damp smell they exude due to microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC). MVOCs are primarily due to water damage, which is why water damage is detrimental to your household.

If you catch on a musty smell when you sit on your patio, thoroughly inspect it for mildew growth. It can appear either powdery or downy. 

Here’s an article that may help you differentiate powdery from downy mildew. Seeing powdery or downy growth on your patio cushions is another way to detect this type of fungus. 

Aside from the powdery or downy texture, you can also detect mildew by identifying the conditions it grows in, like water damage or food source. For water damage, water stains within the vicinity of or on the patio cushions can be a sign of mildew growth. 

You could also identify mildew growth from the presence of organic debris or tree saps within the vicinity of or on the patio cushions. These are just some of the ways you can detect mildew growth on your patio cushions, which, in turn, can help you remove the fungus. 


Steps In Getting Mildew Out Of Patio Cushions


Step #1. Determine the extent of mildew contamination

Before you start cleaning and removing the mildew from your patio cushions, you have to determine the extent of the contamination. This is because the ideal way of eliminating the fungi depends on the amount of mildew growth and if it has penetrated the material. 

After determining the extent of mildew contamination, you can choose the solution that would best work on your concern. 


Step #2. Choose a solution

For mild cases, you can use undiluted white vinegar. For extreme cases, opt for a pressure washer. 

Also, before taking care of the mildew problem, be sure to put on protective gear. Put on long sleeves, a pair of gloves, a mask, and goggles to prevent mildew exposure. 

Otherwise, you may get skin allergies or respiratory issues from mildew exposure. 


Step #3. Using vinegar

Do not immediately use bleach as it may be too harsh on the material, use vinegar instead. It is an effective disinfectant and odor-repellent; hence it won’t only remove the mildew growth but also the scent it may leave behind. 


Step #3.1. Materials

If you plan on using vinegar, you would need a bottle of vinegar, a clean spray bottle, and a brush. You would also need a washing machine to wash the cushion covers. 


Step #3.2. The cleaning process

After putting on protective gear, remove the cushion covers, if possible. Then, throw them in a washing machine with a mixture of fabric softener and a cup of vinegar. 

This process would help remove the mildew on the covers without much effort since you’re washing them using a machine. Ensure that the fabric is amenable to machine wash; otherwise, opt to handwash the material. 

After that, pour undistilled white vinegar into the spray bottle, then spray it on the cushion. Make sure you get all sides of the cushion sprayed with vinegar. 

Then, leave the vinegar-sprayed cushion for an hour. After that, scrub the cushions to loosen the mildew and rinse it with warm water. 

Avoid saturating the cushion with water as it may lead to future fungi growth. Dry the cushions thoroughly and spray some vinegar from time to time for maintenance purposes. 



Mildew on outdoor objects isn’t uncommon, but it should not be left alone. This article on how to get mildew out of patio cushions serves as a guide for you. 

We have more of these, from how to prevent mildew from outdoor cushions to how to remove mildew from outdoor cushions. All of which can be useful in removing and preventing fungi growth.

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