How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric

One of the big selling points of Sunbrella fabric, besides its legendary durability, is how easy it is to clean. It won’t be stained by chocolate, marker, red wine or other hard to remove stain causers. With regular, light maintenance Sunbrella fabrics will stay looking great for years to come. We’ve put together this handy guide for you to know exactly how to care for your Sunbrella fabric so you won’t have to worry about life’s messes!

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General Cleaning

All Sunbrella fabrics need to be cleaned now and then to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. Different uses and lines of Sunbrella have slightly different general care methods.

Sunbrella Upholstery fabric can be used indoors on upholstered furniture pieces but also on removable items like pillow covers, cushion covers, slip covers and draperies. To clean these removable pieces, you can wash them by hand or toss them in the washing machine. To hand wash, soak the fabric in a solution of 1/4 cup mild soap per gallon of lukewarm water. Use a sponge or soft bristled brush to agitate fabric if necessary and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Sunbrella can also be machine washed in cold water with a mild detergent. Always allow Sunbrella to air dry.

For general care of Sunbrella Upholstery fabric on outdoor furniture, brush off any loose dirt from the fabric and prepare a solution of 1/4 cup mild soap per gallon of lukewarm water. Use a sponge or soft bristled brush to clean, allowing the solution to soak into the fabric. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue and allow to air dry.

Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric on your boat covers and tops requires some routine maintenance, too. To clean your marine tops, brush off loose dirt from the surface of the fabric and hose down. Prepare a cleaning solution of water and mild soap like Woolite or Dawn dishwashing liquid or spray with 303 Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner. Clean with a soft bristled brush allowing the cleaning solution to soak into fabric. Rinse to remove all soap and allow to air dry.

Spot Cleaning

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Stains happen and sometimes you’ll need to clean your indoor and outdoor upholstered fabric pieces. Here’s how to spot clean your Sunbrella.

To spot clean upholstered pieces, apply a light mist of mild soap and water to the spot using a spray bottle. Remove any stains with a very soft bristle brush or a sponge and rinse the area to remove soap residue. Wet-vacuum or blot away excess water and allow to air dry. Repeat steps if necessary.

Heavy Cleaning for Stubborn Stains and Mildew

While Sunbrella does not promote mildew growth, dirt on the fabric can grow its own mildew. To remove it and other set-in stains, you may need to clean with bleach. To do this, prepare a solution of 1 cup bleach and 1/4 cup of mild soap per gallon of water and soak the stained area for 15 minutes. Use a sponge or brush to remove the stain until all the soap residue is gone and allow fabric to air dry.

You can alter the bleach quantities if the stain is especially severe. For cleaning recommendations on specific stains, see Sunbrella’s Stain Removal Chart.

Re-Treating Fabric

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Sunbrella fabrics are coated with a special finish that helps them to be stain and water resistant. After a thorough washing, the fabric should be re-treated to keep this finish fresh. After your fabric has completely air dried, apply a coat of 303 Fabric Guard. You can learn more about 303 Fabric Guard in this Restoring Water Resistance to Fabric post.

Additional Tips and Hints:

  • • Do not iron Sunbrella with a steamer or an iron set to steam. If you need to iron out wrinkles, use an iron set to “synthetic fabric.”
  • • Protect the area around your Sunbrella when cleaning with bleach.
  • • Removable outdoor pieces like cushion covers and umbrellas can be machine washed in cold water. Still allow them to air dry.
  • • Be aware of the environment when cleaning marine tops with bleach. If a bleach cleaning of your fabric is needed, it’s best to move the fabric away from bodies of water.
  • • Cleaning with bleach may affect your thread in a sewn project.

Be sure to browse our full selection of Sunbrella Upholstery and Sunbrella Marine Grade Fabrics at www.sailrite.com.

2 comments
  1. Linda said:

    I’m having difficulty finding the Fabric Calculator

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Linda,

      You can find our fabric calculator at the very bottom of any page at Sailrite.com.

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