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Indoor Fabric

Indoor Fabric Cushions & Pillows

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Indoor fabric replacement cushions are designed only to be used inside out of the elements and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to ensure they last.  Otherwise, they can deteriorate prematurely.  Indoor cushions are being replaced with All-Weather fabric cushions and Sunbrella Acrylic cushions that can be used for indoor cushions.  If you choose indoor fabric for your replacement cushions, this article will help you understand what you should know about indoor fabric.

Today, indoor cushions are made the same as outdoor cushions, except that synthetic materials are used for 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 one 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 almost all applications.  One big benefit of indoor cotton fabric is that several traditional older patterns are 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?

The 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 a cotton or other organic fibers, it would probably be considered indoor fabric. Several factors contribute to why indoor fabric should only be used indoors.  They are:

Cotton can be affected by moisture, so it must be used in a 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 outdoors as synthetic materials

Knowing that cotton-based indoor fabric has outdoor limitations, it is best to restrict these fabrics to inside where it is dry, with 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 counterparts.

Availability of Indoor Fabric

Indoor fabrics are popular because of the wide selection of traditional and floral designs.  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 time.  It’s expensive to stock more fabric than you can sell.  Besides, many stores are learning to use all-weather and Sunbrella fabrics today instead 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 manufacturing, many designs are combined and printed on a white cotton-based background, one color at a time to form a completed design. 

Colors and Inks

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.  Compared to all-weather and Sunbrella fabric, indoor fabrics must stay indoors to retain their original colors without fading. Indoor fabric inks are insufficient 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 wise to save a buck.  Many other fabrics 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 gobbled up the indoor fabric market over cotton fabric because the feel of the polyester and acrylic fabrics are similar in softness, and the number of patterns of all-weather fabrics exceeds those of indoor fabrics.  More importantly, polyester all-weather fabrics can be used indoors and outside, keeping inventory down for cushion makers.  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 manufacturers 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 shrink, ruining your cushions or pillows.  The inks used are not necessarily colorfast either and 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 it can shrink or become misshapen after it becomes wet.  Because it’s composed of organic material, it tends to harbor mold and mildew more than synthetic fabrics.

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