How to Clean Sunbrella® Fabric

Item # X-HT-300064

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!

Learn how to clean Sunbrella fabric, like the fabric used on this dodger

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, slipcovers 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, or spray with 303® Multi-Surface Cleaner. Clean with a soft bristled brush, allowing the cleaning solution to soak into the fabric. Rinse to remove all soap and allow to air dry.

Spot Cleaning

Spot clean spills and stains off Sunbrella fabric

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, start by blotting liquid spills with a clean, dry cloth. For an oil-based spill, apply an absorbent substance like cornstarch and then remove with a straight edge. Then apply a light mist of mild soap and water to the spot using a spray bottle. Rinse the fabric thoroughly to remove soap residue and allow to air dry. If your first try doesn’t get the stain completely out, repeat the process, this time working the soap solution into the stain with a sponge or very soft bristled brush.

Heavy Cleaning for Stubborn Stains & 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. Blot set-in stains with a sponge or a clean towel. If cleaning mildew all over, clean the entire surface area with a sponge, clean towel or a soft-bristled brush. Then rinse the fabric thoroughly to remove all soap residue and allow the fabric to air dry. You can alter the bleach quantities if the stain or mildew is especially severe.

Re-Treating Sunbrella Fabric

After a thorough cleaning, re-treat Sunbrella with 303 Fabric Guard

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 and see it in use in our "Retreating Sunbrella— Which Side Is the Outside?" post (200678XHT).

Watch our short video below on Sunbrella cleaning methods:

Additional Tips & 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 is damaging to polyester thread. Bleach cleaning is best for items sewn with Lifetime Thread.

You can find even more in-depth care and cleaning instructions from Sunbrella on the product pages of each fabric. Be sure to browse our full selection of Sunbrella Upholstery and Sunbrella Marine Grade Fabrics right here at Sailrite®.