What comes to your mind when the snow’s melting away and the days are getting longer and warmer? Are you dreaming of lounging on your deck with a good book and a cold drink in your hand or are you taking the boat out for a spin on the lake and hopefully catching your first fish of the season. Whichever outdoor activity you are getting ready to enjoy now is the time you need to take a look at what you’ve stored away all winter long and make sure that they are still in as good as condition as they were when you stored them in the fall.

Depending on how and where you store your items there are a few things that may occur over the course of the winter. If you store your patio cushions or boat indoors or in an enclosure then the most common problems I have encountered from clients is mould and mildew. This usually happens if your items are not completely dry when stored. There are different ways to protect, remove and combat mould and mildew in fabrics. Always spot test any product first in an inconspicuous area of the piece as you can ruin fabrics just as easily by using the wrong product. Follow my board Keep It Clean on Pinterest for natural ways to get rid of mould and mildew from fabrics and vinyls. If the mould/mildew has reached the point that no amount of cleaning works then that is the time to contact an upholsterer for replacement options.

Another problem I have encountered over the years is damage from natures creatures mainly small animals (I have had a few from larger animals as well). This tends to happen when your items are stored outside either in a shed, patio box or covered shelter.There are non toxic ways to help deter creatures from damaging your items while in storage. Follow my board Pestilence on Pinterest for non toxic pest deterrents. In the mean time, once you’ve discovered the damage, there’s no need to replace your whole patio set when a chipmunk has chewed a hole in one of your cushions and used the foam to create a nest or done the same in your boat. Foam can be repaired and fabric and vinyl panels replaced so you can enjoy again without breaking the bank.

Last but not least is UV damage. I love being outside as much as possible when the sun is shining but being fair skinned I have to make sure to remember to put on sunscreen so I don’t burn. The same applies to your outdoor fabrics. Over time the sun will fade and break down the fibers in your fabrics causing them to rip or crack. There are a variety of products on the market to protect your fabrics or vinyls from doing this but make sure you read and follow the manufacturers instructions before applying. You can also follow my board Fabric Care on Pinterest for more tips on caring for your outdoor fabrics. If your fabrics are too far gone then not all hope is lost. Contact an upholsterer for replacement costs of the ripped or cracked panels first before buying new.

Tips For Enjoying & Prolonging The Life Of Your Outdoor Fabrics

  • If you aren’t using your patio cushions, put them away. Leaving them out makes them susceptible to rain, condensation, animals, dirt and UV which will lessen the life of your cushions. Bring them out when you are using them and put them away when you’re not!
  • Boating is fun and we’ve owned a couple of boats, but after a day in the water it’s important to clean any dirt or water off of the seats and cushions to help deter mould and mildew from creeping in. If there’s no chance of rain then leave the cover off your boat to dry it out before covering. Also treating your vinyls with a UV protectant will keep your vinyl from cracking over time. I have also found that waterproofing the covers helps keep rain from seeping in and causing moisture problems.
  • If you do come across damage get it fixed before it gets worse! I have repaired many a boat seat where the wood underneath has become so rotted from moisture that it has to be replaced before upholstery can even be done which of course ends up costing you more money.

I hope you are all looking forward to spring and warmer weather as I am! If you have any questions about your own upholstery, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Before Photograph Of The Boat Upholstery 

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After Photograph Of Boat Upholstery

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