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How and Where to Store Outdoor Patio Cushions

Learning how to store outdoor patio cushions significantly enhances your outdoor space without adding a lot of time to your fall maintenance routine.

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Wooden armchairs with cushions on a covered patio during a snowfalljockermax/Getty Images

Can Patio Cushions Stay Outdoors All Year?

No, patio cushions should not stay outside all year, unless the weather in your area is usually dry. If you live in Arizona with a year-round outdoor pool, your cushions will only need the occasional cleaning, but they may fade more quickly from constant sun exposure.

Conversely, “if rainfall is frequent where you live, you should keep them sneaked away inside a shed or storage closet of some kind,” says Kate Diaz, founder of Swanky Den. Exposure to moisture can degrade cushion fillings over time and encourage mold growth.

Here’s how to clean and store outdoor patio cushions to make them last.

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Scotchbrite Grill Padsvia

Clean Patio Cushions

Before putting your cushions away for the season, give them a thorough cleaning. Be sure to check the care label and clean your patio cushions accordingly.

Typically, patio cushion “exterior covers are made of nylon, polyester, and other plastic-based and plastic-treated fabrics,” says Darla DeMorrow, a certified professional organizer, owner of HeartWork Organizing and author of the best-selling book series SORT and Succeed.

The first step is brushing off dirt and debris. DeMorrow recommends using ScotchBrite grill pads,  which she calls “one of the best tools I’ve found for gently cleaning cushions by brushing off.” Use a light touch, she says, then wash the cushions according to the label. Let your cushions dry completely before putting them in storage.

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Outdoor Patio Cushion Covervia

Outdoor Cushion Storage Cover

Diaz also recommends purchasing covers to protect outdoor items from grime and dirt. Outdoor furniture covers are an especially good choice for cushions attached to the furniture. Unless you have a large shed or basement, bringing the entire patio set inside isn’t feasible. Here are a few tips for cleaning outdoor furniture.

Covers help in winter and summer. They’ll protect your cushions from storms while you’re on vacation, and to shield them from dirt or damage, like paint drips from an outdoor project.

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Outdoor Storage Benchvia

Outdoor Storage Bench

An outdoor storage bench is another great option for patio cushion storage. With easy storage within reach, you can put your cushions away after each use. Besides protecting cushions from winter weather, this will help them stay clean during heavy pollen or dusty periods. The storage bench also provides extra seating.

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Building a cheap shedFamily Handyman

Storage Shed

If you need storage space for more than a few patio cushions, building a shed might be a worthwhile project — and it doesn’t have to be expensive. This shed building plan makes the most efficient use of materials to keep costs as low as possible without sacrificing quality. The result is a cute addition to your yard with plenty of storage.

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Garage Patio Cushion Storage Shelvesvia

Garage Patio Cushion Storage Shelves

A shelf in the garage is one of the simplest ways to store outdoor patio cushions. It gets them out of the elements in 10 minutes or less. These storage shelves would also work in a basement, but the walk downstairs might add a few minutes to the chore.

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Plastic Storage Totesvia

How To Store Patio Cushions the Pest-Free Way

“One of the best tips for storing your patio cushions is to get a container that will seal tight,” Diaz says. Plastic storage totes are one example. Your outdoor cushions will be protected from dust and pests in these handy bins, and they prevent curious cats from knocking everything off the shelf. You can store the bins in a garage, basement or enclosed porch.

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Extra Large Waterproof Storage Ziploc Bagsvia

Waterproof Storage Bags

Another airtight patio cushion storage solution is an extra-large Ziploc bag. Although compression bags save space, a regular waterproof bag is the better option. “Some lower-quality cushion foam may not bounce back after a season of compression,” DeMorrow says.

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Thompsons Fabric Seal Sprayvia

Waterproof Cushions

All your storage efforts will be for naught if the cushions were damaged over the summer. Before putting them back outdoors, DeMorrow recommends treating them with waterproofing sprays such as like Thompson’s Fabric Seal or 3M Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield. This extra step goes a long way toward making your patio cushions last.

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Mikayla Borchert
Mikayla is an assistant editor for Family Handyman, specializing in indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. She has one cat and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she likes running, skiing, hiking and tending her balcony garden.