J&O Fabrics Outdoor Fabric Guide


With the summer season officially here, time to put procrastinating aside and start pulling out those patio cushions, polishing up table tops and dusting off umbrellas in preparation for outdoor entertaining,  fun in the sun, or simply relaxing poolside in the shade.

For many, this process will look more like an arduous chore  rather than a easy task as the winter hibernation season seemed to drag on forever. And if your beautiful cushions weren’t packed up properly, you could be in store for some cleaning and revamping ahead of you. Worse case scenario, you’ll find yourself tossing the old for the new…. DIY or BUY style. Best case, with a little help from J&O fabrics, you’ll find just the right tips, tricks and fabulous fabrics to make your dreams of your backyard living space come true!

Purchasing Outdoor Upholstery and Patio Umbrella Fabrics

When furnishing your outdoor living space, remember outdoor cushions will be subject to the least care and the most abuse so consider creating removable covers that use zippers or snaps for easier cleaning if taking on the project yourself. When making your selection on which fabrics to choose,  the materials need to be extremely sturdy to withstand the weather and wear-n-tear too. Marine Grade Vinyl will be your most durable option.  It’s the standard of the boating industry because it is resistant to cracking, mildew, fungus, salt water, and staining. PVC Coated Polyester is also a great option as both are fairly easy to clean. But if it’s print and patterns  you want, beautifully designed and colorfully dyed outdoor fabrics made of acrylic or polyester also offer durable construction and weather resistance.

Cleaning Your Outdoor fabrics.

Cleaning and maintaining outdoor fabric, outdoor furniture cushions, and umbrellas is not very labor intensive. You do not need to do it very often either, but a little TLC goes a long way. Marine grade vinyl and PVC Coated Polyester can both be easily wiped down with a little bleach or simple soap and water. It is NOT recommended however, to clean polyester outdoor prints with bleach and water as the pattern may fade.  Instead, stains can usually be spot cleaned by using a non-abrasive sponge with mild soap and warm water. If the damaged area is too large, machine wash using the gentle cycle and dry outdoors preferably stretched back over their frames to avoid shrinkage.

On the subject of fading, keep in mind that outdoor fabrics, even if used in sun rooms or on covered porches, are subject to fading as well. Choose acrylic fabrics which are fade-resistant for several years . Prints of 100% spun polyester are not quite as fade resistant, but should provide adequate wear.

Most Common Outdoor Fabric Stains

Grass: To remove grass stains, first pretreat the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent. Work the detergent into the stained area with a soft brush, like an old toothbrush. Rinse well and then soak the fabric in a solution of warm water and all-fabric oxygen-based bleach for at least one hour before washing the piece.

Tree Sap: This is a combination stain that requires special treatment. Start by treating the oily/waxy component of the stain with a pre-treater commercial stain remover. Then rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent or a paste made of powdered detergent and water. Scrub stain lightly and rinse in hot water. Next, wash in the hottest water suitable for the fabric using detergent and an all-fabric bleach to remove the dye in the stain.

Mildew: Mildew is a live, growing organism that can attach to cellulosic – cotton, linen, fibers. Mildew eats the fibers, damaging and weakening the fabric and should be removed as soon as possible when discovered. To remove mildew, first shake or brush the item outdoors to prevent spreading the mildew inside your home. Pretreat the stains with a heavy-duty liquid detergent. Allow to work for at least 15 minutes. Then launder the fabric in the hottest water suitable for the material. Use chlorine bleach on white cottons to help restore whiteness. Oxygen bleach can be used on colored fabrics to remove the stains.

Sunscreen: Pretreat the stain with a heavy duty liquid detergent or make a paste with powder detergent/water and let this set on fabric at least 30 minutes or overnight. Then launder as usual.

Food (sauces like ketchup, mustard, dressing etc) treat according to specific food stain. For most, a commercial pretreatment stain remover will serve well to release unwanted sauce from material before washing.


Storing Outdoor Upholstery and Umbrella Fabrics

One thing that you can do to keep all your outdoor cushions looking good for a long time is to simply cover them when not in use. Put them away if you won’t be using them for months on end. Before storing your upholstered outdoor furniture or outdoor upholstery fabric though, we recommend that you thoroughly clean the fabrics with the above mentioned methods; this will prevent the accumulation of dust, soil and stains from attracting mildew and insects. Avoid storing your outdoor upholstery fabrics in places that are vulnerable to mold, mildew and insects. The best location is a cool, dry room with good air circulation and protection from direct sunlight. If possible, store your outdoor upholstery fabrics rolled rather than folded to prevent difficult creases from forming and whether inside or out, if not storing, turn your cushions regularly to prevent sun damage.

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2 thoughts on “J&O Fabrics Outdoor Fabric Guide

  1. Bear in mind that whenever purchasing a fabric it’s not the money that matters always. You should choose those types of fabrics which will lasts for years without alteration of its quality. Like this choice of fabrics used for outdoors it’s great to choose green ones it complements the garden.

  2. You have great post.They can add great beauty to your area. While some homes will look elegant in solid colors, some will be achieve this same elegance with floral fabrics and other striking patterns.

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