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Outdoor Cushion Care and Winter Storage

September 14, 2018

Posted by D. A. Burns

Outdoor Cushion Care and Winter Storage

Outdoor Living

Here in the Northwest, we are known for our casual, active, outdoor lifestyle.  Outdoor living spaces and comfy seating follows right along.  But what do you do with all those outdoor cushions when the season changes and it's time to retreat indoors?  Don't worry about how to clean and store your outdoor furniture including patio cushions, outdoor umbrellas, and boat cushions this winter.  D. A. Burns offers an Outdoor Cushion Cleaning and Winter Storage service.

Here are some suggestions to keep your outdoor fabrics clean, dry, and ready to enjoy next Spring.

Preventive Outdoor Fabric Care

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Outdoor Cushions

New “performance” fabric technologies provide us with highly durable and stylish outdoor fabric choices.  These solution-dyed fabrics are woven with pigment-infused fibers, making them more resistant to moisture, mildew, and fading. These fabrics, while durable, are not completely bullet-proof.  Atmospheric pollutants, sun, and rain can shorten the life of your outdoor fabrics if preventive care and cleaning measures are not taken to protect them.

Most acrylic outdoor fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon-based water repellency finish during manufacturing which makes it easier to care for your outdoor furniture. A little TLC and a thorough, seasonal cleaning will extend the life and enjoyment of your outdoor furniture.

Do-It-Yourself Care:

  1. Regularly brush off pollen, tree needles, insect, and bird droppings. 
  2. Sponge the fabric with a solution of mild detergent and lukewarm water for a light cleaning. 
  3. Rinse thoroughly with clear water to remove the cleaning solution and allow the cushion to air dry in a well-ventilated area. 
  4. Refrain from using heat to accelerate drying.  Solution-dyed, acrylic outdoor fabrics are made of a thermoplastic fiber which is heat sensitive. 
  5. The fabric’s soil and moisture-resistant treatment will wear away with use and exposure to the elements, so we recommend reapplying fabric protector after each thorough cleaning. 
  6. Note: Outdoor "performance" fabrics should not be dry cleaned.

Patio Umbrellas

In addition to your outdoor furniture, don’t forget to care for your patio umbrella.  Like your outdoor cushions, you can lightly clean your patio umbrella using a soft-bristled brush with a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water.  To re-establish your patio umbrella’s water repellency, it is best to re-apply a recommended fabric protector after cleaning.

Here are a few additional ways to keep your umbrella in tip-top shape:

  • If high winds are expected, relocate your patio umbrella to a safe place to avoid human or property damage. 
  • Use spray lubricant occasionally to keep the moveable locks and pivots of your umbrella easy-to-maneuver. 
  • Use paste wax to restore the appearance of the wood frame of your umbrella. 

Winter Cushion Storage

Before putting away your outdoor patio and boat cushions for the winter season, they should be thoroughly cleaned. Reapplication of a fabric protector should follow the cleaning.  An annual, professional cleaning will help protect your outdoor fabric investment and extend its lifetime.

  1. Your outdoor furniture, boat cushions and covers, and patio umbrellas should be completely dry before storing.  Although outdoor furniture is typically mildew resistant, it is not mildew proof.  Mildew may develop on dirt and other environmental pollutants that are not removed from the fabric before storage.
  2. If you choose to protect your stored cushions in plastic, be certain to allow for venting to promote air circulation.  It is important to allow them to breathe to prevent moisture accumulation and mildew damage.
  3. It is important to store your clean, outdoor cushions in a safe, dry space not susceptible to insect or rodent intrusion.

By following these simple guidelines in the offseason, you can rest assured knowing that your outdoor furniture will be ready for your outdoor living enjoyment next spring.

If you’re interested, click the link to learn more about the D.A. Burns Outdoor Cushion Cleaning and Winter Storage.