How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric So It'll Last a Long Time

It'll be sunny skies ahead when you clean your Sunbrella fabric or another outdoor fabric the right way. Here's how.

Published April 15, 2024
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cleaning brush on pillows in cafe bar

If you have upholstered outdoor furniture or pillows, chances are they're covered in Sunbrella fabric or a similar treated outdoor fabric that resists wear, tear, fading, and stains. And we love how durable Sunbrella fabric is. But even the most well-designed outdoor fabric gets dirty. Knowing how to clean it is essential so it lasts for a good, long time.

How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric: Regular Maintenance

One of the best things you can do for Sunbrella fabric is brush off any dirt immediately and wash it occasionally with some soap and water.

What You'll Need

For regular cleaning (once a month or more frequently if something happens to make it dirty), you'll need:


  1. Regularly brush off dirt and debris with a hand broom.
  2. For heavier soil, use a wet/dry vac to suck up all the dirt.
  3. Add about ¼ cup of Dawn to a gallon of lukewarm water.
  4. Dip the scrub brush in the solution and use it to lightly scrub the Sunbrella fabric.
  5. Use a hose to rinse thoroughly.
  6. Air dry.
Helpful Hack

Sunbrella also has its own line of cleaning products for its fabric. 

How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric if You Spill Something Non-Greasy

Spills happen. The trick to saving your Sunbrella is to clean it up right away so it doesn't have time to soak in and set.

What You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle
  • 1 tablespoon Dawn
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon isopropyl alcohol
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Hose with spray nozzle


  1. Blot up as much of the stain as you can with paper towels. Don't scrub, because it could push the stain further into the fabric.
  2. In a spray bottle, combine the Dawn, white vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol. Fill to the top with warm water. Shake to mix.
  3. Spray the stain liberally with the mixture. Allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the spot.
  4. Rinse with the hose. Allow to air dry.
Helpful Hack

I keep a spray bottle ready with the Dawn, vinegar, and alcohol solution so I can grab it when spills happen.

Related: How to Clean and Restore Outdoor Teak Furniture so It Lasts

Spot Clean Oily Stains on Sunbrella Fabric

If the stain is a greasy one (oil, salad dressing, meat, sunscreen, etc.), then you'll need to absorb the oil before it soaks in.

You'll Need

  • Cornstarch
  • Scraper
  • Spray bottle
  • 1 tablespoon Dawn 
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Hose with spray nozzle


  1. As soon as the stain hits the fabric (or you notice it), cover it with cornstarch. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the cornstarch can absorb excess liquid.
  2. Use the scraper to scrape up as much of the cornstarch as you can.
  3. Mix the Dawn and vinegar in the spray bottle. Fill with warm water. Shake to mix.
  4. Spray liberally on the remaining stain. Scrub with the brush.
  5. Rinse with the hose and nozzle and allow to air dry.

How to Clean Mold & Mildew From Sunbrella Fabric

Sunbrella fabric and similar outdoor fabrics are made to resist mold and mildew, but that doesn't mean they're mold-proof. So, if you notice set-in mold, follow this cleaning protocol.

You'll Need

  • Disposable gloves
  • Bucket
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • ¼ cup Dawn
  • 1 cup liquid bleach
  • Scrub brush
  • Hose with spray nozzle attachment


  1. Since you'll be working with bleach, you'll need to put on disposable gloves.
  2. In the bucket, combine water, Dawn, and bleach.
  3. Apply the solution to the mold and mildew.
  4. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Scrub with the scrub brush.
  6. Rinse away with the hose and nozzle.
  7. Allow to air dry.

Laundering Sunbrella Fabric at the End of the Season

When you're doing end-of-season clean-up, you can throw Sunbrella fabric covers in the wash.

You'll Need


  1. Remove Sunbrella fabric covers from cushions and pillows.
  2. Zip them up.
  3. Add them to the wash using cold water and mild detergent on a delicate/gentle cycle.
  4. Air dry. 
Need to Know

Don't dry Sunbrella fabric in the dryer, as the dryer can damage it. Always air dry.

Tips for Keeping Your Sunbrella Fabric Clean

Keep your Sunbrella fabric clean so it lasts a long time with our tips.

  • Brush away dirt and clean up stains immediately (or as soon as you notice them).
  • Use a fabric protector or UV protector made for outdoor fabrics, such as 303 Fabric Guard.
  • Cover or put away your (cleaned) fabrics in the off-season.
  • Store out of direct sunlight.
  • Don't put your Sunbrella fabrics near extreme heat (like fire pits or grills).
  • Thoroughly wash and dry Sunbrella fabric before you put it away for the season.

Keep Your Outdoor Fabrics Looking Like New

We love the versatility of Sunbrella and other outdoor fabrics. And they can last a long time in great condition if you maintain them properly. By using the right cleaning techniques, your Sunbrella and outdoor fabrics will have years of sunny skies ahead.

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How to Clean Sunbrella Fabric So It'll Last a Long Time