How to Care for Sunbrella Fabrics

This How to Care for Sunbrella Fabrics post was updated in August 2022.

Ballard Designs outdoor furniture with Sunbrella fabricsThe How to Decorate Team has received quite a few inquiries on the care of Sunbrella fabric. Our customers are now using Sunbrella fabric for indoor decorating. They are having their sofas, chairs and pillows covered in the durable and lasting fabric. We thought it was a good time to post Sunbrella’s Care Guide to help our Ballard customers keep their furniture looking fresh and new.

Learn how to care for sunbrella fabric pillowsRemovable Cushion Covers and Slip Covers

One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella® brand fabrics looking good and to delay deep or vigorous cleanings is to properly maintain the fabrics. This can be accomplished by simply brushing off dirt before it becomes embedded in the fabrics, wiping up spills as soon as they occur or spot cleaning soon after stains occur.

Hand washing

  • Soak fabric in a solution of 1/4 cup mild soap per gallon of lukewarm water.
  • Use a sponge or a soft bristle brush as necessary.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  • Air dry.

Machine washing

  • Machine wash in cold water with mild laundry soap.
  • Allow Sunbrella to air dry.

Spot cleaning upholstered pieces

  • Apply a light mist of mild soap and water using a spray bottle.
  • Remove stain with a sponge or very soft bristle brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  • Wet-vacuum or blot excess water.
  • Air dry, Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all soap residue is removed.

For stubborn stains and/or mildew

Sunbrella fabric does not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric.

  • Prepare a solution of 1 cup bleach and 1/4 cup of mild soap per gallon of clean water.*
  • Soak affected area in solution for 15 minutes.
  • Remove stain with a sponge, clean towel or very soft bristle brush until all soap residue is removed.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  • Air dry.

*If stain and/or mildew are severe, bleach quantities may be increased. See our Stain Chart for removal of specific stains.

Re-treating the fabric for ease of cleaning

Sunbrella fabrics have a special finish that enhances water repellency. The finish is designed to last for several years of normal use, but may be refreshed with 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™, the preferred re-treatment product for Sunbrella fabrics.

Applying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard

  • Clean Sunbrella, allow Sunbrella to completely air dry.
  • Apply 303 in a thin, even coat and allow to dry.
  • Repeat step 2.

Two light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating. A 15-ounce bottle provides coverage of up to 50 square feet of fabric. For more information, click here.

Professional cleaners

In evaluating the services of a professional firm, you should inquire about the firm’s experience in working with Sunbrella fabrics and knowledge of cleaning and re-treatment requirements.

DO NOT dry clean Sunbrella.

Helpful hints

Protect the area around your Sunbrella fabric when using a bleach solution – bleach may discolor non-Sunbrella fabrics. Always rinse Sunbrella thoroughly to completely remove bleach and soap.

  • Sunbrella air dries very quickly.
  • Machine drying is not necessary.

DO NOT use a steamer or an iron with steam setting. If wrinkles are a concern, use an iron set to “synthetic fabric” heat.

Sunbrella Stain Chart

This chart contains our recommended cleaning methods of Sunbrella® fabric for some of the most common and toughest stains. You may also use Carbona Stain Devil cleaning products. Available from national retailers, Carbona provides 9 formulas made to get out different types of stains. Apply the number indicated for your stain.

Cleaning chart for Sunbrella blog

Download the cleaning chart here and shop all Sunbrella Performance Fabrics on our site. For more inspiration, read these helpful posts below:

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How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Kathy Briscoe

    July 11, 2015

    I have gold sun brella slip overs that I want to dye dark gray. Will it work? What kind of dye should I use?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 22, 2015

      Kathy, We would not suggest that you dye your Sunbrella slipcovers. This is not something we’ve ever tried before so we have no information as to whether it would work. Best not to risk it!!

  2. Reply


    October 27, 2014

    I have a white Ballard sectional that has literally been destroyed by my dogs’ dirty faces! They constantly brush up against the skirt. I also have a 2 year old that doesn’t exactly help the situation. I wanted to get a new couch and chairs with Sunbrella fabric in hopes that the fabric will be more durable and stain resistant. Am I being crazy in thinking that I can get upholstered items? Or should I get slipcovered? I didn’t have a good experience with the slipcovered couch anyway because the zippers tore off. Let me know!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      October 28, 2014

      Hi Sally,
      We’re so sorry to hear that your sectional has taken a beating. I think outdoor fabric is a fantastic idea for your next couch. Maybe talk with our Design Solutions team. They should be able to help you find the most durable fabric options. Plus, it’s a totally free service! Simply complete this form, and our DS team will contact you with some suggestions!
      Best of Luck,
      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Reply


    April 30, 2014

    Would you advise how to clean Sunbrella fabric on the box-edge fast-dry cushions that are NOT removable.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 25, 2015

      Hi Sue,
      You can find care instructions for Sunbrella fabrics here.

  4. Reply


    June 20, 2011

    we are going to have summer slip covers made for our living room furniture. i would like to use a creamy white color with a coral colored welt and was thinking of using sunbrella- soft and comfortable enough for indoor use? thanks

  5. Reply


    June 17, 2011

    How do you get pine sap/tar out of sunbrella fabric?

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      June 21, 2011

      Pat: If you go to our article on Sunbrella Fabrics in the How To Section of Style Studio – go to the 3rd page of the article – there is a guide to get stains out of Sunbrella fabrics and one of the listings is Tree Sap. Follow the directions and the stain should come out.
      The Style Studio Team

  6. Reply


    June 10, 2011

    I have some Sunbrella-covered outdoor chair cushions. I know that leaving them out in the rain will not damage the fabric, but will the cushions themselves dry quickly after a heavy rain? Thanks!

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      June 13, 2011

      Emily: Although Sunbrella fabric is water repellant, it should be retreated every couple of years to maintain the water repellancy. Sunbrella recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard to be applied in two light coatings rather than one heavy coating. This should keep your Sunbrella fabric looking new and maintain the water repellant nature of the fabric. Sunbrella is designed to repel the rain and dry quickly so we think you should enjoy it for many years to come.
      The Style Studio Team

  7. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    September 1, 2010

    Dear Susan: We recommend that you contact Sunbrella directly for some guidance on dying your Sunbrella fabric. You can contact them at We would love to know what you find out regarding your fabric. Keep in touch and let us know.
    Tha Style Studio Team

  8. Reply

    Susan C

    August 31, 2010

    My Sunbrella fabric has faded due to the direct sunlight living on the water. Can you die the fabric?

  9. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    August 27, 2010

    Dear Rhonda: Sunbrella fabrics have come a long way. They are now as versatile as any other fabric. We love the colors and the feel of the Sunbrella fabrics. As with any fabric that you choose, we suggest ordering a swatch before you make a decision.
    The Style Studio Team

  10. Reply


    August 27, 2010

    Could Sunbrella fabrics be used for drapery(i.e. valance)indoors? Or is the fabric considered too heavy?

  11. Reply

    Style Studio Team

    July 13, 2010

    Dear Laurie: Thank you for your recent question. Although Sunbrella is a perfect choice because of it fade resistance, the fabric is very tightly woven and would probably be opaque, with little or no sun coming through. We hope this answers your question.
    The Style Studio Team

  12. Reply


    July 11, 2010

    I need a sun/fade resistant bright color fabric to stretch over the back of a carved wooden screen which hangs inside a very sunny front window. I would like the light to come through, but don’t want the bright color to fade. Would this be something I could use Sunbrella for?

  13. Reply

    Style Studio Team

    July 7, 2010

    Mary: You can look at the stain guide in this article and there is a paragraph on mildew removal. Follow directions carefully and you should be successful.
    The Style Studio Team

  14. Reply

    Mary Baker

    July 7, 2010

    My chair cushions have been left outside and have mildew stains. How do I clean to remove these stains?

  15. Reply

    June Parker

    July 4, 2010

    Is it possible to paint sunbrella fabric? I have an aumbrella that is faded,but the overall condition of the fabric is good.I like the original red color.

  16. Reply

    Style Studio Team

    June 28, 2010

    Cydney: The fringe on your Sunbrella fabric pillows is spun from Sunbrella yarns, so the fringe is made of the same material. The pillows can certainly be left out and they can get wet. So enjoy the summer and don’t worry about the pillows! They are designed to be outside. Hope this answers your questions.
    The Style Studio Team

  17. Reply

    cydney smith

    June 27, 2010

    i purchased sunbrella pillows with sunbrella fringe trim from ballard design..can these get wet with the fringe?…I am afraid to leave them outside.

  18. Reply

    Style Studio Team

    June 26, 2010

    Dear Candace: Sunbrella Fabrics are 54″ in width.
    The Style Studio Team

  19. Reply


    June 26, 2010

    What is the width of your Sunbrella fabric when purchasing by the yard?

  20. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    May 26, 2010

    Dear Karen: There are a few purple Sunbrella fabrics. If you go online to the Sunbrella website, click onto fabric showroom, then you should be able to view them. You can ask where those fabrics are sold in your area. Hope this information helps.
    The Style Studio Team

  21. Reply

    Karen Roberts

    May 24, 2010

    Is there a reason I can never find Sunbrella fabric in shades of purple? It seems like such a logical choice for a color for outdoors, but I have never been able to find it.

  22. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    May 23, 2010

    Dear Suzanne: Sunbrella fabrics are made to withstand the outdoor environment. Maintaining the fabric on a regular basis will keep it looking great for a long time. It is designed to be left outside. It dries very quickly and resists mildew and fading. We hope that you enjoy your Sunbrella fabric for years to come.
    the Style Studio Team

  23. Reply

    suzanne stewart

    May 23, 2010

    Can Sunbrella cushions be left out in the rain or do they need to be put away after each use and kept dry? My current table never looks good because I can’t/don’t put the cushions out unless we are going are entertaining. Thanks.

  24. Reply


    May 2, 2010

    great post as usual!

  25. Reply

    Style Studio Team

    April 26, 2010

    Carrie: According to the stain remover guide which is Sunbrella’s guidelines, it recommends using Pine Power or pine oil detergent and water – mix as dierected. This Sunbrella Fabric Guide is a great resouce, so keep it handy.
    The Style Studio Team

  26. Reply

    Ballard Designs

    April 19, 2010

    Dear Carrie: To remove suntan oil from Sunbrella Fabrics, Sunbrella recommends a pine oil detergent mixed with water as directed.
    The Style Studio

  27. Reply

    Carrie Stewart

    April 19, 2010

    Is there a good way to get suntan oil out of sunbrella fabric?

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