Picking Outdoor Upholstery Fabric: Cotton vs. Polyester

Picking Outdoor Upholstery Fabric: Cotton vs. Polyester

Picking Outdoor Upholstery Fabric: Cotton vs. Polyester

The outdoor upholstery fabric must be durable enough to withstand the elements' wear and tear while remaining attractive even after decades of use. The outdoor upholstery fabric of good quality isn't cheap. There's nothing worse than investing a lot of cash on something that doesn't last and needs replacing the following season. Before you commit, do some research to get as much out of your purchase.

Outdoor upholstery fabric is meant to cover or recover couches, chairs, and any other pieces of furniture that have cloth covers or parts. Upholstery textiles range from synthetics like polyester to natural fibers like cotton, as well as mixes of the two.

How to Recognize an Unknown Fabric

You may occasionally come across furniture with an unfamiliar type of upholstery. You can tell whether the fabric is polyester or cotton by doing a burn test. Clip a piece of upholstery from a hidden location, like under the furniture, a seam, or the hem of a skirt or ruffle. To light the sample, use a match.

Polyester upholstery dissolves when burned and has a lovely aroma and black smoke. The ashes from the burned swatches will be hard, somewhat like melted plastic, when you put out the flame. Cotton upholstery emits a scent of smoldering grasses or leaves. The ash from the burned swatches will be ashy & the flame will die out like a candlewick. Different synthetics and natural fibers may react differently to a burning test.

Natural Fibers Vs. Synthetic Fabric

There are distinctions between cotton & polyester upholstery. Cotton is a plant-based natural fiber. Petroleum fuels, water, coal, and air are used to make polyester. Upholstery is frequently made up of a combination of cotton and polyester, which results in a fabric that is extremely durable, easy to clean, and typically contains additives like stain-resistant traits that help spills & stains to be wiped away from the upholstery with hardly any scrubbing. Cotton and polyester blends are indeed treated with wrinkle-resistant treatments; cotton wrinkles rapidly on its own. Outdoor upholstery fabric made from a mix of cotton and polyester preserves its colors for a more colorful appearance.

Cotton Defined

Cotton is made from the cotton plant's seed pod. Cotton upholstery breathes & absorbs moisture because it is hundred percent natural, making individuals who sit or touch it feel comfortable & cool even if they are sweating.

Cotton upholstery is simple to care for, as it can be cleaned in the washing machine, dried in the dryer (though this typically causes shrinkage), bleached (if white to begin with, as bleaching cotton fabrics upholstery will cause discoloration or ruination of the color or print), and ironed.

Polyester Defined

Polyester is a synthetic substance that is commonly known as Polyethylene terephthalate when used in fabric (PET). Polyester is used in a variety of products besides cloth, including rope, bottles, carpets, & hoses. Many goods in the sewing & home decor sectors use polyester fabrics and fibers.

Polyester upholstery is generally waterproof, dyes well, and is resistant to most cleaning treatments. Polyester is frequently combined with cotton, which enables air to circulate freely due to its poor breathability. Polyester, as a synthetic material, can resist temperatures of up to 510℉, although it can be burnt if the iron is left in place for too long. Polyester upholstery is a good choice for outdoor use because of its mildew tolerance, water resistance, shrink resistance, and strength.

Also Read: How to Protect Outdoor Upholstery Fabric In All Season

Choose fabrics with an outdoor label.

Begin by looking for fabrics that are labeled for outdoor use. These textiles have been specifically treated to resist water, stains, UV light, and other environmental factors. Due to the increase in outdoor living and entertainment spaces, more outdoor furniture is used. 

Outdoor living areas have become a typical component in new home construction, according to designers, landscape architects, realtors & building contractors, irrespective of the price level of a property. The current tendency is to build an outdoor living space that looks and feels like an indoor space.

Outdoor kitchens can range from simple grills to fully functional kitchens with freezers and brick ovens. What outdoor area would be perfect without a television, sound system, and a fireplace or, at the very least, a pleasant fire pit?

Comfortable seating is required in all of these outdoor living areas. Consider the furniture as an extension of what you'd find in your own houses, such as a sofa, comfy dining chairs, or a sectional. The distinction is that the seating is composed of weather-resistant outdoor upholstery fabric. The harsh sunshine, temperature extremes, wetness, & humidity that lead to mold growth necessitate particular outdoor materials.


You may choose the best upholstery material for your outdoor chairs by remembering the principles mentioned above. You should have a wide range of options and lots of knowledge to make an informed selection. After all, you want to wear items that are both comfy and unique.

Do you want to go fabric shopping for your outdoor chairs? Outdoor upholstery fabrics from Overstock Upholstery Fabric mix stylish elegance with outstanding performance. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any support. Reach us via email at You can also give us a call at 336-885-4535.