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Something light, soft and breathable – there’s not much more you could ask of a smart, savvy spring textile for your hammock, parasol or outdoor rugs and upholstery, except maybe its name so you know how to find it.
On second thought, it’d also be nice if said fabric were durable and maybe even stain-resistant, in case May is more showers than flowers, which is sometimes the case. So, what types of textiles bloom the brightest in spring?
The king (or queen) of synthetic fibers, polyester is a go-to choice for almost any kind of outdoor use. As a polymer, you can count on polyester to resist water, stains and fading.
If it has any limit at all, it’s that it doesn’t weather oily stains well. But, the stuff is so dang strong most people are willing to suffer this slight deficiency.
Olefin comes in a few different forms with a few different names, polypropylene and polyethylene being among them. It also has a few different trade names – like Herculon.
And, you can guess why people call it Herculon. This material is wicked tough. It has no real weaknesses, which makes it great for all kinds of outdoor uses.
Acrylic isn’t quite as durable as polyester or olefin, but it holds its own as a synthetic and does a better job at imitating softer natural fibers. It’s also pretty affordable, which makes it an even better choice for woven material intended for outdoor use.
Though acrylic can be used in lots of different ways, it’s especially well-suited for upholstery due to its relative softness and is used in many well-known outdoor upholstery brands. Sunbrella, for example, is made of 100% acrylic.
You’ve probably noticed a theme as you’ve worked your way down this list, and it’s no accident – synthetics hold up far better outdoors than natural fiber. But, if you want a little bit more comfort and you’re willing to use a protectant there are several blends to consider.
Polyester-cotton blends are probably the most popular, because it combines the durability of a synthetic with the comfort of cotton, though you’ll also see acrylic and olefin get thrown into the mix, too.
There are a couple other natural fibers suitable for outdoor use (jute comes to mind), but canvas is one of the most versatile, durable and inexpensive among them – which is what makes it so popular.
It needs to be washed and treated regularly to ward off mold and mildew, but when maintained it’s a very reliable textile.
Keep these fabrics in mind and enjoy more of your spring outdoors!