How to Dry Outdoor Furniture Cushions Fast — Safely!

By   | Last Updated :   July 22, 2021 | Filed In :   DIY & How To

A spill? A splash from the pool? A rain shower? All garden furniture cushions get wet eventually. But don’t worry—you can dry them without too much hassle.

Garden furniture cushions are often made of foam. Foam acts as a sponge, soaking up and retaining liquid, so you have to use the right drying methods. Think twice before tossing foam cushions into the dryer!

garden furniture cushions drying on a line

The good news is that, unlike indoor cushions, outdoor cushions are made with humidity and rain in mind. They often have waterproof or water-repellent covers. Plus, their filling or foam dries quickly. Still, there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to.

The quick way to dry garden furniture cushions

Dealing with a minor spill or a bit of rain on a waterproof cushion? Remove the cushion from the seat and place it vertically on the chair with the wet side facing the sun.

How long does it take for outdoor cushions to dry?

If the chair is made of wood or it’s prone to rust, place the cushion against a wall or another surface. The cushion should dry within a few hours.

If you’ve just washed your outdoor cushions or they got a good soaking after a downpour, you’ll need to put in a bit more work. It could take anywhere from few hours to a whole day or two. You want to get all the moisture out to prevent mould and mildew. Read on to find out how.

How to Dry Outdoor Furniture Cushions Fast — Safely! 1

Most garden furniture will get a soaking at some point. Image credit: Shutterstock

How to dry foam cushions outside

If possible, remove the cover before following the next steps. If the cover can’t be removed, don’t worry—you can follow the same process:

  1. Lie one or more towels on a flat and dry paved area and place the cushion on it. You can also do this on a deck or tiled surface, or on concrete. Use thick towels that can absorb plenty of liquid.
  2. Apply pressure on the cushion to remove the water it soaked up. The towel will help absorb the water and make your job easier.
  3. If it feels like hard work, you can take off your shoes and socks and walk on the cushion to squeeze the water out.
  4. Place the cushion on its side in a warm, airy spot.
  5. Keep in mind that foam cushions take longer to dry than other types of cushions as they’re particularly absorbent. Don’t worry if your cushions aren’t completely dry after a few hours.
  6. Repeat the process if needed until the foam is fully dry.

Warning: Don’t leave foam cushions without a cover in direct sunlight as UV radiation and heat may damage the foam.

How to dry foam cushions inside the house

If it keeps on raining and the moisture level outside is high, you can dry foam cushions inside. Again, remove the covers and dry them separately if possible. Then follow the steps below:

  1. Use the bathtub or the bathroom floor. Because you’re dealing with moisture here, it’s best to dry the cushions in the bathroom rather than in any other room.
  2. Wring the cushion over the bathtub, taking care not to damage it. This is a good start, but in most cases, it won’t be enough.
  3. Put some dry towels on the bathroom floor or in the tub and place the cushion over them.
  4. Fold the towels around the cushion so that it covers it entirely.
  5. Push on the cushion to squish the water out of it and repeat until liquid stops coming out.
  6. Turn over to the other side and repeat the process.
  7. Once most of the moisture is out, you can place the cushion on its side on your balcony, terrace, or patio. You can also use an airing cupboard if you have one. The cushion can also dry in the bathroom if the room has good air circulation. Got a dehumidifier in your bathroom? Don’t forget to turn it on.
  8. Optionally, you can use a fan to speed up the drying and ensure the core of the foam is completely dry.
  9. Replace the covers only after all the foam is dry.

Warning: Don’t tumble dry foam cushions. It will shrink, tear, break, or melt the foam.

If the core of the cushion still seems to retain some moisture, you can try dehumidifying gel packs. Seal the cushion in a bag with the packs and let some air in. The bag shouldn’t be tight.

Leave the cushion in the bag for a few days in a dry, warm place. The dehumidifying gel packs should draw the last bit of moisture out.

How to Dry Outdoor Furniture Cushions Fast — Safely! 2

The perfect spot for drying damp cushions. Photo by Deconovo on Unsplash

How to dry fixed garden furniture cushions

It’s unusual for outdoor garden furniture to come with fixed cushions. But if yours does, and it’s wet, you can deal with the moisture. Here’s how:

  1. Spot clean or steam clean the cushion if needed. You could borrow or buy a small steam cleaner if you don’t have one.
  2. Use the water extractor feature on your steam cleaner if it has one. This will speed up the process.
  3. Use towels to squeeze out any remaining liquid.
  4. Direct air from a fan toward the cushion.
  5. Wait for the foam to fully dry—it may take a few hours or even days, so be patient.

What about non-foam cushions?

Non-foam garden furniture cushions aren’t the norm, but if you have some leftover from pre-foam days, you can dry them without headaches.

  1. Remove the covers if possible and wash if needed.
  2. Hang the cushion to dry on a clothesline. Otherwise, place the inner cushion on one side to dry in a sunny, warm spot. You can also place it directly in the sun if you think the filling won’t get damaged.
  3. Place a fan before the cushion if you’ve got one to hand.
  4. You can also dry non-foam cushions indoors in the bathroom.

Good to know: Drying cushions in unheated porches or patios takes longer since the humidity in these spaces tends to be higher.

An alternative method you could use in summer is to place a towel on the hood of your car and put the non-foam cushions on it. The hood of the car tends to get very hot in summer, speeding up the drying.

How to Dry Outdoor Furniture Cushions Fast — Safely! 3

Removable cushion covers can be washed then dried in the sun. Photo by J Williams on Unsplash

How not to dry garden furniture cushions

Just because a method seems convenient doesn’t mean it’s good for drying outdoor cushions. Avoid these common mistakes to protect your cushions and garden furniture:

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Make sure cushions are fully dry before placing them on chairs. Photo by Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Keeping your garden furniture cushions dry

Rain and accidents happen, but most of the time, you can take precautionary steps to keep your garden furniture cushions dry. Waterproof covers and storage solutions for your garden can save you time and keep your cushions looking at their best for longer.

Don’t forget also to wash the covers regularly and air them to keep them free from mould and fungi.

When the cushions do get wet, the tips we shared with you will have you covered. After all, what better way to relax than sitting in your green patch on a dry, comfortable cushion?


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