Outdoor Furniture Covers: Are They Machine Washable?

If you have an outdoor porch or patio, it’s likely you’ve purchased furniture covers to protect your investment. But theoretically speaking, with any outdoor furniture cover whether it is vinyl, soft cotton or a more expensive weatherproof version of either, its longevity may rely on how often you wash the cover.

Are outdoor patio furniture covers machine washable? After all, once you’ve used it in all kinds of weather and for many years to come, washing it should be an option.

Can you wash outdoor furniture covers in the washing machine?

Outdoor furniture covers can be machine washed, but depending on its fabric some conditions may apply. Patio furniture cover comes in many materials, so it means that one cleaning method may not be suitable for the other. The most common materials are nylon, vinyl, polyester, and polypropylene.

So before thinking about throwing your furniture cover into your washing machine, make sure what type of material your furniture cover has.

Do you have Polywood outdoor furniture? Find out if they are suitable for winter use.

Determine If They Are Machine Washable

Before you wash your furniture covers, you should first determine if they can be machine washed or instead wash them by hand.

If you are planning to use a washing machine, then your furniture covers needs to be colorfast and pre-shrunk.

Know how to test for colorfastness here.


Furniture covers that are not colorfast will fade quickly in the wash cycle. Knowing if they are color fast is easy just by looking at the manufacturer’s tag.


Equally, if they are not pre-shrunk, you risk shrinking your covers and this will make it hard to put them on your outdoor furniture.

Vinyl Outdoor Furniture Cover

Vinyl covers are durable, shiny, and flexible plastic that can be transparent. It is used to make products that look like leather and sometimes as fabric coating. It is also resistant to heat and very strong against insects that’s why it’s a popular material for furniture covers.

So, can they be washed in the washing machine?

YES. Just make sure to turn it inside out and put it in the washing machine in a Mesh Washing Bag to ensure they don’t get tangled or damaged. Choose the most delicate cycle on your washing machine and use cold water while setting the spin to low.

Unfortunately, vinyl covers cannot be dry cleaned. The vinyl material will shrink if exposed to perchloroethylene, which is the most used solvent on dry cleaning.

Nylon Outdoor Furniture Cover

Nylon is often linked with fishing nets, tights, and parachutes, but over the years, this strong fabric also made its way into clothing, backpacks, sportswear and ofcourse furniture covers.

It is one of the strongest Synthethic textile materials that are in existence. In fact, a nylon rope can last for decades.

Although it cannot be dry cleaned, nylon furniture covers can be cleaned in the washing machine.

To achieve the deepest clean possible, put your washing machine settings to the normal cycle, and use only hot water. Do not wash it together with different colored fabric if you are planning to!

Polyester Outdoor Furniture Cover

Polyester is a synthetic fiber also popularly called PET. A good benefit of this material is that it is resistant to shrinking, wrinkles, stretching, and mildew.

It’s also effortless to wash and dry, although It doesn’t breathe well and is very delicate to heat.

This material has gained popularity in the past decades, and it probably is the most common material for furniture covers in the market.

These polyester covers are usually coated with a layer of plastic or acrylic material to enhance its water and UV resistance. If it’s coated, machine washing it will degrade the coating, that’s why it is not recommended.

If it is not coated, then Polyester covers can be washed using your washing machine. Set it to normal cycle and use either warm or cold water with non-chlorine bleach.

But before anything else, if your polyester cover is stained, you should pretreat it first with a stain solution.

Cleaning polyester begins with pretreatment.  Look for the most susceptible areas such as creases and apply some stain solution on it and leave it for a while before machine washing it.

Polypropylene Outdoor Furniture Cover

Polypropylene is a flexible resin polymer that is more commonly called “non-woven.” Other names for it are PP, moplen or polypro. This material is a primary material for manufacturing face masks, totes, and bags. It is designed to have the same characteristics, look and feel of cloth.

Given that they are the cheapest, they tend to be weaker than other furniture cover materials. If heavily exposed to sunlight, then you can expect it to last only for a single season.

The best way to clean polypropylene is through hand washing, but you can also machine wash it. But before that, you should know that machine washing can shorten its lifespan.

To machine wash it, put the settings to delicate cycle and make sure to use cold water.

Fortunately, these covers are so cheap that getting a replacement is very easy.

How Often To Wash Outdoor Furniture Cover?

As a rough guideline, you should wash your outdoor furniture cover every 3-6 months. Cleaning it every week or month is unrealistic and impractical, but letting your covers gather up dirt for a long period means that they’ll be tougher to clean.

You should consider doing some quick clean-up every week or so to keep dust, pet hair, or mold away.

While it may seem a bit boring to clean furniture covers once a week, you should never wait more than twice or three times a month. Remember that you don’t have to let your furniture gather dust for 6 months before you clean them.

Quick cleaning every week is enough to keep your patio furniture looking great throughout the year.

Power-Washing Your Outdoor Furniture Cover

Most manufacturers don’t recommend power washing your covers. But if you insist on power-washing your furniture cover then make sure to use the lowest flow settings and don’t point it to close on your covers. Otherwise you will find that the water pressure can break the seams.

The best way to avoid your furniture cover getting damaged is to wash it slowly in cold water and rinse it 2 times to remove all of the detergent and mildew.


If you want to machine washed your outdoor furniture cover, then yes you can. However, make sure to check what material your outdoor furniture cover has because some of the settings can vary and sometimes the wrong settings can damage your outdoor furniture cover.