by C.M. Mackenzie
Most fabric outdoor furniture is water-resistant but not waterproof. Even patio furniture that is waterproof may lose its water-repelling qualities over time. To maintain your investment, fabric patio furniture should be waterproofed after cleaning or seasonally (in the spring and again in the fall, before it is stored for the winter). Not all waterproofing formulas are equal. For best results, choose a product that specifies it is for use on outdoor fabrics. And check the furniture manufacturer's instructions; using some products may harm the fabric and void your warranty, if you have one.
Brush off or use a hand vacuum on lightly soiled or dusty furniture. If the furniture is heavily soiled, clean it with an outdoor fabric cleaner before waterproofing. It's important to clean the fabric before applying the waterproofing spray because products for waterproofing fabric will seal in any dirt remaining on the furniture.
Make sure the furniture is dry. Waterproofing products work best on dry surfaces. Choose a calm, mild day, when there is no rain forecast, to waterproof the furniture.
Keep waterproofing products away from plants and animals. Place the furniture on a patio, driveway or other area where spray from the waterproofing product will not get on plants. If this is not possible, cover nearby plants with newspapers or a tarp.
Spray the furniture with the waterproofing spray. Be sure to spray the seams well; damaging moisture is likely to collect there and mildew the furniture.
Allow the furniture to completely dry before using it. Do not expose it to moisture until it is fully dry. If it starts raining, bring the furniture inside.
For most outdoor furniture fabrics, you can use the same waterproofing formulas that are used on sailboat fabrics.
Check the fabric for rips before waterproofing. These should be repaired, if possible, before you spray the furniture. Waterproofing will not be as effective if the covers have holes or tears.
Read warning labels on waterproofing sprays. Some products are best used on certain fabrics and are not recommended for use on other fabrics.
If you must spray the product on a windy day, wear safety goggles and clothing that covers you completely to prevent spray from getting in your eyes or on your skin.