Outdoor furniture materials are engineered to be long lasting and to withstand most weather conditions. Your outdoor furniture sees a lot of wear and tear over the course of a year, from lazy poolside days in the sun, to backyard barbecues with family and friends. Special fabrics are made to resist fading from the sun, repel water to prevent mildew, and to be generally more durable than indoor fabrics.
One popular outdoor fabric is Sunbrella. Sunbrella is a solution-dyed acrylic fabric that resists fading, water, mold, mildew, and stains. It is a strong material that is able to withstand everyday use, even if it’s rougher than normal (think of your kids jumping on the furniture, or your dog walking across the cushions). Sunbrella is a great choice for high-traffic patios and for patio furniture that will spend all, or most, of its time outside. Although it is always best to store or cover your patio furniture when it is not in use, you can rest easy knowing your Sunbrella fabrics are longer lasting even when left outdoors.
All outdoor furniture requires some level of care, and Sunbrella fabrics are no exception. However, they are not particularly high maintenance and can be cleaned and cared for in just a few simple steps.
Much like the weekly chores you do for the inside of your home, you may want to set aside some time for light cleaning your outdoor furniture as well. Be sure to brush off any dirt or debris that may accumulate on your furniture, like dust or fallen leaves from trees. For a bit of a deeper clean, prepare a cleaning solution of mild soap and warm water and gently scrub the furniture with a soft bristle brush or a sponge. Make sure to rinse completely to get rid of any soap suds, and let air dry before use or storage.
Some Sunbrella fabric or cushion covers are removable. To clean removable Sunbrella fabric, you can machine wash in cold water (less than 100°F/38°C) with a normal amount of mild laundry soap. Do not machine dry; let the fabric air dry completely before putting it back on your patio cushions.
Stains happen, especially outside. Whether you find a stain from the natural elements, or one of your guests accidentally spilled their wine, don’t worry! You can spot clean Sunbrella fabrics to remove the stain and leave your furniture looking like new.
First, spray a light mist of the Sunbrella recommended cleaner directly on the stain using a spray bottle. This handy stain chart from Sunbrella identifies different types of stains and the cleaning solutions that will work best for each. Gently scrub the solution into the stain and spray more as needed, until the stain has dissolved. Make sure to rinse the spot completely to be rid of any residue, and blot to get rid of excess water. Let the fabric dry completely before use.
Sunbrella resists mold and mildew, but when you’re dealing with fabric that spends most, if not all, of its time outside, there’s always a risk that mold and mildew may develop. Fortunately if you find yourself with unwanted mold or mildew, or other stubborn stains, you can do some heavy duty cleaning to get your furniture back to its pristine state.
For heavy duty cleaning, follow Sunbrella’s instructions below:
Prepare a solution of 8 ounces (1 cup) of bleach and 2 ounces (¼ cup) of mild soap per gallon of clean water.
Spray on entire area and allow to soak into the fabric.
Scrub vigorously with a soft bristle brush, sponge, or clean towel.
Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
Allow fabric to air dry.
Depending on the severity of the stain, you may increase the amount of bleach in the solution. Always use gloves when handling bleach, and be sure to mix and use the solution in a well-ventilated area.
If you’re cleaning a stubborn stain from removable cushion covers, you are still able to machine wash as directed. Add one cup of bleach to the load, and allow to air dry completely after the wash.
Although Sunbrella is manufactured to last for several years, you can choose to periodically refinish the material to maintain its water repellency. Sunbrella recommends applying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard after each thorough cleaning to ensure that the water-repellent finish was not worn away in the cleaning process.
In the event that you want to get your Sunbrella fabrics professionally cleaned, find a service that is familiar with Sunbrella products and has experience cleaning. DO NOT get your Sunbrella fabrics dry cleaned.
Sunbrella quickly air dries and does not require machine drying. In the event your Sunbrella fabric is wrinkled, you can use an iron. Make sure your iron is set to the “synthetic” setting before ironing. Always test your iron on a small, hidden area of the Sunbrella fabric before running the iron over the entire surface to ensure that the heat of your iron will not melt or otherwise damage the fabric. Never use a steamer, or an iron set to the steam setting.