How to clean your outdoor furniture fabrics - Pro-Tips

It’s not always easy to keep outdoor furniture sling fabrics and cushions pristine and ready for guests. Your outdoor patio furniture puts up with a lot. Not only is it outside all day exposed to dirt and susceptible to fading from sunlight, but your patio furniture is also a likely host to a variety of stains. One spilled glass of red wine, a hot dog dropped ketchup-side down, or too much greasy sunblock and suddenly your once-beautiful outdoor patio furniture is loaded with stubborn stains. Your furniture is also exposed to dampness from rain showers which could be a recipe for mold and mildew.

But what if you could maintain your outdoor furniture’s beauty for many years to come? Fortunately, Phifer’s outdoor furniture fabrics are stain and mold resistant and easy to clean.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to show you how to clean Phifer outdoor furniture fabrics quickly and easily.

Outdoor Furniture Fabric Cleaning:
Best Practices

There are a few general rules about how to clean patio or pool furniture fabric without damaging it.


Don’t wait to tackle stains and spills.

Reach for your outdoor fabric cleaning solution as soon as you notice a spill or stain. The less time something has to seep into fabric, the better. Ideally, if you can catch it before it dries, you’ll get better results.


Brush off excess dirt before wetting fabric.

Any dried, caked-on mess should be removed before you start scrubbing to ensure it isn’t ground further into the fabric.


Dip your cloth, sponge, or scrub brush into your cleaning solution. 

Don't pour it on. Applying cleaning solution on a soft cloth or scrubbing device allows you to use just as much as you need directly on the fabric stain without excess moisture soaking into it.


Give your DIY cleaning solution time to sink in.

Be sure that your solution has thoroughly soaked into the spot on the fabric to allow time for it to work and lift the stain.


Scrub gently with a soft bristled brush.

Small, circular motions will help to loosen stains that cling to fabric fibers. Avoid scrubbing too hard to avoid wear and tear on the fabric.


Rinse with plain water after washing.

No matter what cleaning solution you use to remove a stain, it’s important to make sure that you rinse your fabric thoroughly. Any soap, bleach, or cleaning product residue left behind has the potential to cause streaking or discoloration.


Allow your furniture ample airflow while it dries.

Fabric that remains damp for long periods of time is more likely to cause mold and mildew. Stand cushions on their side while they dry and turn them as necessary to allow them to dry evenly and completely.


Hypoallergenic and Organic Cleaning Options for Outdoor Furniture

Wondering how to clean patio furniture fabric naturally? Most of our recommended stain solutions use common household ingredients such as vinegar and water, which is a great alternative to chemical-heavy commercial cleaning products. They are more gentle on your fabric too. By mixing warm water with an organic dishwashing soap (look for the USDA certified organic label) you can easily clean most stains.

Specific Cleaning Instructions for Common Outdoor Furniture Stains

Most messes can be mopped up with plain old dish soap and water, but some stains require special treatment. Here are some recommended approaches to the usual stain suspects. Follow these tips whenever you need to clean Phifertex outdoor fabrics.


  • Ketchup or Mustard
  • Coffee or Tea
  • Milk
  • Cola
  • Grape Juice
  • Kool-Aid
  • Raw Egg
  • Bird Droppings

Suggested cleaning solution:

Combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) dishwashing liquid per gallon (3.8 L) of water.


  • Beer
  • Food Coloring
  • Urine
  • Vomit

Suggested cleaning solution:

Combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) dishwashing liquid and 1/3 cup (80 mL) white vinegar per gallon (3.8 L) of water.


  • Butter
  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Salad Dressing
  • Suntan Lotion
  • Paint (Wet/Dried – latex, oil, lacquer)
  • Liquid Shoe Polish
  • Tomato Juice
  • Tree Sap

Suggested cleaning solution:

Apply cornstarch to absorb as much as possible, remove excess with a straight edge and clean remaining residue with a mild dishwashing liquid and water solution


  • Charcoal
  • Pencil Marks

Suggested cleaning solution:

How to Remove Mold and Mildew Stains from Outdoor Furniture Fabric

Mold and mildew stains are common enemies of outdoor fabric and should be addressed quickly. Phifer designer outdoor fabrics are treated with Microban® anti-microbial protection which works continuously to slow the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew on outdoor furniture -- even in damp conditions.

Whether you have outdoor furniture that is made with Phifertex treated with Microban, you still need to do some regular cleaning and maintenance to make sure it stays mold and mildew free. Here’s how to clean mold from your outdoor furniture sling fabrics and cushions:

First, brush off mold and mildew spots with a dry scrub brush or broom, removing as much dusty residue as possible. Combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) dishwashing liquid and 1 cup (236.6 mL) bleach per gallon (3.8 L) of water. Spray onto affected areas with a spray bottle, saturating the fabric. If possible, allow to sit in the sun for 15 minutes, and then scrub gently with a soft-bristle brush until the spots disappear. Rinse with water and allow to air dry.

If Your Outdoor Furniture Fabric Is a Lost Cause, Choose Replacement Fabric You Will Love

Sometimes a stain simply won’t budge and you will need to replace your fabric. With our comprehensive range of designer outdoor fabrics backed by a 3-year limited warranty, you can refresh your outdoor area with an exciting new look.

Choose from our:

  • Slingable & Multi-Purpose Fabrics - Phifer’s slingable fabric collection is both beautiful and rugged, carefully engineered with the stability and strength needed to hold up to the tension of sling furniture and many other outdoor and sporting applications.
  • Wall Covering Fabrics - For interior walls or upholstery, our designer wall covering fabrics are attractive, hard-wearing and easy to clean.

Saving Money by Keeping Up with Your Outdoor Furniture Fabric Maintenance