It’s not always easy to keep outdoor furniture pristine and ready for guests. Your patio furniture puts up with a lot. Not only is it outside all day where it’s exposed to dirt and susceptible to fading from sunlight, but your patio furniture also faces peril in the form of summertime BBQs. All it takes is one spilled glass of red wine, a hot dog dropped ketchup-side down, or too much greasy sunblock, and suddenly your once-beautiful patio furniture is loaded with stains. Add in the dampness which comes from the occasional autumn or springtime rain shower, and you have a recipe for mold and mildew on top of everything else.


But what if you could maintain your outdoor furniture’s beauty and still enjoy good times with good people for many years to come? Happily, Phifer outdoor fabrics are stain resistant, mold resistant and easy to clean, which gives you a great head start.


To keep Phifer Designed Fabrics at their best, all they need is a little simple care from you. That’s why we’ve created this guide to show you how to clean Phifer outdoor furniture fabric quickly and easily. It will help you deal with whatever mess the great outdoors (or your family, friends and pets) might have in store.

Outdoor Fabric Cleaning: Best Practices and
Rules of Thumb

There are a few general rules about how to clean outdoor fabric that you should keep in mind when you notice that your cushions or upholstery are getting grungy. Here’s how to clean your outdoor fabric cushions easily without damaging the fabric.

Don’t wait to tackle stains and spills.

Reach for your cleaner as soon as you notice a spill or stain. The less time something has to seep into fabric the better and, 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, without excess moisture soaking into the cushion itself.

Give your cleaning solution time to sink in.

You want to be sure that your product has thoroughly soaked into the fabric so that it has time to work its magic 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 make things worse, causing streaking or discoloration.

Be sure to give your furniture ample airflow while it dries.

Fabric that remains damp for long periods of time is more likely to suffer from mold and mildew.Stand cushions on their side while they dry and turn them as necessary to allow them to dry out 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 simply use common household ingredients such as vinegar and water, which is a great alternative to chemical-heavy commercial cleaning products. They are gentler on your fabric, too. By substituting an organic dishwashing soap (look for the USDA certified organic label) you can easily clean most stains.

Specific Cleaning Instructions for Common 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 Phifer’s designer outdoor fabrics such as Phifertex® and GeoBella®.

Stain:

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

Suggested cleaning solution:

Combine 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid per gallon of water.

Stain:

  • Beer
  • Food Coloring
  • Urine
  • Vomit

Suggested cleaning solution:

Combine 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid and 1/3 cup white vinegar per gallon of water.

Stain:

  • 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 dishwashing liquid and water.

Stain:

  • Charcoal
  • Pencil Marks

Suggested cleaning solution:

How to Remove Mold and Mildew Stains from Outdoor Fabric


Mold and mildew are common enemies of outdoor fabric and should be addressed quickly, when you see the first signs. 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 Phifer Designed Fabrics 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 get mold out of outdoor 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 dishwashing liquid and 1 cup bleach per gallon 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.

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

Sometimes a stain simply won’t budge. You can try taking it to a professional cleaner to see if they can work their magic, but if they fail, you will likely need to replace your fabric. Phifer has created comprehensive guides to reupholstering your outdoor furniture yourself and, with our spectacular range of designer outdoor fabrics, you can refresh your outdoor area with an exciting new look that will make you smile with pride every time you sit on your porch. Better yet, Phifertex®  fabrics are backed by a 3-year limited warranty. 


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Saving Money by Keeping Up with Fabric Maintenance