Caring for your outdoor cushions

 

Outdooor furniture cushions are made from specific materials to ensure that they can cope with environmental factors like rain, sun and dust. Like anything there are a variety of options and different fabrics offer different advantages. We use two main types of outdoor fabric.

1. Sunbrella - A high performance outdoor fabric used extensively worldwide in the outdoor furniture and marine industries as well as for awnings and umbrellas. At Outdoor Elegance we have sold over 100,000 cushions on outdoor lounges, dining chairs, daybeds and accessory pieces covered in Sunbrella. Sunbrella is what is known as a "solution dyed" material. For more on the benefits of this read more here

 

2. Spun Polyester / Olefin - These are more cost effective outdoor materials. You will find this on the majority of outdoor furniture products that feature cushions that are sold in Australia. They feature the water resistant properties of synthetic materials but the treatment produces a soft handfeel making them suitable for furniture use. 

 

Cleaning outdoor cushions

One of the best ways to keep any outdoor fabric looking good is to address any spills as soon as they occur and keep the surfaces clear of dirt and grime. This will stop it being embedded in the fabric and restrict mildew growth as it requires dirt to grow on. This is required of anything left outdoors. However methods of deeper cleaning, removing stains and maintaining your cushions can differ depending on which fabric you have as we outline below;

 

Sunbrella fabric care 

 

Cleaning Sunbrella Fabric

All Sunbrella® fabrics are engineered to with the highest levels of design and performance. When cleaning Sunbrella cushions we highly recommend keeping the cushion slips on the cushion, do not remove the fill or the foam. This makes it far easier to clean and helps maintain the integrity of the cushion, the cover and the zips.

You may find that small amounts of dirt, dust or even some spills will require no more than a brush or a hose off if you get to them early enough. But for easy maintenance of your Sunbrella fabric that may require a little more attention than a just a brush or a hose:

  1. Brush off loose dirt.
  2. Spray on a cleaning solution of water and mild soap.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush to clean from one side to another, not in circles.
  4. Allow cleaning solution to soak into the fabric.
  5. Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed. A hose is recommended. 
  6. Air dry.

 

Removing Mould and Mildew 

Sunbrella fabrics do not promote mildew growth, however if mildew has formed on dirt or other foreign substances it can be easily cleaned. To remove mould or mildew:

  • Prepare a solution of 1 cup of bleach and a quarter of a cup of mild soap per 4 litres of water.
  • Spray on entire area and allow to soak into the fabric for 15 minutes.
  • Clean entire surface area with a sponge, clean towel or very soft bristle brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. A hose may be used. 
  • Air dry.

For severe mould/mildew growth, bleach quantities may be increased. It is best to clean the entire surface area of the fabric to avoid water rings.

 

Sunbrella Stain Guide

Sunbrella has produced a guide to treating any number of specific stains such as sunscreen, wine, coffee and many more. You can find this guide here along with some instructional videos.  Sunbrella  Stain Chart.

You can find more videos on cleaning and a whole lot more on Sunbrella's Youtube channel . https://www.youtube.com/user/sunbrella/videos

 

Retreating Sunbrella fabric

Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a proprietary water and stain repellent finish that is designed to last for several years, but may require replenishing after a thorough cleaning or significant use. Sunbrella recommends 303® Fabric Guard. Outdoor Elegance does not currently stock this product but it is available from several Australia retailers and found with an internet search. 

Applying the retreatment:
  • Clean Sunbrella fabric, using one of the cleaning methods.
  • Allow Sunbrella to completely air dry.
  • Apply retreatment in a well-ventilated area following instructions on the container.

 

Helpful Hints

  • With spills and stains get in quick and try the hose first
  • When cleaning a cushion, clean from seam to seam, instead of rubbing the fabric in a circular motion on the stain. This method, will help avoid water rings.
  • We do not recommend removing the fabric from the foam when cleaning. Cleaning the Sunbrella fabric while on the foam is easy and preferrable.
  • Sunbrella air-dries very quickly, do not machine dry. A warm environment is preferrable.
  • Protect the area around your Sunbrella fabric when using a bleach solution, bleach may discolour non-Sunbrella fabrics and other surfaces. Always rinse Sunbrella thoroughly to completely remove bleach and other cleaning products.
  • Do not use a steamer or iro set to steam on Sunbrella fabric.

 

Sunbrella 5 Year Warranty

Sunbrella offer the original purchaser a 5 year warranty on their fabric. This warranty protects against Sunbrella fabric becoming unserviceable due to colour or strength loss from normal usage and exposure conditions, including sunlight, mildew and atmospheric chemicals.

This warranty does not cover damage from misuse or abuse, improper installation or the cushion foam or fill.

 

 

Spun Polyester Fabric Care

 

Spun Polyester is an easy care fabric that should be cleaned regularly to keep it looking new and fresh. It is a great fabric for outdoor furniture with it being water, mould and mildew resistant. However spun polyester is less colourfast than solution dyed options like Sunbrella. If exposed to the sun for prolonged periods you will experience fading. Bear in mind if a lounge setting for instance gets part sun then you will get uneven fading.   We highly recommend that spun polyester fabric should be left in under cover areas. Fading will eventually  occur with Spun polyester outdoor  fabrics, therefore if your outdoor furniture is exposed we recommend upgrading to Sunbrella high performance fabric.

 

 

General Cleaning 

Spun polyester outdoor fabric requires regular cleaning. For easy day-to day maintenance of your Spun Polyester Fabric: We HIGHLY recommend when cleaning Spun Polyester fabric keeping the cushion slip ON when cleaning, do not remove the foam. This is a much easier process and helps maintain the integrity of the cushion, the covers and zips.    

 

  1. Brush off loose dirt.
  2. Spray on a cleaning solution of water and mild soap.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
  4. Allow cleaning solution to soak into the fabric.
  5. Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed. A hose is recommended.
  6. Air dry in a dry warm environment

 

 

Removing Mould and Mildew 

Spun Polyester fabrics do not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances if not removed from the fabric. To remove mould or mildew:

  • Mix one part vinegar with nine parts water.
  • Spray solution on entire area and allow to soak into the fabric for 15 minutes.
  • Clean entire surface area with a sponge, clean towel or very soft bristle brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. A hose is recommended.
  • Allow to air dry.

It is best to clean the entire surface area of the fabric to avoid water rings and stains.

 

Helpful Hints

  • We do not recommend removing the fabric from the foam when cleaning. Cleaning the Spun polyester  fabric while on the foam is recommend and a much easier process.
  • Do not machine dry
  • Spun Polyester is best suited to an under cover outdoor area. Be aware of UV exposure and use a cover to protect the fabric. If you wish to keep uncovered with unavoidable UV exposure we highly recommend investing in a set with Sunbrella cushion covers for easier maintenance and protection from fading.
  • Clean regularly to minimise embedded dirt and reduce the ability for mildew and mould to form.
  • DO NOT use bleach

 

 

 Spun Polyester Warranty

Outdoor Elegance offer the original purchaser a 1 year warranty on spun polyester fabric. This warranty protects against the fabric breaking down when used in regular residential conditions without prolonged UV exposure. 

This warranty does not cover fading, discoloration or damage from misuse or abuse, improper installation and usage or damage from chemicals or other substances.