Custom Fabric Outdoor Umbrellas -Awning Grade Vs Furniture Grade
Outdoor fabrics come in a huge variety of colors and patterns. Most people may not realize they have more than one choice in outdoor fabrics. Outdoor fabrics come in furniture and awning grade. The same colors are often available in both categories. The fabric grade has a nice tight weave that makes it water repellent, but not water resistant. The color is actually added to the fabric when it is in a liquid state, which keeps it from fading. The furniture outdoor fabric is great for outdoor cushions or outdoor drapes and comes with a standard 5 year warranty against fading.
Outdoor awning grade fabric is woven with a tighter weave than the furniture grade. This allows the awning fabric, or marine grade as it is sometimes called, to be even more water repellent and keep its color longer. It is heavier and thicker than furniture fabric. The coloring process is the same as the furniture fabric, but since it is woven a little tighter, the awning or marine fabric is backed by a 10 year warranty against fading. The marine/ awning grade is great for outdoor umbrellas, both patio umbrellas and market umbrellas. Another typical application is for boat cushions or outdoor cushions for pool furniture.
When you are looking to order any kind of outdoor furniture or cushions, keep in mind the kind of fabric you want. Furniture grade is not as stiff, but the awning fabric has twice the warranty. The difference in cost is usually fairly small, only adding about less than 10% to the price.
Caring For Outdoor Fabric Upholstery
Quality outdoor fabrics generally have some level of stain resistance, durability, and water repelling properties. Most high-end patio furniture will be upholstered with this fabric since it is so respected in the industry. That being said, it is best to follow these guidelines to maximize the longevity of your cushions and pillows:
General or Light Cleaning
Outdoor fabrics should be cleaned regularly and consistently. Any spills should be tended to early on, before the substance have the chance to accumulate and be rubbed in, embedding themselves in the fabric. This on-going maintenance will eradicate the need for more frequent and vigorous cleanings. Most exterior-grade fabrics are designed to be resistant to mold, mildew, UV, and stains. However, it should be cleaned regularly to prevent the need for more fervent cleaning.
Please follow these steps for cleaning:
-Remove any loose dirt and/ or debris.
-Prepare a cleaning solution of 2 ounces (1/4 cup) mild detergent per gallon of semi-warm water (under 100°F/38°C).
-Use a sponge or a soft bristle brush to clean, use light stokes to brush on the solution in the same direction as the weave of the fabric.
-Allow cleaning solution to soak into fabric for a few minutes.
-Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Most hoses have attachments that can be very helpful during this process.
-Allow fabric to air dry.
For removable outdoor fabric umbrella canopies and cushion covers that are machine-washable: wash on cold water setting (less than 100°F/38°C). Use an appropriate amount of mild laundry detergent. Allow fabric to air dry, do not put in the dryer.
-Apply a light mist of cleaning solution, given above, using a misting spray bottle.
-Gently work in the solution into the stain by lightly blotting and brushing the affected area with a sponge or very soft bristle brush.
-Rinse completely with clean, cool water.
-Blot out excess moisture with a clean, soft towel or sponge. You may also use a Wet Vac to remove excess moisture.
-Repeat these steps until stain is removed. Patience is key!
Heavy Cleaning for Stubborn Stains and Mildew
Mildew may grow on dirt and other debris that are not removed from the fabric in a timely manner. To clean mildew, or other stubborn stains:
-Prepare a solution of 8 ounces (1 cup) of rubbing alcohol and 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of mild soap per gallon (8 cups) of clean water.
-Spray on entire area and allow to soak into the fabric.
-Scrub vigorously with a soft bristle brush, sponge, or clean towel.
-Rinse thoroughly with clean cool water.
-Allow fabric to air dry.
If a stain and/or mold or mildew are severe, bleach may be used in very small amounts. Do be frugal in the use of bleach, however, as it has potential to damage the fabric when used in larger concentrations.
Retreating the Fabric
Most fabrics have a special finish guard that adds to the fabrics ability to repel water. The finish is created to last for several years of normal use, However, it may need to be reapplied after a thorough cleaning or extended use. Retreating with a spray-on fabric guard is highly recommended.
For more information please see the manufacturer’s website.
In evaluating the services of a professional cleaner, inquire about the professional’s experience in cleaning exterior fabrics and in re-treatment requirements. DO NOT have fabrics dry-cleaned.