Outdoor patio cushions are often exposed to harsh weather conditions; before purchasing fabric for your outdoor furniture, do some research.  Take into consideration, your local weather climate.  Don’t waste your money on fabric that is not designed to withstand exposure to the sun, rain, or humidity.  Following are some important considerations to help you choose the right outdoor cushion fabric for your furniture.

1. Water Resistant

If you live in an area that gets a great deal of rain every year, your patio furniture must be designed to withstand the wet conditions.  No one enjoys sitting down on a wet patio cushion.  For wetter climates, patio cushions need to be quick drying.  Natural and synthetic fabrics are both used for outdoor furniture.  To become water resistant, most fabrics are coated with a water-resistant Teflon finish that allows the water to simply roll off.

2. Stain Resistant

To last, and still look great, outdoor cushions need to be stain resistant, and simple to maintain.  The best outdoor fabrics are machine washable and do not require deep cleaning for years.  Choose a fabric that is stain resistant, and can be easily maintained by brushing away surface dirt, and cleaning off spills immediately.  The best outdoor fabrics can be cleaned with soap and water.  Some really durable fabrics, such as those made by Sunbrella, allow a diluted bleach solution to be used for tough stains without damaging the cloth.

3. Mildew Resistant

Even when fabric is water, soil, mildew, and stain resistant, mildew can still develop in humid, damp environments, and form on soiled fabric areas.  Many incidents of mildew on patio cushions occur because of soils caused by sunscreen or bug sprays.  Soiled or stained fabric should be cleaned immediately to prevent the formation of mildew.  Natural fabrics are more susceptible to mildew, and for this reason, in wetter climates, synthetic fabrics are the better cushion choice.

4. Fade Resistant

Synthetic fabrics are generally more fade-resistant than natural fabrics.  Before purchasing cushion fabric for outdoor use, check to see if there is color on both sides.  If there is a back side that appears opaque or white, this means that the cloth pattern is simply printed on the fabric after it has been made.  This type of fabric will most likely fade rapidly when exposed to the sun or during washing.  If the fabric has the same color on both sides, the color solution is dyed throughout and will generally hold up well.  The best outdoor fabric is created using a process where the fabric fibers are dyed before the cloth is even woven.  These, 100% solution dyed fabrics, have colors that stay vibrant for much longer periods of time.

5. Comfort

Even if your outdoor cushions look gorgeous, it will be wasted if the fabric is stiff, and rough.  Make sure the cushion fabric is soft, pliant, and comfortable for relaxing outside.  Generally, solution dyed acrylics are extremely soft, and flexible, to the touch.  They are quite similar to fabric used indoors for cushions.  Spun polyester fabric has a tendency to be non-pliable and stiff.

6. Pattern

Choose the patterns of fabric that complement your backyard environment.  There is a large selection of solid, striped, flowered, and geometric patterns in a huge variety of colors.  Narrowing down the massive selection by pattern, may be the hardest choice you have to make about fabric.

Choosing the right outdoor cushion fabric for your furniture saves you money, time, and aggravation, in the long run.  Outdoor fabrics keep getting better, and the right fabric, will serve you beautifully for years.