We’re finally approaching warmer weather, and that means it’s time to break out the grills, coolers, and outdoor patio furniture. Between the sun, your neighbors, and family, your patio furniture is bound to see a lot of traffic this season. If you follow these easy steps, however, you’ll get the longest life out of any outdoor fabric.
Step 1 – Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the fabric for outdoor seating. The heat and humidity in your area, how much direct sunlight your porch receives, and the amount of traffic you expect should all be a part of your decision-making process.
The length of time a dye resists fading from constant light exposure is measured in hours of lightfastness. This ranges anywhere from 500 – 2,000 hours. Different fabrics have different levels of lightfastness.
Piece-dyed fabric is dyed after the cloth has been woven. This means the color is only on the outside of the yarn and not as absorbed in areas where the fabric is woven or overlaps. This type of furniture has a short lightfastness rating.
Yarn-dyed fabric has fibers that are dipped into dye-water so the color adheres to the outside of the yarn. This treatment makes these fabrics less susceptible to fading than the piece-dyed furniture.
For the best result, however, you may want to consider solution-dyed fabric. This material is made in such a way that the color is part of the fabric. That makes it the least susceptible to fading and perfect for rooms with loads of sunlight and people.
Step 2 – Protect Your Outdoor Furniture
The year is long, and most of us don’t need our patio furniture for the entirety of it. There are ways to protect and prevent your fabrics from fading.
- Cover your cushions when not in use
- Store cushions inside during your offseason
- Don’t wrap the cushions in plastic – the fabric needs to breathe
- Use a towel to immediately wipe away suntan lotions or oils
- Keep your fabric clean to prevent mildew
Step 3 – Clean Your Outdoor Furniture
As is the case with most accidents, the method for ridding yourself of the stain depends on the type of stain you’re dealing with. When the patio party gets a little crazy, there are sure to be some spills. Luckily there are ways to keep your outdoor furniture spic and span.
For everyday dirt and light stains like ketchup, chocolate, coffee, or oil, you’ll begin by wiping away loose material with water or a soft bristle brush. To take out the stain, you’ll want to mix two capfuls of laundry detergent with a cup of water. Use that to wipe away the spill, and then let it all air dry.
For those tougher stains you’ll want to remove as much as possible with a brush, and then mix together a 1 to 10 mixture of bleach and water. Blot this solution on the stain until it’s gone. Rinse and let it air dry.
For the crazy stains like lipstick, crayons, and suntan lotion, you’ll need to use a grease remover. And never use bleach on a fabric with a print, or your risk removing the image. Use the detergent solution instead.
If you follow these three steps, you’re sure to have outdoor furniture that will last through every barbecue and late night with your loved ones.