An outdoor sofa with cream cushions. No, wait…an outdoor sofa with cream HANDWASH ONLY cushions. Who would buy that? And more to the point, what sane person with kids and cats would buy that? Well, moi. And these were my reasons:
- I loved the sofa and its pretty cream cushions. It would go perfectly with my tropical-feel, yet-to-exist garden.
- The cushion covers were removable for washing (didn’t realise they meant handwashing). To me this negated the problem of them being an impractical, but lovely, cream colour.
- It wasn’t just a sofa. It was a sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table. For £195 total in the Asda sale last year. Seemed like a pretty good deal! For that price I could work round the child, cats and target-practising birds.
If you’re wondering what the problem is (that’s what the “handwash” setting on the washing machine is for, or the Scotchguard Outdoor Fabric Protector), here’s the thing:
- My washing machine came with the house. It’s old, grumpy, and has no handwash setting. For various reasons I’m not replacing it yet. I wouldn’t trust it with my beloved outdoor sofa cushion covers. I would have to wash them in my mum’s machine when I visit her, 30 miles away, because I’m too lazy to ever wash them by hand.
- I’m worried the covers will shrink/become misshapen if I wash them a lot. I’m just aiming for minimal washing here.
- Not all marks come out in the wash.
- Scotchguard Outdoor Fabric Protector needs re-applying after every wash (which could be a lot without a hack!). It’s made of chemicals. It’s expensive.
Well anyway. If, like me, you have various reasons why you want extra protection for your outdoor sofa seat cushions, this is what I did with mine:
The “hacked” sofa in the image above isn’t perfection but it’ll do me just fine! Its seat cushions have been protected with jersey fitted cot sheets. This means that cats can walk on it with dusty paws, children can eat on it, and guests can put up their grassy, nearly-black-soled, summery feet on it…and all the while I can be the version of me that I prefer to be. There’s no friction between wanting to have pretty things and wanting to be a relaxed, non-nagging person.
Please note: this won’t make your cushions waterproof/able to be left out in the rain. My cushions can’t be left out anyway, so it makes no difference in my case. I keep them in this waterproof storage box.
For each seat cushion I used:
- One cream jersey fitted cot sheet (mine were from Wilko)
- One ironing board cover fastener (mine were from Amazon)
- Two safety pins
Hook one of the narrower ends of the cot sheet over the front face of the cushion (the edge which will show at the front of the sofa). Then pull the sheet nice and taut over the top face of the cushion (where you’ll be sitting).
Turn the cushion over and tuck the elasticated edges neatly underneath each other.
Towards the back face of the cushion, the corners will be all flappy. Secure these together using the ironing board cover fastener. This should hopefully be adjustable, so you can get a nice tight fit.
Use a safety pin to keep the front elasticated corners tucked together.
Bob’s your uncle! Your cushions are safe from dirt. When you do need to wash the sheets, they are easy to remove.
We’ve just lost the detail of the piping. An acceptable loss. I was lucky that the cot sheet width was very similar to the cushion width – I think if the sheet was a lot bigger, it’d just show more wrinkles/puckers.
Now clearly this isn’t going to protect your cushions from a stain which soaks through fabric, like a glass of red wine. That’s why you might still want to use something like Scotchguard Outdoor Fabric Protector on the actual underlying cushion covers themselves. But hopefully those kinds of stains don’t happen too often, and only then will you have to wash the actual sofa sover and re-apply the Scotchguard.