Mold on Patio Cushions

Q: How do I get mold out of outdoor patio cushions?

A: There are different treatment options depending on the type of fabric the cushions are made of (polyester, cotton, etc.) and brand. If they are made by Sunbrella®, there is great cleaning information on their website, which you can check out at http://www.sunbrella.com/cleaning/upholstery.php. Note that for general mildew removal on machine launderable textiles, we recommend a solution of ¼ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water.  Items should be fully submerged for 5 minutes, and then rinsed before finishing up with a hot water wash using detergent + 3/4 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Sunbrella® recommends a more concentrated bleach solution for mildew removal, which actually matches our recommendation for mildew removal on exterior surfaces like vinyl siding.  Since Sunbrella® fabrics are 100% polyester (which has a high resistance to bleach) this makes sense. 

For non-Sunbrella® fabrics, as long as they are 100% polyester the same solution should still be suitable; I would just test a hidden part of the cushion first to be sure the fabric won't be damaged by a bleach solution.  To do that, apply add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to ¼ cup water and apply a drop of the solution to a hidden part of the cushion.  Make sure the drop soaks into the fabric.  Wait 1 minute and then blot dry.  No color change means the cushions can be safely bleached.

Has anyone else discovered mold on their outdoor furniture?  The warmer spring weather is finally letting us use our backyards and patios!

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