Buying Guide For Outdoor Furniture Fabrics, What You Need To Know

Outdoor fabric on an Outdoor Sofa

When looking at your fabric choices for your outdoor furniture collection it is important to know all the different fabric choices. The quality of the fabric can make a difference in how long the fabric will last on your piece of furniture.

Your choice of outdoor fabric for your outdoor furniture collection will make a difference in how long the fabric will actually last. There are 10 key points to consider when making your outdoor fabric selection. Proper maintenance and care will also help expand the fabric’s life cycle.

There are several things to consider when making the choice of what kind of fabric to use for your outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Fabric Choices

One of the most important things that will ultimately affect the life of your outdoor furniture is your fabric choice. If you buy a cheaper fabric it will usually not last as long as a high-quality fabric option.

But a higher quality fabric is also going to cost you more. So most customers need to weigh the costs of a cheaper fabric vs, a more premium brand.

For most people, this decision is simply a cost decision. Do you go for a higher-end fabric or one of the many cheaper options available? In a case like this, there is really no one right or wrong answer. It comes down to what the product cost needs to be.

Some of Our Favorite Fabric Options

There are many outdoor fabric choices out there. Here are some of our favorite outdoor fabric choices:

Agora Outdoor Fabrics (Tuvatextil)

Agora is the brand name for Tuvatextil, a large Spanish textile company. Like the more well-known outdoor fabric brand of Sunbrella, the Agora fabric is also made from high-performance outdoor acrylic. In speaking of their fabric line Agora, the company said:

“Agora uses a 100% solution-dyed acrylic fibre throughout its range. Fabrics are manufactured to withstand the harshest conditions of the outdoors, incorporating a variety of qualities and treatments to cope with the most demanding environments and guaranteeing excellent performance. Agora is the IN & OUT solution.”

Agora – Tuvatextil

The 100% solution-dyed acrylic fiber is a special dying process that is used on their Agora Fabrics. In the dying process, the fibers are dyed in such a way that the dye will impregnate into the heart of the acrylic fiber. This allows each acrylic fiber to have exceptional colorfastness. Besides its excellent colorfastness properties, the Agora fabric is also highly resistant to normal wear and tear and usually outdoor conditions. The Agora fabric has a very nice feel to the touch so it can also be used as an indoor fabric.

Agora offers a limited 5-year warranty on the lightfastness of its fabrics. You can download a copy of their limited warranty by clicking here. You can find out more about Agora by clicking here.

Sunbrella Fabrics

Sunbrella is the name that most people think about when they think of outdoor fabric. It is manufactured by the U.S. based company of Glen Raven. Sunbrella is considered a leader in the outdoor fabric industry. Like most companies their size, there have a variety of qualities and types and weaves of fabrics.

In speaking of their fabrics Sunbrella said:

“Sunbrella performance fabrics are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic. Our fibers are saturated with color and UV-stabilized pigments before they’re spun into yarn–meaning the pigment goes all the way through the fibers and the color stays true over time.”

Sunbrella

Like Agora, the acrylic fiber yarns are dyed before weaving. This means that each individual fiber of the fabric has the colorfastness and durability properties inside the core of the fabric. Glen Raven, the company that owns the Sunbrella brand, innovated the use of solution-dyed acrylic fabrics.

Sunbrella also has a limited 5-year guarantee on their outdoor fabrics. You can find out more about Sunbrella’s limited warranty by clicking here. To find out more about Sunbrella you can click here.

Outdoor fabric on an Outdoor Chair - Mondoro
Outdoor fabric on an Outdoor Chair – Mondoro

Chinese Made and Other Outdoor Fabrics

The Chinese and Vietnamese produce and weave some outdoor fabrics that we use in our outdoor furniture manufacturing. Some of the Chinese outdoor fabrics are a very good option from the more expensive fabrics as Agora and Sunbrella. Companies like Sunbrella manufacture a lot of outdoor fabric in China.

The Chinese and Vietnamese outdoor fabrics are usually not the same quality as Agora or Sunbrella, nor would they come with the same 5-year limited warranty or guarantees. But for many, this is a viable cheaper option for outdoor fabric.

Some of these outdoor fabrics may use acrylic yarn or even dyed acrylic yarns. Others will use polyester or polyester with other yarn mixes. These fabrics usually have no guarantee or in some cases only a 1-year limited guarantee. But the price to manufacture your outdoor furniture cushions in these fabrics is also significantly less than using Agora or Sunbrella fabrics.

What to Look for in Your Outdoor Fabric Choices

When you are considering what kind of outdoor fabrics to use for your outdoor furniture, here are 10 things to consider in your fabric choices.

10 Top Things To Consider When Choosing Your Outdoor Fabric:

  • UV Resistance – This is a very quality, especially if you in a high-sun area. Fabrics can and will change color in the sun.
  • Colorfastness and fade resistance – You want to be sure your outdoor fabric is colorfast and fade resistant. You also do not want someone to sit down on a cushion only to find the fabric has made their white summer shorts stained with dye.
  • Mold and Mildew Resistant – Mold and mildew resistance are very important. You do not want any outdoor fabric that will mold or mildew easily.
  • Water Resistance – The water resistance is a basic for all outdoor fabric. This will also help protect the inner cushions.
  • Weather Resistance – This is similar to water resistance, but not exactly the same. If you leave your furniture outdoors and it snows you want it to be able to withstand all kinds of weather, especially if the cushion could go through some extreme changes in one year as heat or cold.
  • Durability – The fabric must-have durability to withstand a lot of different conditions including normal wear and tear. That is one reason why companies like Agora and Sunbrella are so much more expensive than the cheaper fabrics, because they also offer a long warranty for their fabrics, as they guarantee the durability of the fabric. Outdoor conditions are harsh and difficult on everything including fabric.
  • Comfort – You want a fabric that does not feel plastic when you sit down on it. Many of the newer outdoor fabrics are not only great high-performance fabrics but very comfortable.
  • Stain resistance – You want a fabric that will be able to handle most spills or will not easily stain. To find out more about how to care for your outdoor fabric, check out our care guide below.
  • Breathable – A fabric that is breathable is good for a lot of reasons, but one is that it will be more comfortable. That is why companies like Agora and Sunbrell use Acrylic which is made from cellulose and is more breathable than a polyester which is made from petrochemicals.
  • Washable – You want something that you can wash or clean easily. To discover who to properly maintain your fabrics, please see the maintenance instructions below.
Outdoor fabric on an Outdoor Chair - Mondoro
Outdoor fabric on an Outdoor Chair – Mondoro

Proper Maintenance and Care For Your Outdoor Fabrics

The life of your outdoor fabric will depend greatly on how well you take care of your fabric.

Here is some general maintenance for your outdoor fabric and cushions:

  • Bring In During Winter – If you live in a climate that has very harsh winter conditions, consider bringing your cushion and furniture into storage during the harsh winter months. This will help to extend their overall life.
  • Covered Area – Having your furniture and cushions in an area that covered or partly covered and not in direct sunlight. This can also add to the life span of your furniture, outdoor fabric and cushions.
  • Clean spills Immediately – Clean the spills off as soon as they happen. Do not allow them to dry, but clean them immediately. For a guide on how to clean up different spills see our chart below.
  • Keep the fabric clean – If you see any loose dirt or grim, clean it off immediately. Keep your cushions as clean as possible.

Care for your outdoor fabric and cushions:

Here are some tips of how to care for your outdoor fabric and cushions.

  • Cleaning – clean your cushions with neutral soap and water. A good soap is dishwashing detergent. The temperature of the water should not be more than 86 degrees F or 30 degrees C. The water should not be boiling but more lukewarm. A small amount of bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water) could be used, but the overuse of bleach and strong detergents will affect the strength of any fiber or cloth, so they should be used in moderation and only when necessary. Clean using a cloth or sponge not a hard brush or any other kinds of harsh cleaning equipment.
  • Do Not Power Wash – Powerwashing is meant for very hard surfaces like your driveway and not for your outdoor cushions. Power washing will damage the fabric and affect the life span of your outdoor fabric on your cushions.
  • Do Not Dry Clean – It may be tempting to take the cushions off and dry clean them, but dry cleaning them will destroy the fabric and reduce the fabric’s inherent outdoor resistance qualities.
  • Wash in Washing Machine (Delicate) – You can wash the cushions in your washing machine using the delicate cycle. The cushions should be washed with lukewarm water that is not hotter than 86 degrees F or 30 degrees C.
  • Air Dry – Air Dry your cushions. Do not tumble dry in your clothes drier.
  • Iron on the backside of the fabric – You can iron the backside of your fabric. Do not iron the face or front side of the fabric.

Common Stains and How To Remove Them From Your Outdoor Cushions

As you use your outdoor furniture, spills and stains are going to happen to the outdoor fabric.

Here is some information on how to clean each of the different kinds of stains that can happen to your outdoor cushions. Learning how to clean the stains properly will help to add to the life span of your outdoor fabric.

STAINCLEANING SOLUTION
For Cleaning Use a Soft Cloth or Sponge
BeerWipe clean with a diluted solution of one part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution (1part bleach to 20 parts water) as needed. Rinse carefully.
BerriesWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Bird DroppingsWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Blood (Dried) Wipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
ButterWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Chewing Gum Use 100% Solvent Acetone to Clean
Ketchup or MustardWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Chocolate Wipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
CoffeeWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
ColaWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
CrayonWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Grease (Car)Use 100% Solvent Acetone to Clean
Ink Wipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Lipstick / CosmeticsWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
MildewSoak the stain in 1 part bleach to 20 parts water then wipe clean. Then wash the stain again with 1 part dishwashing soap to 20 parts water. Rinse well and let it dry in the sun.
Milk/TeaWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully.
OilUse 100% Solvent Acetone to Clean
RustSaturate with lemon juice, cover with salt and allow it to sit for 24 hours. Refresh the lemon juice as needed. Rinse and repeat as needed. Then wash with 1 part dishwashing liquid with 20 parts water and rinse well.
Shoe PolishWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Suntan LotionWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Tomato Juice / MarinareWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Tree SapWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Wax (Candle)Allow the candle wax to harden. Peel off as much as you can. Cover with a paper towel and iron on very low heat, moving the paper towel as needed to absorb the wax and getting rid of the excess wax onto the paper. Then wash with 1 part dishwasher solution to 20 parts water and rinse carefully.
WineWipe clean with a diluted solution of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 20 parts water. Rinse carefully. For very stubborn stains use a bleach solution as needed. Rinse carefully.
Outdoor Fabric Cleaning Guide

The fabric you choose for your outdoor furniture collection will make a difference in how long that fabric will last on your outdoor cushions. But, with proper maintenance and care, you can extend the life of any outdoor fabric.

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Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I am the President of Mondoro. I am passionate about helping you CREATE, DEVELOP, and MANUFACTURE home decor and home furnishing products. I am also an avid blogger with a love of travel and riding my motorcycle around the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.

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