To answer this question, first, you have to understand what power washing is. Power washing is the technique of using heated high-pressure water to clean a surface. It is different from pressure washing because pressure washing does not use heated water.
So, yes you can power wash patio cushions. However, most homeowners do not recommend this technique because it degrades the quality of outdoor cushions. But if your cushions have been covered it is the best method. This technique removes food residues, molds & mildew, and other stubborn stains like chewing gum/grease.
How to Power Wash Outdoor Cushions
Below is a procedure of how to power wash patio cushions that do not have cushion covers. It is a delicate procedure that requires you to be careful with the temperature of the water and the amount of pressure. Also, mind the pressure gun distance. (Keep the pressure gun 2 feet away from the patio cushion).
What you need
- Pressure machine
- Four gallons of water (the amount water also depends on the number of patio cushions)
- Ordinary washing detergent (powder or liquid)
- Hand brush
- Vinegar/alcohol/chlorine bleach
- Two buckets or tanks if you have many patio cushions
- A small piece of wood
Heat up two gallons of water and pour it into one of the buckets. Add three tablespoons of ordinary detergent to the bucket of hot/warm water. Use the small piece of wood to mix up the solution. Tap the water until bubbles form.
Dip the input pipe of the pressure machine in the soapy water. Before you turn on the pressure machine, lay all patio cushions on a clean concrete surface. Or on a clean plastic mat. Or a clean metallic plain sheet. Or a clean plastic sheet. Avoid the grass or bare ground because it will make the job harder.
Now turn on the pressure machine and hold the gun at a distance of 2 feet off the cushions. Regulate the pressure to be in the range of low and moderate. High pressure will destroy your wonderful outdoor cushions. Spray the soapy solution onto the cushions. Make sure you spray both sides including the edges.
Turn off the pressure machine once you are certified they have absorbed enough of the soapy solution. The first spray also removes dust, dirt, and molds/mildew. Dip the hand brush in the soapy solution and scrub the cushions. Make sure you scrub all sides. If you find a super stubborn stain or mold/mildew, pour vinegar/alcohol/chlorine bleach on it and scrub gently.
Once you have scrubbed all of your patio cushions, it is time to rinse them. This is a simple step but time-consuming. Switch the input pipe of the pressure machine to a bucket of clean hot/warm water. Hold the gun at a safe distance of two feet and spray the cushions. Stop spraying the cushions when you see they are saturated with water.
Now press them with your hands to remove excess water. Spray again with the clean hot water until they are saturated, then hand press to remove excess water.
Repeat step five above until clean water comes out when you hand to press the cushions. Then this is the point you sun-dry your outdoor cushions. Place them on a sunny wall for twelve hours. After these hours come and turn them so that the other side also dries up.
When you are satisfied the cushions are dry, apply a fabric spray. This spray protects the cushion from moisture, strong sun radiations, and molds/mildew. Some homeowners ignore this step and they end up having dirty patio cushions in a short time.
Ensure you follow the instructions on the can while applying the fabric spray. After all these, your patio cushions are clean and safe to use.
Is Power Washing Worth It?
Even though many homeowners discourage power washing of outdoor cushions, it has some benefits over pressure washing and hand washing. Some of the benefits are;
- Removes and kills mold, mildew, and algae
The hot water and high pressure from the power washing remove and kill molds, mildew, and algae. Pressure washing, hand washing, and machine washing remove these stubborn substances but do not kill them. Hence they will grow back after some time. Power wash your patio cushions and you will be safe for a long time.
- Cost effective in the long run
People call power washing super cleaning. Power washing patio cushions will make them look new many years ahead. This will save you the cost of buying new patio cushions each and every year. In summary, power washing avoids premature replacement of patio cushions. Yes, it is expensive to buy a hot water pressure machine, but in the long run, it will save you money.
- Healthier patio
With the many airborne diseases nowadays, the hot water and high pressure kill the germs and viruses on the patio cushions. Power washing kills molds, mildew, and algae which are full of dust that lead to lung infections. Hence a healthier home.
- Saves time
By only spraying the soapy water like in step 3 above, it removes 90% of the dirt and stains. You can even skip the hand scrubbing step and your patio cushions will still be very clean. Hand washing outdoor cushions require you to soak them for a few hours before scrubbing them. Hence power washing saves you time.
- Environmentally safe
Power washing does not need harmful chemicals to make outdoor cushions clean like in hand washing. You only need ordinary detergent and water. Nowadays there are solar-powered pressure machines that save on electric power and harmful carbon gases from petroleum.
- High value of your home
Most associations of realtors say that homes that are power washed are easy to sell. Power washing is not only for patio cushions but also for other patio furniture. Including hard surfaces like gravel footpaths and concrete patio floors. It makes them look super clean and recent renovation. Which in turn increases the value of your home.
Yes, you can power wash your outdoor cushions, but be careful with three important factors. These are the temperature of the water, the pressure, and the distance you are holding the pressure gun. Power washing is not the best technique of washing outdoor cushions but it has some benefits over other methods.