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how to choose the best outdoor fabric for cushions



The best fabric for outdoor cushions is polypropylene fabric. Polypropylene was one of the first marine fabrics due to the fact it had superior UV resistance compared to other fibers. Polypropylene is the best choice for outdoor cushions because it dries quickly when wet and has no dye sites. These non-active dye sites prevent stains and can easily be cleaned with bleach and water solution. 

More outdoor fabric is being used due to the rise in outdoor living and entertainment spaces.

Landscape architects, designers, realtors, and building contractors all agree that regardless of the price point on a home, outdoor living spaces have become a standard feature in new home construction. The trend is to create an outdoor living area that mimics indoor living.

Outdoor kitchens vary from a built-in grill to fully functioning kitchen spaces that may include refrigeration and brick ovens. What outdoor space would be complete without a television and a sound system as well as a fireplace or at least a cozy fire pit?

With all these outdoor living areas, comfortable seating is essential. Think of the seating as an expansion of what you would have inside your home... comfortable dining chairs, a sofa or a sectional. The difference is that the seating is made of outdoor cushion material that can withstand the elements. Harsh sunlight, temperature extremes, water and humidity that contribute to mold require special fabrics engineered for outdoor living.

Revolution Outdoor Fabrics are the perfect choice for the best outdoor fabric for living and entertaining!

The best outdoor fabric for furniture is polypropylene

Olefin Outdoor Fabrics

New to the outdoor fabric category, Revolution outdoor fabrics are woven in King Mountain, North Carolina with olefin and polypropylene yarns.

Olefin is a byproduct of refining petroleum and is extremely durable and stain-resistant. Olefin along with Acrylic is extremely resistant to fading from the sun. Most types of outdoor fabrics on the market will be acrylic, olefin, or polyester. Polyester fabrics will perform the worst because it has the lowest light fastness rating and they require a PFC chemical finish for stain resistance. The two best fibers when making outdoor cushions are solution-dyed olefin and solution-dyed acrylic. The best thing about Revolution outdoor fabrics is that you get superior performance at a great value per yard. Where most outdoor fabrics range from $20 - $50 a yard, Revolution outdoor fabrics cost between $15 and $30 a yard!

Revolution Outdoor Fabrics

Pros Cons

Extremely stain resistant without the use for a PFC chemical treatment.


Currently, produce a small line of outdoor fabric. More fabrics will be available in the future.

100% woven in the United States with raw materials form within 300 miles of the factory.

Heavy texture ( great for cushions, maybe not drapes )

Exceeds 30,000 Double rubs and us very abrasion resistant

Wax-based water repellent finish for rain and dew.

Outdoor fabrics are over 2000 hours of light fastness or 3-year fade warranty.  

Mildew resistant properties.

Solution Dyed Acrylic Outdoor Fabrics 

Acrylic fabrics are synthetic fabrics made from acrylic fibers. This type of outdoor fabric has a number of advantages including lower specific gravity, mildew-resistant properties and an ability to manage moisture. Made famous by outdoor fabric brands like Sunbrella, most outdoor fabrics are solution-dyed acrylic or a cheap polyester only good for a season. Acrylic is great for lightfastness but is extremely easy to stain when not treated with a stain treatment bath. These fabrics tend to look great at first but become stained as the treatment wears off. Do not let the "solution dyed" marketing efforts fool you. Not all solution-dyed fibers are created equal. Solution-dyed Acrylic can be atmospherically dyed ... This means that the fiber has dye sites. The more dye sites a fiber has, the more wine, ketchup, and stains can penetrate the fiber. Solution Dyed Olefin on the other does not have dye site. This is why Olefin is stain resistant without the use of stain treatment baths.

Pros Cons

High UV and lightfastness scores ( 2000 hr of lightfastness)

Contain harmful PFC Chemical

mildew resistant properties

Known to pill or fuzz

Multiply use application (drapes, cushions, curtains)

Very expensive ( will had $400 average to your upholstery project)

Some liquid resistant properties ( with stain finish applied )

Flat texture ( not great for upholstery / limited design )

Extremely hard to get oily stains out ( Ketchup, Mustard, ETC )

Outdoor Polyester and Prints

Mostly used in one season outdoor goods, polyester outdoor fabrics and prints will be your lowest performing outdoor fabric. This type of outdoor fabric on average will have a lightfastness score no higher than 1000 hours of lightfastness. Unlike solution dyed Acrylic and Olefin, Polyester is batch-dyed. Most polyester is woven white and then dyed in drums to its desired color. This process is great for obtaining mass amounts of colored fabrics but these fabrics are extremely receptacle to staining because of the mass about of dye sites in polyester fiber. These fabrics will be cheap and only good for a seasonal throw pillow or two.

Pros Cons

Largest selection of product

Low Lightfasntness / Fade rating ( 1 year or 500 hour average )

Cheap fabrics by the yard

Hard to clean oily spills like ketchup and mustard

Can have some liquid repellency after a PFC chemical bath

Abrasion results are across the board

Known to pill or fuzz.

Contains Harmful PFC chemicals if stain resistants properties are claimed.



The best way to clean outdoor cushions is to use the manufacturers suggested cleaning solution and clean towels. Spray the solution with a spray bottle on the cushion. Rinse with clean water. Dry with a clean towel or set them out in the sun. Repeat as necessary for more difficult stains. Depending on the type of stain, an upholstery cleaning professional may be needed to restore your cushions.

The cleaning instructions should be available on the cushion tag or through the retailers website. If you cant find the website or the cleaning instructions, call the retailer you purchased the furniture from. Identify the fiber content of the fabric ( Acrylic, polyester, polypropylene. ) For Revolution Fabrics,  mix cleaning solution of 1 cup bleach, ¼ cup clear liquid detergent, and 1 gallon of water. Apply the cleaning solution to the whole cushion with a sponge. Rinse solution from the cushions with water. Let the cushions air dry.

When it comes to the integrity and presentation of your outdoor space, you want the very best for your home. Outdoor furniture requires the same upkeep and attention to detail as the interior furniture in your interior living space, which means from time to time, it requires some cleaning.

If you want your outside oasis to constantly greet your family and guests with clean and pristine appearance, we’re going to provide a brief guide specifically for cleaning outdoor cushions below.


Outdoor furniture companies provide cleaning instructions on all of their outdoor products, which means everything you need is just an instruction sheet away. Read labels to find out the fabric and filling content of the cushions, so that you are more aware of your options. For cushions without cleaning tags, you can always check the manufacturer’s website, or continue along with some of our best practices listed next. Most outdoor fabrics will be either polyester, acrylic, or polypropylene.


If your pillows cannot have the cover separated from their structure, then it’s time to bring in the sponge. With ¼ cup clear liquid detergent and 1 gallon of lukewarm water, gently sponge the affected area. Work away at the spot until bubbles are forming from the friction. Once done, rinse thoroughly with a high-pressure garden hose to remove all detergent residue. Place the pillows in a sunny and dry place where they can dry quickly.

For stains that can’t be tackled with a little soap and a sponge, try mixing 1 cup chlorine bleach, ¼ cup clear liquid detergent, and 1 gallon of water. Let the mixture soak into the pillow for 20-minutes before you rinse thoroughly.


Now, if you can remove the cushion covers from your pillows, you have a machine-washing option (if the manufacturer recommends it). Before you place them in the laundry, be sure to shake out the covers and get all debris build-up out. Once done, allow the covers to air dry, placing them back on the cushions while they are still slightly damp so the material can form back into place. If recommended, you can use your dryer with the pillow covers – but ONLY do this if the instruction tag says it's compatible with the specific kind of fabric.


Manufacturers do not recommend power washing, as it can ruin the seams of the fabric. A gentler cleaning approach is preferable if you want your pillows to last for awhile.

Feel like you’re ready to take on your backyard patio arrangement with these outdoor fabric cleaning instructions? Remember: outdoor cushions are no different from the cushions in your home. If you want them to last, regular cleaning will keep them in good shape for years to come. And for the cushions that are too far gone, don’t forget to shop our selection Outdoor Fabrics.


The best way to care for outdoor furniture cushions is to store those cushions in a covered area when not in use. While this may seem like a lot of work, they will ensure the longevity our your fabric and cushions for years to come. Let's take a look at other ways to care for your outdoor cushions. 


First and foremost, you need to evaluate how long your furniture sits outside. Even metal furniture will eventually rust, get dirty and show signs of ware and tear. The best thing for you to do is to find furniture covers. These covers should be waterproof and will help keep your furniture away from direct contact of weathering. It can easily extend the life of your furniture for a few extra years. If you don’t want to keep up with storing your furniture frequently, be sure to get waterproof furniture covers for your outdoor furniture.


If covers aren’t the answer you are looking for, relocating furniture to the basement or a covered area should help with weathering. Outdoor furniture is meant to be outside, but it doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. Putting your furniture in a covered area or in storage while they aren’t being used is the best way to extend the lifetime of your furniture. This doesn’t mean you have to put them up whenever you aren’t using them. Every now and again keeping them clean and putting them up will help you maintain their appearance,


Some outdoor furniture companies don’t mind that you power wash the furniture. The frame was meant to be washed frequently if this is the case. If there is a removable cushion, I recommend taking that off. The frame of the chairs can be power washed, but the cushions should be wiped down by hand. Some furniture is not recommended to be power washed so I would also wash this type outdoor furniture by hand.


When it come to outdoor cushions, people think that the word outdoor implies 'meant to stay outside all the time' without anything happening to it. For some reason the word indestructible always comes to mind. If you’ve ever had any outdoor furniture, you know this is not the case. Anything that sits outside is susceptible to weathering and in time, will look different than the way you bought it. This is especially true with upholstery cushion covers. The best thing for you to do for your furniture is to always store your cushions. Leave the frames outside if storing them is too much work. Bring in the cushions or keep them covered. This will be the best way to avoid bird poop, pollen, rain, dirt, and all the outdoor dirty nonsense you are trying to avoid and in turn extend the lifespan of the furniture.


Every outdoor upholstery fabric has a waterproof solution when you bought it. Eventually you might notice that the waterproofing has worn off and you can see water start to seep into your cushions. The best thing for you to do is to apply a new waterproof coating. My recommendation is using a company known as Nikwax. They are PFC chemical free wax-based waterproofing for outdoor gear and apparel. I have been using it for years on my tents and snowboarding jacket. I recommend the TX.Direct Spray on for outdoor fabric. Find the link to Amazon to buy some here.

When it comes to outdoor furniture care, the best thing for you to do is to keep it covered in storage or covered porch, clean it regularly, store your cushions, get waterproof covers, and reapply a waterproofing solution.

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