Caring for Outdoor Furniture Cushions
Outdoor living is what the summer is all about, and when you have a deck or patio, outdoor furniture (like cafe chairs and chaises longues) play a starring role. Unless you want to sit on hard wood or metal furniture, though, you'll need to add some comfy cushions.
Luckily, new technologies have brought us a slew of highly durable and stylish fabrics for outdoor use. However, highly durable doesn’t necessarily mean your cushions will be completely impervious to the twin assaults of the sun and rain.Here's how maintain outdoor furniture cushions to keep them looking great.
Protect from rain
Outdoor fabrics, such as Sunbrella®, are moisture, mildew and fade resistant. Generally, this means if you leave the cushions uncovered during a rainstorm, the rain will bead up and roll off. When left untended over a series of downpours, though, they will start to show signs of wear. Have covers available when you're not using outdoor furniture or are expecting a heavy downpour. Should cushions be left out in the rain, as soon as it stops, shake or wipe off excess water and let them air out a bit. If you covered them, remove the covers and inspect to make sure there are no pools of standing water underneath.
Keep cushions clean
Keep your cushions clean by regularly shaking off pollen, pine needles, bird droppings, and other nasties that find their way into the seams. Wipe food spills immediately, as they may stain and will definitely attract bugs. If a stain does occur, clean with a solution of 2 ounces liquid soap per 1 gallon lukewarm water. Allow to soak in a bit, then rub with a sponge or soft-bristled brush and rinse with clean water. If the cushion covers are removable, handwash in 1 quarter-cup light liquid soap per gallon of lukewarm water. While the fabrics themselves are mildew-resistant, the debris and dirt that can collect is not and mildew can grow there. Clean mildew buildup with a solution of 1 quarter-cup each bleach and liquid soap to 1 gallon water. All cleaning solutions should be rinsed off with clean water, and the fabric air-dried.
During the off season, it’s essential to store outdoor cushions and upholstery appropriately. Plastic bags seem like a quick and easy solution, but if tied or wrapped too tightly, don’t allow for airflow, encouraging mildew to develop. If you decide to purchase storage bags for your cushions, ensure that they have vents to let in air, while keeping out dirt, debris and insect or rodent pests. Store the bagged cushions in a dry environment, such as an attic or very dry basement.
By taking these relatively quick and easy steps, you will prolong the life and looks of your outdoor cushions for long term enjoyment, which means both time and money saved.
Don't have a place for outdoor furniture ... yet? Why not hire a professional to build you a gorgeous new deck or patio?
Updated January 24, 2018.
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