Is It Smart to Leave Outdoor Cushions in the Rain?

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We invest in our outdoor furniture and hope that it’ll look stylish and withstand the test of time. Our patio or backyard area is the place where we can host gatherings with others, or simply kick up our feet to relax.

So, it’s important to make sure that our outdoor furniture is clean, comfy, and chic. Choosing the right cushions and pillows makes a big difference in this matter.

Maintaining the quality of our outdoor furniture also includes taking care of our cushions. You might have plenty of questions in how to maintain your outdoor cushions.

But, one of the most common questions is “can you leave outdoor cushions in the rain?” In this article, you’ll find a detailed answer to your question.

Let’s get started!

Can You Leave Outdoor Cushions in the Rain?

It’s okay to leave your outdoor cushions in rain drizzles or little rainfall. However, it’s not recommended to expose them to large amounts of water, especially without drying them afterwards.

The reason for that is that moisture creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth, which can ruin your cushions.

Even if your outdoor cushions are water-resistant, they’re still not completely waterproof. They still can get wet and hold on to moisture.

Besides that, during heavy rainstorms, the water can be mixed with dirt and other elements. In this case, it won’t be only a matter of getting wet, but also the cushions may become dirty and stained.

How to Dry a Wet Couch Cushion Fast

Let’s be honest, we’re not always on top of every chore in our house, including taking care of our outdoor furniture.

So, even if we usually do our best to protect our outdoor cushions, there comes a time when we forget to cover them or bring them inside during rainstorms.

In this case, it’s crucial to make sure to properly dry the cushions if we really want them to maintain their quality over time.

Here are some tips on how to dry a wet couch cushion fast:

Expose Them to Sunlight

The best way to dry outdoor cushions is to place them in an area with plenty of sunlight. This won’t only dry them thoroughly, but it can also kill any mildew or stinky odor that might have already accumulated.

If possible, try to wring them out with your hands to squeeze as much water as you can out of them.  Monitor the weather to ensure they won’t be rained on while trying to dry them.

Don’t forget to turn the cushions frequently to make sure that all sides are properly dried. 

If you’re drying them on a hot sunny day, they shouldn’t take much until they’re fully dried. In contrast, they might take a couple of days to completely dry up on colder days.

A pro tip for you here is to stand your cushions on their sides. This helps the water to drain out faster than leaving the cushions lying flat.

Use a Wet/Dry Utility Vacuum

A wet/dry utility vacuum can help speed up the drying process of your cushions. You can also use a handheld steamer as an alternative.

Unlike the previous methods, this method requires some labor time from you to dry the cushions.

You can use the shop vac or the steamer first to extract any excess water. Then, you can clean any stains with mild soap and rinse with clean water.

For stubborn stains, try to follow up again with the shop vac or steamer. So, you’re not only drying your cushions, but you’re also giving them a deep clean.

Increase the Air Circulation

Find an area with the best air circulation. If you’re going to dry them outdoors, make sure to place them in a dry, well-ventilated area. 

However, if you can bring them inside, you have two options to increase air circulation in a room to speed up the drying process.

First, you can place the cushions in a room with an open window to let in fresh air. If you have a room with two opposite windows, open one entirely and have the other one slightly opened.

This creates a strong crosswind to help speed up the drying process of your cushions. Keep in mind that this method depends on the weather.

So, if the weather isn’t helping, you can use fans to create the air circulation that we need. Placing your cushions underneath a ceiling fan is the best in this case.

A standing or desk fan can also do the job. But, make sure to direct it on the cushions. If you have two fans, place one on each side of the cushions for a stronger crosswind.

Wash Your Cushions

We know this might sound counterproductive since we’re talking about how to dry the cushions. But, washing them in the washing machine will clean them and squeeze out the excess water.

This will help speed up the drying process, besides cleaning your cushions of any stain or unwanted bacteria growth. Using fabric detergent works well in this situation.

After washing your cushions, you can let them dry in a well-ventilated area or in direct sunlight.

Don’t attempt to dry your cushions in the dryer. It will definitely dry up your cushions in no time, but will also damage them.

How to Protect Outdoor Cushions From the Rain

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Instead of leaving your outdoor cushions in the rain until they’re soaking wet, it’s better to be prepared from the beginning.

There are several things you can do to protect your outdoor cushions from the rain:

Store Them Indoors

The easiest and cheapest way to protect your outdoor cushions from the rain is by storing them inside.

If you know that there’s a threat of rain or frost, take a few minutes to bring them indoors. 

Yes, your outdoor furniture will be left with no cushions. But, no one will probably be sitting on them when it’s pouring outside. When the weather is clear again, you can bring them back out. 

It’s recommended to store your outdoor cushions inside all through the winter, especially if you experience frequent rain and snow threats. As spring rolls around, you can consider bringing them back outdoors.

However, you need to choose a suitable place to store your outdoor cushions indoors. Climate-controlled spaces are the best for this purpose to prevent mold and bacterial growth.

Avoid storing them in your garage since it’s usually not well-ventilated. It can be humid there, which makes the conditions perfect for mold growth.

Use Patio Furniture Covers

A patio furniture cover is a good way to protect your outdoor cushions from harsh weather elements including rain, frost, and even UV rays.

This option is great for everyone, especially those who don’t have enough space in their houses for storing their outdoor cushions.

Outdoor furniture covers come in many types and sizes. It’s important to measure your patio furniture first before making a purchase. You don’t want to end up with the wrong cover size.

In addition, we recommend getting a cover that is waterproof and also UV-resistant. The waterproof feature will help keep your cushions dry during rainstorms without a tear or leak.

The UV-resistance feature adds to the durability of the cover so it can withstand sunlight exposure without wearing off. 

Just make sure you take the cover off every now and then to drain the water off of it and maybe even clean it. They can also accumulate moisture over time which encourages mold and bacteria growth.

Unfortunately, many of these covers do have limited lifespan.  After several seasons they may develop tears, which will require replacement.

Store Them in Waterproof Deck Boxes

Another option for protecting your outdoor cushions from rain and other weather elements is to store them in deck boxes. These boxes can be installed right next to your outdoor furniture.

Don’t worry; there are plenty of deck boxes out there. You’ll be able to find one that looks chic next to your outdoor furniture.

This way you can store the cushions easily in the deck box without dragging them inside the house or worrying about them getting wet from the rain.

However, when looking for a suitable deck box, it’s important to look for one that is waterproof. From the start our main goal is to protect our outdoor cushions from the rain.

In addition, make sure that it can be easily locked up without allowing water to seep through.

Apply Waterproof Spray

Waterproof sprays can add to the water-resistance ability of your cushions, but their name is a bit misleading. Waterproof sprays won’t actually make them completely waterproof.

It’s best to use them to protect your outdoor cushions from morning dew or light rain. Keep in mind that waterproof sprays might darken the color of your outdoor cushions a bit besides making them shinier.

Fabric protective sprays like this aren’t magic but they do help with protecting your cushions. Plus, they also work as stain-resistant sprays, which is even more useful.

Position Patio Furniture Under an Awning

Simply placing the patio furniture under an awning, pavilion or other structure with roof is also a decent way to keep the cushions protected from rain.  

While it’s inevitable that the furniture may still see some exposure to rain, the roof should help keep them from totally getting soaked.

Although the protection from rain is nice, the largest benefit is that you’ll also have shade while lounging on those dry cushions.

Final Takeaway

Now you know that leaving your outdoor cushions in the rain isn’t ideal. However, you can always reduce the consequences of this mistake by properly drying them as we mentioned above.

We recommend protecting your cushions from the rain from the beginning, rather than letting them get soaking wet. This will save you plenty of time trying to clean and dry your cushions.

Aside from rain, there are also benefits in not keeping your patio cushions outside overnight that you may want to consider.

Happy (Dry) Lounging!

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