Indoor Fabric Cushions & Pillows

Indoor Fabric

Indoor fabric replacement cushions are designed to only to be used inside out of the elements and the suns ultra violet (UV) rays to ensure they last.  Otherwise, they can deteriorate prematurely. If you choose to use indoor fabric for your replacement cushions, this article will help you understand the things you should know about using indoor fabric.

Today, indoor cushions are made the same way outdoor cushions are made except that synthetic materials are used for the outdoor cushions and cotton based materials are used for indoor cushions.  Tufted cushions typically are filled with spun polyester fiber and foam cushions are filled with once piece of solid foam usually with a thin Dacron wrap to promote softness and shape.

Cushions made with indoor fabric are soft comfortable and great to use indoors.  They wear well and there is a wide selection of colors and patterns for most all applications.  One big benefit of indoor cotton fabric is that there are a number of traditional older patters available that can’t be found in other fabric lines. 

Many people want to buy indoor fabric rather than all-weather or Sunbrella outdoor fabrics because it carries the name indoor fabric.  Some think indoor fabrics are softer than others.  In some cases that might be so.  However, the finished yarns used in all-weather and Sunbrella acrylic fabric are comparably as soft.

What Makes It Indoor Fabric?

Indoor cushion fabric is cotton or organic fiber based.  It can have certain percentages of synthetic yarn as part of its composition. But if it has cotton or other organic fibers in it, then it most probably would be considered indoor fabric. There are several factors that contribute to why indoor fabric should only be used for indoors.  They are:

Cotton can be affected by moisture so it must be used in dry place

Mold and mildew grow easily on organic material outdoors

Inks used on indoor fabrics usually fade easier when used outdoors in the sun

Cotton does not wear as well outdoor as synthetic materials

Knowing that cotton based indoor fabric has outdoor limitations, it is best therefore to restrict these fabrics to inside where it is dry, limited sunlight and in an environment that does not promote mold and mildew.  Cotton is a soft fiber that wears out quite easily.  Depending on the thickness and weave of the fabric, it is more likely to wear out faster than its synthetic counter parts.

Availability of Indoor Fabric

Indoor fabrics are popular because of the wide select of traditional as well as floral designs that are available.  Thousands of cotton print designs are made but it’s nearly impossible for one store to carry more than a few hundred patterns at any one time.  Its expensive to stock more fabric than you can possibly sell.  Besides, many stores are learning toward using all-weather and Sunbrella fabrics today in lieu of selling cotton fabric.  So, if you’re shopping for indoor fabrics, you will probably have to check out different vendors if you are not satisfied with the first fabrics you find.


Understanding the manufacturing process can give you a great appreciation for the complexity and time and effort it takes to make these lovely fabric prints.  They are called prints because in the manufacturing process, a multitude of designs are combined and printed on a white cotton based background one color at a time to form a completed design.  Please take a few minutes to watch a video on printed cotton fabric production.  Its worth watching if you like to see how things are made.

Colors and Inks

In as much as the inks used in indoor fabric printing look colorful and last a long time indoors, they are more susceptible to UV rays when used directly outdoors.  As compared to all-weather and Sunbrella fabric, indoor fabrics must stay indoors to retain their original true colors without fading. Indoor fabric inks do not have sufficient inhibiters in the inks to keep the UV rays from bleaching out the colors.

Replacement cushions and pillows made with indoor fabric are generally less expensive than outdoor fabrics and can be more economical to use.  The prices vary so looking into other fabrics that can be used indoors is a wise thing to do to save a buck.  There are many other fabrics that can be used inside that have similar qualities that indoor cotton based fabrics offer.

Indoor fabrics are becoming harder and harder to find not because they are not being made, its because cushion makers are leaning more toward all-weather and Sunbrella fabric.  Fabrics like spun polyester all-weather fabric (indoor/outdoor fabric) have pretty much gobbled up the indoor fabric market over cotton fabric because the feel of the polyester fabrics are similarly as soft and the number of patterns exceed those of indoor fabrics.  More importantly, the polyester can be used both indoors and outside.  That kills two birds with one stone for cushion makers.  They don’t have to carry double the stock of materials.  It’s more economical for manufactures to make only one type of cushion rather than two.

Cleaning Indoor Cotton Fabric

When you clean indoor fabric care must be taken.  When cotton gets wet it can become misshapen and it can shrink ruining your cushions or pillows.  The inks used are not all necessarily colorfast either and they can bleed.  So, when cleaning these types of fabric, use caution.  When in doubt, have them dry cleaned.


Indoor fabrics are great to use for indoor cushions and pillows.  They are soft and wear well inside.  There are a wide variety of pattern and color choices.  Cushions made with cotton fabric should not be used outdoors because they fade easily and can grow mold and mildew in damp outdoor conditions.  Take care when cleaning indoor fabric because the fabric can shrink or become misshapen after it becomes wet.  Because its composed of organic material, it has a tendency to harbor mold and mildew more than synthetic fabrics.

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