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Understanding Fabric Types for Wicker Furniture Cushions

Many indoor and outdoor wicker furniture collections include cushions for backs, seats and for ottomans. They come in standard color and pattern selections that are typically included in the price but with options to upgrade. The various grades may be listed as letters, as in A-G, or as deluxe, premium and premium plus. Manufacturers will differ in how they categorize their products. Fabrics outside the standard range typically receive some additional protective treatments for higher stain and fade resistance. They may also be a hardier material. In many cases, the grade may be an indicator of the cost of production, a tighter weave, heavier weight, higher thread count; the type of fibers used and expected performance. Standard fabrics remain highly durable, but with some limitations regarding placement and use.

Fabric Types for Indoor and Outdoor Cushions

Solution-dyed acrylics are among the best choices for heavy use and for active families. During manufacturing, pigmentation is added to produce vibrant colors that resist fading. These fabrics boast easy maintenance, typically with mild soap and warm water applied by sponge. Quick drying is another bonus. If covers are removable, they can be laundered in a washing machine.

Enhanced polyester is another option for outdoors or sunrooms. Fabrics are treated specifically to resist fading from UV rays, but they may also have high resistance to staining.

Standard polyester fabrics, typically found as Grade A selections, are reliable and somewhat softer than acrylics, but they should not be exposed to chlorine from pools. They may fade a little faster than some other fabric choices but are still designed to wear well.

Spun polyester is a pigment printed fabric that is durable but rated for light to moderate use. If placed in direct sunlight, some fading will occur over time.

Polypropylene is another synthetic, but is classified as plastic. Also called olefin, it offers stiffer performance and is waterproof for outdoor use. It resists mold and fading, but will lose some color with sun exposure and use.

In the Premium Plus category, faux dupione silks, which are actually acrylic fibers, provide an upscale feel and are rated for commercial locations. Tough enough to remain outdoors, these faux fabrics resist fading and have the added advantage of being resistant to suntan lotions and other greasy substances.

Sailcloth, also rated as Premium Plus, is a commercial-rated fabric for indoor or outdoor use. As a solution-dyed acrylic, it is a popular choice in homes with kids and pets. Bolder in texture, the checkerboard weave is somewhat nubby, but the fibers remain soft and pliable. Treated for resistance to fading and staining, it is breathable, which prevents condensation on inner filler.

Natural fibers include cotton, linen and hemp, and they can combine with synthetics for added strength. Organics are durable, but tend to wear less evenly as compared to manmade materials. They are more susceptible to mildew development and fading.

Outdura and Sunbrella are brand manufacturers of various grades in marine materials along with fabrics for indoor and outdoor cushions. Both companies produce premium textiles and materials for the residential and commercial markets.

When selecting wicker furniture with cushions included, look for product details that rate pieces for use in residential or commercial and hospitality locations. Commercial-grade cushion fabrics and fillers along with furniture frames themselves will typically provide a longer warranty period. The warranty may be voided on residential-rated furniture and fabrics if used commercially.

All cushion fabrics, regardless of quality, construction or grade, will wear out eventually. To prolong life outdoors, take cushions in during the winter if not in use. Indoors or outside, always clean stains as soon as possible. Follow cleaning recommendations for the particular fabric. Some may require professional treatment, but most should never by dry-cleaned.