How to Pre-Treat Outdoor Fabrics


Mother Nature is unpredictable and sometimes, despite our best efforts, she can get the better of us. There’s nothing worse than a pop-up rain shower or bird droppings wreaking havoc on your outdoor cushions and pillows. We’ve found that a great way to protect your outdoor fabrics from water and stains is to pre-treat them with a fabric guard.

Fabric Guards are usually spray-on products that help add water resistance and stain repellence to a fabric. They can also offer mildew resistance and UV screening to control fading. A good pre-treatment will not affect the color, feel, or breathability of your fabric and will provide protection from water, stains, and UV rays.

If you already have some outdoor cushions in use, it’s not too late to treat them as well. Fabric guards will restore water repellency to outdoor fabrics after washing as well, including Sunbrella Fabrics.

How to Apply Fabric Guard:

  1. Test the colorfastness of the material by spraying in an inconspicuous area and wiping the area while wet to see if the color transfers.
  2. Apply on a clean and dry fabric.
  3. Spray overlapping sprays until the fabric has been evenly misted.
  4. Allow to air dry and cure for 4 to 72 hours, depending on weather conditions. (Dries best in the sun on a hot day).
  5. Mist with water to test. Water should bead up on the fabric.

We’ve found 303® Fabric Guard to be a great choice for fabric protection. It is safe to use on almost all fabrics from acrylic to cotton, even wool, suede and fine leathers. Additionally it is environmentally safe, and non-toxic and odorless when dry.

A little spritz now can make a big difference later! To get your own 303 Fabric Guard or some new outdoor fabric, head on over to

Do you pre-treat your outdoor fabrics? Leave us a comment and share your experiences!

  1. lorraine bernstein said:

    Every winter we remove all of our sunbrella from our Catalina 30′ sailboat…dodger, bimini, mainsail cover, wheel cover, etc. We wash it down with a 1-10 ratio of bleach and water. Then we let it dry completely before applying 303 protectant spray. Our canvas is about 5-6 yrs old and looks super. I highly recommend treating canvas.

    • Nikki said:

      That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing, Lorraine!

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