How to Use an Outdoor Futon – 8 Maintenance Tips

futon sleep in poolside

When the weather becomes warmer, our thoughts turn towards spending time outdoors. While many invest in patio furniture for their outdoor space, the outdoor futon often escapes our consideration. While futons are generally considered indoor furniture, they have morphed into a practical outdoor furniture addition as well. However, they still need protection from the weather.

Futons provide the ultimate in comfort. It is a combined piece that doubles as a small sofa or loveseat and a bed. Futons originally revolutionized how people viewed sofas and beds. They offered practicality as they could be a seating area during the day and an extra bed for guests at night. The design was a space saver for many households.

If you want to purchase an outdoor futon for your backyard, some great options are outdoor-friendly and help you protect your investment from weather changes.

Can Futons Be Used Outdoors?


This piece of furniture is versatile and can have a place in various areas in a home. It’s popular in the living room or as a sleeper bed in the guest room, but most people rarely consider taking it outdoors. Perhaps it is because it was originally marketed as an indoor item, or people don’t think about a sofa or bed (or a sofa bed!) doubling as an outdoor item. 

The reality is that futons gained popularity as outdoor furniture when companies started creating weather-resistant pillows and decorative covers. They offered homeowners a unique opportunity to customize their futon to an outdoor space and enabled people to leave them outside for longer durations.

An outdoor futon convertible sofa has a weather-treated frame and fabric, making them ideal for the outdoors. If needed, the seat cushion cover can be removed and washed. They are comfortable to lounge on, and the sides are easily folded down and up, depending on their usage. HMany people appreciate them for their compact design, enabling them to be used in smaller spaces and backyards. 

When the sides are folded, a futon only measures 60 inches in length. In a larger space, you can fold down one or both sides. People in high-rise apartments create a warm outdoor living space on their decks and use two futons as a chaise lounger, increasing the usable square footage of their home. 

Eight Ways to Maintain Your Outdoor Futon

If you want to protect and maintain your futon while keeping it outdoors, there are eight main ways to do this. These methods will help your futon to last longer and remain newer while adding to your decor. 

1. Break it in properly.

When you initially purchase a futon, they are pre-compressed. Once you open it, the mattress will break in within about 48 hours. Frequently flip and rotate the mattress. Also, lie or sit on all parts of it, including the center, to keep uneven lumps and bumps from forming. 

2. Ensure you place it in a shaded or covered area.

Futons are much safer in covered spaces, like a screened-in patio or porch with a canopy. This will protect it from harsh weather.

3. Store it in a dry, safe area when you aren’t using it.

If you want to use your outdoor futon poolside or in the sun, move it to a protected storage area like a garage, pool house, or shed when it’s not in use. Apply this principle to the off-season when you aren’t spending as much time outdoors.

4. Regularly check the bolts.

Place soap or wax in the roller canal to ensure the frame will last for years. Check the bolts for tightness every two months. When tightening them, be sure not to over-tighten. Temperature changes cause a wood frame to shrink, causing creaking. If not corrected, it can damage the wood. 

5. Rotate the futon mattress.

Do this along with sunning to ensure that the mattress lasts longer. Frequent turning prevents sink spots from occurring, providing a longer life for the futon. Rotate the mattress every month to ensure it receives optimal weight distribution.

6. Allow air to circulate.

Some people place their futons on the ground or put plywood underneath them. A futon frame uses vertical or horizontal slats to allow for air circulation. This slows down the compression of the mattress and prevents moisture buildup. 

7. Only spot clean messes.

The casing is not designed to be washed. If you need to clean it, spot clean it using mild soap and warm water. Do not oversaturate the area, and dry it with a hair dryer. You can vacuum the mattress to keep it free from dust and to circulate air.

8. Buy a protective cover to make it last longer.

The best way to protect an outdoor futon is to buy a protective slipcover for it. If placed in the sun, a futon cover will prevent it from being bleached by the sun’s rays. The color will remain more vibrant. Slipcovers are great for children and pets as you can wipe up or vacuum messes.

When selecting covers and pillowcases for your futon, select one that was chemically treated during manufacturing. This allows the futon cover to resist soiling, mildew, rot, and water damage. 

Solution-dyed 100% acrylic is the most versatile fabric for a futon as it contains the properties of outdoor fabric but isn’t too hard. They are also waterproof rather than water-resistant, making them better able to withstand moisture.


What If I Need to Clean It?

To fully clean a futon mattress for storage, unfold it and remove it from the frame while it is in the couch position. Vacuum it to remove debris, then flip it over and do the same for the other side. If it smells, deodorize it with baking soda. The funky smell is often caused by moisture, sweat, and spilled messes. Let it sit for at least 10-20 minutes, then vacuum it up.

If the futon is wet from either spot cleaning or steam cleaning, it is best to leave it to dry outside. Futons can be steam cleaned, and you may need to do this annually to kill dust mites, mold, and bacteria. For more in-depth tips, check out this helpful article


When maintaining your outdoor futon, there are some simple things you can do consistently to increase the longevity of the item. Slipcovers are highly recommended as they prevent spills and dirt from getting into the mattress and also protect it from the weather. If you follow these practical maintenance tips, your outdoor futon will look great and last for season after season.