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Seeking and Maintaining Outdoor Textiles

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Australia’s climate allows for outdoor dining and relaxation for much of the year. Long sunny days, breezy afternoons and hot rainy nights call for the highest quality materials for outdoor furniture. Cosh Living takes us through the basics of selecting the right outdoor fabrics with care.
 

It is crucial to ensure the fabric you choose for your outdoor furniture has the content and characteristics required to withstand the elements. With the right care and maintenance, high-quality outdoor fabric will maintain its appearance for many years, giving you the best possible return on your investment.

MATERIALS TO LOOK FOR

SOLUTION-DYED ACRYLIC:

Solution-dyed acrylic fibre is a manmade fibre. UV-stabilised colour is added during the manufacturing of the fibre. Unlike dye that sits at the surface of natural fibre, the colouring of the acrylic extends all the way to the centre of every fibre, staying true over time.

Acrylic can be recycled, and these fabrics offer a uniquely interesting texture. If you look closely you’ll see flecks through the fabrics, evidence of the recycled fibre.

SOLUTION-DYED POLYOLEFIN:

Some of our most popular fabrics offer a very natural appearance, though deceivingly, they are made of 100 per cent solution-dyed polyolefin. A by-product of the petroleum refining process, colour is inherent in polyolefin – right to the core of every fibre – again giving ultimate resistance against fading.

ENSURE UV, MILDEW & WEAR RESISTANCE

UV RESISTANCE:

For the Australian sun, selecting an outdoor textile with a high UV resistance is important. UV resistance is measured by exposing a fabric to extreme levels of UV for a time, and comparing against a control material, that is, against a material already known to have a certain resistance against fading. Most of the fabrics in the Cosh offering have received the highest possible score of 7-8 out of 8.

MILDEW AND STAIN RESISTANCE:

Fibres used in our fabrics offering are inherently mildew and stain resistant. The threads do not absorb moisture, and when combined with our quick dry foams, offer a solution for all weather conditions.

WEAR:

The wear of fabrics is measured by the ‘Martindale’ rating for abrasion resistance. This test rubs a fabric over and over again, and notes when the fabric starts to show distress. The higher the Martindale, the hardier the fabric. Nothing under 10,000 will be appropriate for upholstery! This test assists in selection of the right fabric for every setting. Commercial settings like hotels and restaurants have a lot of use, and will demand high Martindales. Similarly, the family’s favourite outdoor daybed, which is used by the kids, their friends and the dog – will require a high Martindale count too.

CARE, MAINTENANCE & SUPPORT

All furnishings, indoor and especially outdoor, require regular care maintenance to perform at their best. No material is completely immune to fading over time, and though high-quality outdoor fabrics are extremely resilient, regular care will maximise their lifespan.

Regular cleaning will prevent the build-up of any dust, leaf and bird litter, and any resulting mildew, from settling into the weave of the fabric. Apart from keeping the fabric looking and feeling its best, this will reduce any extra friction when the furniture is in use.

A vacuum or a standard garden hose, is a great way to remove surface dust.

A mild, diluted detergent, and a soft cloth or soft brush may be used to remove any marks. Cushions should then be hosed down very thoroughly with a hose, and left to dry in open air.

If desired, removable covers can be cleaned by washing machine. In this case, they should be refitted while still damp, to allow for shaping across the cushions.

When removable, cushions should be stored in a dry, covered space during rainy weather or off season, to maximise the life of the fabric and foams. Crucially, although the cushions are designed to get wet, they should not be left damp for a period of time.

 

For more information, and to view Cosh Living’s range of outdoor furniture and textiles, visit coshliving.com.au.

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