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How to

How to care for outdoor fabrics

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The last decade has seen amazing advances in the availability and breadth of choice with fabrics designed for outdoor furniture. Gone are the days of stiff and uncomfortable material. Outdoor fabrics can now be just as soft and comfortable as indoor fabrics, whilst withstanding the natural environment. They are stylish yet functional, but to keep them looking good it is still important to care for them.

Key features of outdoor fabrics

  • Strong and resistant to wear and tear.
  • Stain resistant.
  • Water repellent.
  • Fade (UV light) resistant.
  • Mould resistant.

Outdoor fabrics are designed to resist the stress of staying outdoors. The manufacturing process ensures that they are treated in a way that makes them resistant to water, stains and UV rays. These treatments are intended to last several years to keep your outdoor fabrics looking impressive for as long as possible. Outdoor fabrics are not only practical but also allow you to add a personal touch to your garden furniture, contrast colours and scatter cushions for example.

The best way to keep your cushions clean is to wipe up spills and brush off dirt before it becomes embedded. The quicker you clean up a spillage accident, the easier it is to remove.

How to remove small stains 

Small stains are inevitable, no matter how careful you are. Luckily, these are an easy fix.

  • For a liquid spill, blot it with dry, clean cloth (do not rub it).
  • For an oil-based spill, use an absorbent (such as corn starch) then scrape it off.
  • Spray a mild cleaning solution of soap and water.
  • Remove all soap residue with a thorough rinse.
  • Let the fabric air dry naturally.

How to achieve a deeper clean 

Some cushion covers can be removed. This makes them easier to deep clean and may mean they can be machine washed.

Hand washing: if the cushion covers are not removable, use warm water and soap to soak the fabric. Using a sponge or very soft bristle, lightly agitate the stain. Rinse the fabric thoroughly and leave to air dry.

Machine washing: some cushion covers can be machine washed (it is best to consult the manufacturer). Before you put your cushion covers in the machine, take out the foam and re-zip them. Wash them on a cold, delicate wash with normal mild detergent. Allow to air dry.

Mild and mildew stains 

Outdoor fabrics are designed to be mould and mildew repellent. However, sometimes when cushions are put away for the winter, damp or mildew may grow on substances left on them.
To remove:

  1. Add a cup of thin bleach and 1/4 of a cup of mild soap to 4 litres of water.
  2. Spray solution on entire area and soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Clean area with a sponge or dry clean cloth.
  4. Thoroughly rinse to remove all soap residue.
  5. Leave to air dry.

Wrinkles

Sometimes cushions can become wrinkled over prolonged use. Most fabrics can be ironed. To remove wrinkles, put the iron on a synthetic setting and test the heat on a small inconspicuous area before ironing the entire piece.

Our top tips

To keep your outdoor fabrics looking as good as possible all year round, here are our top tips:

  • Use soft cloths or sponges when cleaning, no hard bristle brushes or anything abrasive.
  • Air dry only, do not use heat or a tumble dryer.
  • Clean the entire surface to avoid water marks.
  • If fabrics are starting to become less resistant, apply a retreatment.
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