Are outdoor furniture cushions waterproof?

This month we’ve already looked at how to care for outdoor furniture cushions but we wanted to take that step further and answer the common question of are outdoor furniture cushions waterproof in more detail?

To best do that we really need to take a closer look at the materials we use and the construction of our cushionsWhy we use them and why we make our cushions this way.

First, let’s answer the most important part... Yes, all of our Garden Cushions are waterproof!

We can’t say the same for other companies but at Lazy Susan they are. They’re constructed from a fabric that is both waterproof and designed not to fade when exposed to the sun/UV rays.

Plus, you and can remove the fabric from the seat pad via a zip to give them a wash/refresh if need be. 

Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture Cushion Care Label
The care label found on our cushions is shown in the image above but what do all the BS codes and symbols actually mean?

The filling in our outdoor furniture cushions

The seat pad or filling is what gives you the squish factor and significantly ups the comfort of our Garden Chairs, Garden Benches and Garden Sun Loungers.

Personally, I think our Garden Chairs look great without a cushion, but when it comes to putting bums on chairs, our cushions are essential.

The filling is made from 100% Polyester Fibre in accordance with Schedule 2 Furniture Fire Regulations 1988 (BS5852).

Polyester is often derided due to its association with the fashion industry. I suppose clothing made from man made polyester could (or has been) viewed as inferior to natural fabrics such as silk, cotton or wool. 

However, it is actually a great material for making clothing, and many leading fashion designers are now embracing it for its inherently unique qualities. 

Polyester is defined by Sewport as: 

A synthetic fabric that's usually derived from petroleum. This fabric is one of the world's most popular textiles, and it is used in thousands of different consumer and industrial applications. Chemically, polyester is a polymer primarily composed of compounds within the ester functional group.

In the furniture industry (indoor and out) it is one of the go-to materials for upholstery, and it has a number of distinct benefits that make it the ideal choice for our outdoor furniture cushions… 

The benefits of using 100% polyester in our seat pads

It is extremely durable and resistant to sagging, shrinking, wrinkling and stretching, meaning that with repeated seating, our Outdoor Furniture Cushions will retain their shape. 

The fibres used to create Polyester are very strong but lightweight at the same time. Even our large Lattice Garden Bench Cushions for example are incredibly easy to pick up but still strong and durable at the same time.

However, the main advantage for us is that polyester is a very quick drying fabric, so it is perfect for outdoor use. Easy to look after, it can be quickly removed from our cushion covers and easily washed and dried if need be.

On the label above we make reference to Schedule 2 Furniture Fire Regulations 1988 (BS5852) but what is it and what does that mean?

This is the standard used to assess the ignitability of material combinations, such as cushion covers and fillings used in upholstered seating.

It might not sound as important for an outdoor cushion compared to the sofa you have in your living room, however, outdoor pieces are often placed near BBQ’s, Fire Pits, etc.

This regulation ensures that all Lazy Susan cushions adhere to the required standard for safe ignitability.

They are not fireproof and you should keep them a safe distance from a naked flame. They will instead smoulder slowly if a stray ember lands on them rather than bursting into flames.

The Lazy Susan outdoor furniture cushion covers

Our cushion covers are constructed from a combination of Polyester and Cotton in accordance with Schedule 4 and Schedule 5 Furniture Fire Regulations 1988 (BS5852), and we use these two fabrics together to deliver that combination of water resistance and soft to the touch cushion comfort.

The fabric itself is what would be considered a ‘medium weight’, so it is more pliable than say a heavy weight canvas, but is stronger/better suited for outdoor use than the fabric you’d more likely find on an indoor cushion. Although, that said, many good quality indoor cushions will also be made from similar weight fabrics, and even poly/cotton blends.

The fabric we use is also UV treated so it will not fade in the sun. However, that is not an infinite amount of light hours. Leave it exposed for a number of years and the sun will damage it, so I would always advise you store when not needed.

Our cushions do not include (nor do they need) a Schedule 3 Inter-Liners, a special fire-resistant material that is sometimes placed between the cushion cover and the seat.

However, you only need to use an ‘Inter-Liner’ if the cover is made from at least 75% (by weight) of cotton, viscose, modal, flax, silk or wool. Our covers have a higher percentage of Polyester to make them waterproof so they’re just not required.

In terms of the Schedule 4 and Schedule 5 of the Furniture Fire Regulations 1988 (BS5852) that we have printed on our care labels, just like Schedule 2 above, this shows that our covers adhere to/have passed the two required tests - Schedule 4 is the Cigarette Test, while Schedule 5 is the Match Test.

The Furniture Fire Regulations 1988 (BS5852) are the best practice guide for ignition testing in the UK Furniture & Furnishings industry, and they contain the requirements for the ignition resistance of our cushions. 

How to care for our Outdoor Furniture Cushions

     Wash at 30 degrees 
Wash at 30 Degrees

If you’re cushion covers are looking a little grubby, then as per our care label, you can wash them in the machine at 30-degrees.

A 30-degree wash (or lower) is sufficient for any covers that need a general wash, rather than targeted stain removal.

We would not advise that you wash at any higher temperature.If they are heavily stained, then tackle with hand-washing (see below). Washing at a higher temperature could compromise the water resistance of the fabric and potentially shrink the fibres/covers.

At one time you would need a hotter wash to kill any mould causing bacteria. However, modern detergents will still eliminate bacterial spores at 30-degrees. In fact, washing all laundry at 30-degrees is better for the environment, as it will significantly cut your CO2 emissions (and bills) by reducing the energy required to run the machine.

Hand wash only 
Hand Wash Only

My preference is to hand wash my Lazy Susan Cushions.

And I’ll be honest here, hand washing my outdoor furniture cushion covers is one of those jobs I tend to put off. Not only is it a nuisance, but many people are unsure how to go about it, and are often worried about ruining them. But trust me, hand washing is the safest and most effective way of cleaning our cushion covers.

I just fill the sink with warm water and a mild detergent, submerge the cover, and leave it for no more than a few minutes.

Any stains, I’ll rub gently with just my hands. You can use a stain remover if you think you need to but be careful. Follow the instructions, test it first. Then I’ll empty the sink, fill it with cold water and rinse.

I avoid ringing/twisting the covers to remove excess water as you can damage/misshape them. I like to place them flat between a two towels and push down. Let the towels soak the excess moisture out.

Another option if you own one is to clean the covers on the seat/foam pad with a cleaner such as the Vax spot or carpet cleaner.

However, when it comes to the seat pads, I’ve had mine close to 4 years and they still look like new. They’re well protected. If you do find yours need a wash, then our How to clean outdoor furniture cushion covers article details our ‘full clean method’.

Do not bleach 
Do not bleach

If you’ve spilled something particularly nasty on your cushion covers like red wine, then the temptation can be to reach for the bleach. However, the Do Not Bleach symbol is on our cushions for a reason.

Even an oxygen/non-chlorine bleach which is seen as the ‘colour-safe’ option is a big no-no. That triangle with a cross through it means no bleach, So, yes, you guessed it, please don’t use bleach on our cushions.

        Do not iron
Do not iron

I’ve only washed my cushion covers once in the four or so years I’ve owned them. I washed them by hand for this very reason, as it reduces any need to iron.

Even a delicate spin in the washing machine you could wrinkle the fabric. With the hand washing method above I can keep them relatively flat. The key though is to make sure they dry flat!

Do Not Tumble Dry 
Do not tumble dry

Again, that do not tumble dry symbol means you do not dry in a dryer. Even on the cool setting! Drying the fabric with such extreme heat can cause the colours to fade and actually damage the fibres by shrinking them.

Let’s be honest, tumble drying isn’t great for any fabrics. I only really tumble dry bath towels and sheets when the weather won’t permit me to hang them out. I would never put clothes in, a drying rack or radiator will suffice! Same with our cushion covers.

Wash in the summer and pop them on the line or preferrably flat on a rack is my advice.

The Lazy Susan Outdoor Cushion Collection

Our Outdoor Furniture Cushion Collection is available in green, terracotta, navy and stone, and in styles to suit all our Garden Chairs and Garden Benches.

If you’ve purchased outdoor furniture from Lazy Susan but didn’t take advantage of the option to add cushions at checkout, then my advice would be to purchase today…

Lattice Bench Cushion in Stone £50.00 
Also available in Green, Blue and Terracotta.

Lattice Bench Cushion in Stone

April Bench Cushion in Green £50.00
Also available in Stone, Blue and Terracotta.

April Bench Cushion in Green

Lattice Lounger Cushion in Green £75.00
Also available in Terracotta, Blue and Stone.

Lattice Lounger Cushion in Green

Seat Pad Cushion in Blue £22.50  
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

Seat Pad Cushion in Blue

Curved Back Cushion in Blue £37.50
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

Curved Back Cushion in Blue

High Back Cushion in Blue £37.50
Also available in Green, Stone and Terracotta.

High Back Cushion in Blue

Shop our full Outdoor Cushion Collection.