The Best Fabric for Outdoor Furniture Cushions


Even when you buy the best and most expensive outdoor furniture that can last for decades, cushions wear out. You can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals to fix your furniture if it breaks down. You can also reupholster worn-out cushions to breathe new life into them. Let’s check out the best fabrics for outdoor furniture cushions.

The Fabrics

  1. Vinyl – Vinyl is a plastic-based fabric. However, unlike most other plastic-based fabrics, this one also has a plastic texture. While that may be a downer for some, it also makes vinyl an easy-to-clean fabric. Spills can be wiped away with a rag within seconds and stains are very rare. The cushions inside stay protected and can be maintained with a soap and water wash once in a while.

While vinyl’s moisture resistance is an advantage on outdoor cushions, it can also become a con at times. For instance, if there’s heavy rain, water can accumulate on vinyl fabric instead of soaking into the fabric. If you leave those cushions like that for a long time, there is going to be a mildew problem. However, if you like to go out on the porch and the yard often, you can immediately dry out those cushions and start using them after heavy rain.

Vinyl also boasts UV resistance. That means it can hold its color for longer periods and doesn’t get faded easily. However, when exposed to the sun for long periods, vinyl gets hot and sticky, and sitting on becomes very uncomfortable. During those hot days, your sweat pools on the vinyl fabric and that means you always have a layer of filthy germs building behind you. That’s why it’s best to use this fabric for cushions that will mostly stay under the shade.

  1. Olefin – Olefin is another plastic-based fabric. However, you’re more familiar with the name polypropylene. It’s one of the most inexpensive, common, and best fabrics you can get for outdoor cushions. The fabric is made by weaving plastic fibers and due to that, it’s incredibly resilient to stains, dust, and dirt. It is highly durable and often comes with a wax finish for resisting mold and mildew.

The disadvantage of olefin fabric is that it’s less resistant to the sun. unless olefin is blended with other plastic-based, and fade-resistant fabrics like vinyl or acrylic, it will get discolored very quickly under the sun. Olefin also has a reputation for being heavy and you may not like how it feels against your skin.

  1. Acrylic – Acrylic is another plastic-based fabric that’s perfect for outdoor use. The type of acrylic fabric that’s used for outdoor cushions is usually solution-dyed and has exceptional durability. Similar to olefin and vinyl, it is made from plastic fibers and has phenomenal UV resistance. It won’t get discolored or faded even after hundreds of hours of sun exposure.

The fabric is also resistant to mold and mildew and is versatile and flexible enough to be used on more than just cushions. However, it isn’t without its disadvantages. Unlike the other two plastic fabrics on this list, acrylic isn’t stain-resistant. While it is treated to resist stains, the fabric gets stains quickly after the treatment starts to wear off. It’s also much more expensive than most other fabrics on this list.

  1. Duck Cloth – Duck cloth has a very popular name – Canvas. It is often used to make camping and hunting gear that get a lot of abuse in extreme outdoor environments. Hence, they have top-notch durability and can also be used to reupholster cushions. It’s thick and heavy and can resist snagging or tearing. While it may feel a bit stiff and uncomfortable, it loosens over time and becomes comfortable the more you use it.

However, duck cloth isn’t the best when it comes to weather resistance. The main ingredient of duck cloth is cotton and that material doesn’t have any UV resistance. It can fade within months when constantly exposed to sunlight and also absorbs a lot of water. This means it isn’t resistant to mildew either. However, you can get duck cloth treated with a fabric protection coat to make it weather resistant.

  1. Cotton – Cotton is a highly versatile material that is used everywhere. From your clothes and sheets to your gear and cushions. Before the invention of plastic and its use in manufacturing synthetic fabrics, cotton fabrics used to dominate outdoor furnishing. Similar to polyester, it is an affordable material that is widely available and comes in all sorts of designs and colors.

While choosing cotton fabrics for outdoor cushions, get the thickest one you can get. This ensures durability. However, cotton usually is everyone’s last choice for outdoor cushions since most synthetic fabrics beat it out in terms of durability, colorfastness, water resistance, and more. People usually choose cotton fabric for upholstering their outdoor cushions when they have comfort as the top priority.

  1. Textilene – Textilene is also a synthetic fabric like acrylic and vinyl. It is made by weaving individual polyester fibers that are coated in vinyl. It has the appearance of a mesh instead of a solid fabric and is widely used for making outdoor screens and chair seats. However, it can also be used for upholstering outdoor cushions.

This fabric boasts incredible strength and durability and can last you for years when maintained properly. It’s also flame resistant, breathable, moisture-resistant, and UV-resistant. As a cherry on top, the fabric is also easy to clean. The downside is that since the fibers are coated in vinyl, they can feel a bit uncomfortable on the skin.


Cushions on outdoor furniture are exposed to the constant abuse of natural elements and that’s why the fabrics get worn down quicker. While choosing outdoor furniture cushion fabrics choose one that has high water resistance, durability, UV protection, and stain resistance. On the other hand, if your furniture breaks down, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire pros to fix it for you.