We all love to sit outside in the sun, and Australia is a great place to relax on your outdoor cushions and soak up the warmth. But all that sun, the (occasional) shower, and dirt, dust & pollutants in the air can play havoc with your outdoor furniture, in particular your outdoor cushions.
Luckily modern outdoor fabrics provide a wide range of stylish and colourful options that are perfect for outdoor use. But can they really be left outside all the time? The answer is, it depends, and we’ll explain. However, one rule that we always stress is that no matter what type of outdoor cushions you have, they will last longer if you put them away when not in use.
Why does it depend? It comes down to a mix of what type of fabric you have, and where is it being left.
There are a range of fabrics available, and they vary in price. Polyester fabrics come in various guises, are relatively cheap, but most are prone to fading over time. Then there is Olefin and Acrylic. Both of these are solution dyed, meaning they keep their colour for the life of the fabric. Olefin tends to be harder wearing, and is generally cheaper than acrylic, so is a popular choice for our custom outdoor cushions. Olefin also has anti-mould and mildew treatments, so if your outdoor cushions get wet, it can help prevent mould and mildew developing. And if all else fails, you can always throw your Olefin covers in the washing machine. Of course Olefin comes at a price, so it is not always possible to get custom outdoor chair or lounge cushions made in this fabric. This is where it helps to understand where the cushions will be left.
If your outdoor cushions will be exposed to full sun, rain, and all the pollutants in our modern atmosphere, then we highly recommend you store your cushions when not in use – no matter what fabric you use. Doing so will give you years of enjoyment. This can be done by getting a cover to go over your outdoor furniture, or simply by using an outdoor storage container. There are some great styles and colours available these days which will not look out of place in your outdoor area.
(If your covers do get really wet, remove the cover as soon as possible and allow both the insert and outdoor cushion cover to dry thoroughly. This will reduce the chance of mould/mildew developing).
In some situations, your covers will be outdoors but under cover. So rain or water is not a problem. The only consideration here is how much sun the covers will get. If your back yard haven gets a lot of sun, then we recommend Olefin, as you can pretty much leave your outdoor cushions outside all the time. (Keep in mind that dirt in our air will mean you will have to wash them every so often). You can still use polyester cushions in this situation, but keep in mind ‘the more sun, the quicker they will fade / degrade’. So putting them away when not in use will help your outdoor cushions last longer.
(One other consideration to keep in mind is whether you have a pool. Chlorine can reduce the life of your covers. So here, we recommend Olefin again as it is also Chlorine resistant).
In summary, you can leave Olefin outdoor cushions outside all the time, but we don’t recommend it – particularly if they will be exposed to rain. Depending on the fabric (with Olefin/Acrylic and polyester being the main ones), it will severely reduce the life of your cushions, and mould/mildew can develop. Where your cushions will be is an important consideration, so every situation is different. If you can, we strongly recommend you store your outdoor cushions when not in use – either under a cover that goes over your outdoor furniture, or in a storage container.
If you’d like a quote to replace your outdoor cushion overs, send us a message