Storing your cushions for the winter

October 6, 2011 by Mollie

Summer is over and the cooler weather is moving in.  Once you’ve decided  your outdoor furniture season is over, we suggest some tips for storing your Sunbrella cushions for the winter.

  • Clean your cushions according to the instructions found on the Sunbrella Website.  Make sure cushions are completely dry before you store them.
  • Be sure to store in a clean, dry environment.
  • Cover or bag cushions to prevent dust and dirt from settling on cushions while they’re in storage.  Also, rodents do not consider acrylic fiber a  source of food, but would gladly use it to nest if allowed to do so.  Covering/bagging your cushions will help to keep them away.
  • Be sure not to store heavy items on top of any cushions.  Although it may not damage the fabric, it could compress the filling so that it doesn’t recover, leaving permanent or long-lasting indentations.

Before we know it, the summer months will be here again, and it will be time to bring your Sunbrella cushions back out from their winter hibernation!

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33 Responses to Storing your cushions for the winter

  1. Sue Woyat says:

    This summer I Had canopys put on my pergola. Can I leave them out all winter? I would pull them back if there is heavy snow or ice predicted. I’ve been told they will crack.

  2. Mollie says:

    Hi Sue. You can leave your Sunbrella canopy out during the winter months if you choose. Sunbrella has been tested to -40 degrees F and will not crack. The issue can become snow load, and how the fabric performs depends on the structure the fabric is on. If it is retractable, it is best to keep the fabric rolled in during the winter. If you do decide to bring in the canopy, however, we do suggest doing these cleaning steps before storing.

  3. Richard J says:

    My cushions are inside a screened porch and get minimal or no rain/snow directly onto them. We are in central NC so we get freezes and light snows occasionally but very rarely below 20F. Can I leave the cushions outside all winter or is it essential to bring them in? If left out should I cover them? It’s a lot of cushions to try and find storage for.

    Thank you

  4. Mollie says:

    Hi Richard. If your cushions are covered in a screened porch, you do not need to bring them in. If you do get a hard rain and your cushions get really wet, we would suggest turning them up on their ends with the zippers facing down to allow all the water to properly drain and prevent any mildew inside the cushion.

  5. Vicky says:

    My furnitue with sunbrella cushions sits under a wood deck so that some protection is provided, although a slanted rain or snow could reach them. Our winters get in the 30s with rare days in the 20s. Can I leave them out all winter, or use an outdoor cover or should I bring them in? Storage space is a concern.

  6. Mollie says:

    Hi Vicky. Sunbrella cushions can be left out, especially if they are not subjected to the elements. It will be important to keep them clean, as dirt and debris promotes mold growth if they get embedded in the fabric. Also, if the cushions are subjected to rain or snow, we would suggest turning them up on their ends with the zippers facing down to allow all the water to properly drain and prevent any mildew inside the cushion. Bringing in your cushions will prevent you from having to perform a regular cleaning.

  7. joan says:

    My furniture is on a covered deck and I have covers for the furniture. Our winters can get very cold in Missouri and there is a chance of blowing snow getting on the covers. Is it still safe to leave the cushions out all winter?

  8. Mollie says:

    Hi Joan. If your cushions are covered and under a covered deck, they should be fine. The only issue would be dirt getting into the fabric, which can promote mildew growth. Also, if the cushions are subjected to rain or snow, we would suggest turning them up on their ends with the zippers facing down to allow all the water to properly drain and prevent any mildew inside the cushion. Bringing in your cushions will prevent you from having to perform a regular cleaning.

  9. Carol Royse says:

    I live in Phoenix, my cushions are under a covered patio and get no direct sun. The cushions have developed a strong Oder somewhat like a BO smell. What can I do to get the Oder out of the cushion fillings?

  10. Mollie says:

    Hi Carol. If it is the filling that has an odor, we would recommend spraying with Fabreeze. If it is the fabric that has an odor, washing with soap and water should get rid of any smell.

  11. lorie says:

    I have my sunrbrella cushions stored in a dock box. I live in Michigan and was wondering if the cushions would be ok stored all winter in the dock box … Would there be any chance of mildew?

  12. Mollie says:

    Hi Lorie. Yes, storing your cushions so they are not out during the harsh winter would be a good idea, and reduce the amount of maintenance you will need to do on the cushions in the spring. Sunbrella fabric itself is inherently mold and mildew resistant, but if dirt particles get on the cushions, mildew can grow. We would suggest cleaning and completely drying your cushions before storing them in the box. We would also suggest covering them so that if any dust gets inside the box, it will not create a food source for mildew on the cushions.

  13. Brooke says:

    Hi, I have sunbrella cushions on my balcony patio furniture in New York City. I have a tiny apartment and no deck box or shed, so I really don’t have an option for storage. Is there anything I can do to protect them from the harsh winter (freezing rain/snow)? Thanks!

  14. Mollie says:

    Hi Brooke. Rain and freezing temperatures will not harm the fabric itself. However, if the cushion’s filling becomes saturated, it can be harmful to the cushion. We would recommend cleaning the cushions and letting them dry completely. Then cover them if possible with a garbage bag or clear plastic so they will be ready for the spring.

  15. BobMi says:

    Hi, I am building a new deck with benches that will fold up and plan on custom ordering bench sunbrella cushions for deck benches. Our bench seats will fold up and make a cushioned sunbella back rest with the sunbella seat cushion underneath. When folded down it will be a wood walkway and sealed from water. The back cushion will be on top of the seat cushion sealed from rain and snow. They will be exposed underneath to dew in the morning,etc. I will have 40′ of chshions -hard to store all inside. Can I leave them stored for winter underneath the bench wood top which is sealed from rain and snow? It is on the north side of home, will there be any mildew problems? The cushioned seats will see little sun and dirt since they will be only opened when we use and than folded up again. This side of roof shingles see lichens on roof.

  16. BobMi says:

    2nd questioned. Since I am just building this deck- I want to do it right for the sunbrella material. Is any deck material more suitable against the sunbrella fabric. I am designing using IPE, possibly a PVC deck material or composite?
    ANY REACTION AGAINST ANY OF THESE MATRIALS?? IS THERE A BEST MATERIAL TO PUT CUSHIONS ON?
    Cleaning and Staining of deck will be done with the sunbrella cushions removed. Note to above question 1 of mind: the cushions will be above a screened room with a vinyl ceiling which directs rain/snow to gutters below. The sunbrella cushions will be laying on top of each other not crushed below the decking boards with aluminum sheeting to direct water away and above the vinyl ceiling. I plan on using a elect. snow blower to keep snow off of deck.

  17. Amy says:

    Hi there,
    We just purchased our outdoor furniture & live in a higher humidity climate. We do not have snow or much rain, but the cushions are damp every morning & we’ve noticed they get dirty after sitting for one day & not being used. They seem to be looking dirty very quickly. Should we be covering them every day to protect them? I was hoping we would be able to just leave the cushions out unless we had rain…
    Thanks

  18. Mollie says:

    Hi Amy. Sunbrella fabrics have been tested in high humidity climates, and can be left outside. However, to reduce the need for more frequent cleaning they can be covered or brought indoors. If you choose to leave them uncovered and they do get dirt on them, we recommend brushing off the dirt before it can become embedded in the fabric. And most stains can be easily removed with a soapy water solution. For detailed information on cleaning Sunbrella fabrics, please visit http://www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/.

  19. RRoedl says:

    We live in the Phoenix area and will leave now for the summer. Is it oknto store our Sunbrella furniture in the garage , not air conditioned, or should it go in the house.

  20. Mollie says:

    Hello. Storing your furniture in the garage should not be an issue, unless there is a lot of moisture in your garage. Moisture can be a source for mildew, though mildew is easily cleanable from our fabrics. We recommend washing the fabric and letting it completely air dry before storing, and cover the furniture to prevent dust and dirt and rodents from getting to the furniture. Thanks!

  21. Mary Englund says:

    Hi. I have sunbrella cushions for a sofa and love seat that I’ve left out all winter on a covered porch. They’re dirty and look like some mice used them as a hangout. Can I take them off and put in the washer or do you recommend the handwashing method?

    Thanks.
    Mary

  22. Gene says:

    Mary, hand or machine washing is perfectly fine, but follow the guidelines posted on our web site. See http://www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/upholstery.php

  23. Pam says:

    Hi. We just purchased an outdoor sectional with sunbrella cushions. We have the sectional on our patio, but cover it when not in use although the patio is not covered. We live in Ohio, so yes we get a lot of snow. Will we have any problems with mildew? The cushions are so beautiful and I do not want to ruin them. Thank you for any advice :)

  24. Mollie says:

    Pam, though our fabrics are mold and mildew resistant, when dirt and debris get embedded in the fabric, the dirt works as a food source for mildew. Though you can leave the cushions out, they will most likely need a deep cleaning come springtime. When mold and mildew do occur, remove the cushion casings (if possible) and put in the washing machine with a mild detergent and a cup of bleach. The bleach will not harm the fabric and will remove the mildew. Then let the fabric air dry. However, to avoid doing this deep cleaning, we would recommend making sure the cushions are clean and dry and store them for the winter months.

  25. Mike Britt says:

    How do I keep my cushions from getting a musty smell? I have them stored in a Sumbrella deck box on my patio. They are dry and no water can get to them.

  26. Mike Britt says:

    They have been stored in the deck box for about 3 months and are starting to smell.

  27. Mollie says:

    Hi Mike. We have consulted our Technical Services team, and they advise that if the environment has this musty sell, cushions can take on the smell. To prevent this in the future, the best thing to do is to clean the cushions based on our cleaning instruction (found here: http://www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/upholstery.php) and let the cushions completely dry. Then store in plastic bags to keep them clean and fresh.

  28. Joy says:

    I do not like the tags hanging off of my chair cushions on my Monte Cristo set but am scared to death to tear them off. Any suggestions?

  29. Mollie says:

    Hi Joy. We sell Sunbrella fabric to companies that make things like cushions, umbrellas, etc. We just make the fabric, not the cushion itself and do not require any identification on the cushions. However, many retailers ask us to provide hang tags and sew in labels.

    Your cushions should last for many years. The sew in labels serve to remind people where to go for cleaning instructions down the road in case the cushions start to look dingy. Sunbrella fabric holds up to just about any cleaning agent you might have in your home (bleach included). Many people don’t realize this and will throw away a perfectly good cushion that just needs a good cleaning. The labels are designed for the cushion manufacturer to sew them into the seam so they won’t fall off – if you try to pull them off, you’ll rip the seam. We usually recommend the labels be put in the back of the cushion so they won’t be noticeable.

    If you would like to remove the label, the easiest thing to do is to use some steady hands to trim the label off with a razor or Exacto knife. Take your time and cut as close to the seam as you can without cutting the sewing thread. Please take appropriate safety precautions and understand this is at your own risk.

    We hope this helps!

  30. Paula says:

    Hi! When we purchased our patio furniture, we also invested in deck boxes to store the cushions when not in use. This has worked out very well…no musty smell so far. We’d like to keep it that way! We live in Ohio and are wondering if we can leave the cushions out during the winter?

  31. Mollie says:

    Hi Paula, it will not hurt the fabric to stay out through the winter, but bringing them in will reduce the need for a deep clean come springtime. Before storing them, we would recommend doing a light cleaning, let them completely air dry, and then cover them. For more information on cleaning, please visit: http://www.sunbrella.com/en_us/how/cleaning/upholstery.php.

  32. Joe says:

    Would like to store our cushions outside on an uncovered patio. We have the cushions stored in plastic bags that are sealed with wrapping tape and are also under the patio furniture covers. Is that sufficient?

  33. Mollie says:

    Hi Joe. Yes, you can leave your cushions out for the winter,and covering them will help to protect them from dirt and debris. We just recommend that you clean your cushions before storing them in bags, and be sure to let them completely air dry. They may need another light cleaning in the spring when you bring them out, as well.

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