One of the first things we often hear when asking a client about their space or how they want to use it is, “I don’t want cushions”. While we are quick to respect their wishes, we also want to make sure that today’s consumer knows the amazing durability and cleanability of todays outdoor cushions and fabrics!
Although many attempts have been made to reduce or eliminate cushions from outdoor furniture there is simply nothing on the market today that comes close to offering the comfort of a plush outdoor cushion.
Like many things in life, much of what you are paying for lies “under the hood”. Let’s start at the center of the cushion and work our way out to yes, the WHITE outdoor fabric.
At the core of a high-quality outdoor cushion will be a piece of foam (with the proper compression!) nearly as thick as the cushion itself. We often see import cushions that have a foam core just an inch or two thick and covered with a thick fiber batting. While at first impressions, these cushions look very nice and honestly sit ok, the fiber batting quickly compresses in just a year or so leaving the homeowner with half of the cushion they thought they were buying. This results in an uncomfortable, sloppy looking cushion. While fiber wrapping is added to most of our cushions, it is simply a small top and bottom layer to help fill out the corners and reduce wrinkles.
Obviously, foam, if left out in the rain will turn into a large sponge, soaking up water and not drying out for days. Every manufacturer in the industry seems to have their own way to deal with this and some simply ignore this potential problem. Casual Furniture World’s cushions feature a sonic welded water-resistant ticking (think bag, but not the plastic crinkly type) protecting the core of the cushion. This amazing material is breathable but extremely water repellent. We sonic weld the seams of this bag to eliminate puncture holes from sewing. This protects any water that does potentially penetrate the outdoor fabric from ever reaching the core of the cushion.
The next step in the process is the outdoor fabric. A separate BLOG could be written about these amazing materials. To summarize, modern day solution dyed acrylic and polyester fabrics have the color dyed into them at the liquid level, before they are spun into a yarn. This means the color is throughout each individual fiber making them extremely resistant to fading. Many top name brands such as Sunbrella or Outdura have warranties ranging from 5 to 10 years. The acrylic nature of the fiber itself (think plastic bottle) fiber is extremely resistant to absorbing new colors (stains) and can be cleaned fairly aggressively with all natural cleaners and even bleach for the most stubborn of stains. The fabrics are nearly water resistant themselves due to the weaving process and treatments that are applied at the factory.
We recently performed a test in which we poured red wine directly onto a white cushion. After waiting a few seconds, we wiped the wine with a paper towel and scrubbed the area with just a little water and a rag. NO STAIN!
So, to answer the question, “Can I really have white cushions outdoors” the answer is ABSOLUTELY. While high quality outdoor cushions can take almost anything you and mother nature can throw at them, keep in mind that everyday dirt and grim are more visible on light color fabrics.
If you would like to keep your white cushions looking brand new, we do recommend protective covers or one of our many cushion storage solutions.
About the Author:
Josh Rowell is the VP of Casual Furniture World and President of Triad Cushion Factory. He over 14 years of experience of retail and management experience in the outdoor living space and over 5+ in manufacturing outdoor cushions.