Protect Indoor Pillows for Outdoor Use

Porch Daydreamer
by Porch Daydreamer
2 Materials
30 Minutes

As you know Amazon and Home Goods is FILLED with a ton of inexpensive pillow options, but when you get to the outdoor pillows the selection is extremely limited.

I went on the hunt to see if there is a way to protect indoor pillows, so they can be used outside. Guess what? I found an easy spray-on product to use!

The Reality of Indoor vs. Outdoor Pillows

Now let's be real for a second. The reason I keep referencing inexpensive pillows is because only pillows designed for outdoor use have resistance/color fastness to the UV rays of the sun and are water-resistant.

Luckily, in the fall and winter we get a little break in UV exposure with fewer hours of sun that is lower in the sky. The pillows will get a little break from the sun too!

In reality, all we can really do to protect indoor pillows for outdoor use is to protect them from water and stains (dirt, birds, food, etc). It's at your own risk to use the pillows in an exposed outdoor environment.

Covered porches and patios are a perfect place for this spray on protectant and the fall or winter is the best time because the pillows will only be left out a month or two. At under $10 a piece, I am willing to take the risk!

How-To Protect Indoor Pillows for Outdoor Use

Let's first talk about the product I found. It's something I've used before on my Sunbrella® fabrics to replenish the water repellency.

I KNOW it's good stuff! It's the only product that Sunbrella® endorses. To me that is a thumbs up from the outdoor fabric experts!

Guess what? It also protects both water-based and oil-based stains. What is BEST of all is it doesn't alter the fabric color, feel, flammability or breathability.


303® Fabric Guard Instructions

This really is the EASY part. It only took about 15 minutes to set up and spray the pillows. It was a very HOT day, so to protect myself from the sun I worked in the shade. 

303® Fabric Guard recommends spraying in full sun to speed up dry time and curing (when the protectant is at it's maximum protection level). 

Let's cover the rules first - I am a rule follower most days :

  1. Make sure the surface of fabric is clean and fully dry.
  2. Spray until evenly wet, overlapping sprayed areas. Do not oversaturate, this will extend curing time and may provide mixed results.

Allow 12-24 hours for full curing, depending on conditions.

Step 1:

Protect adjacent surfaces with a drop cloth and place pillow covers or pillows on top. Yes, I wanted to use my faux pumpkins on my front porch for a little extra fall decor charm!

While OUTSIDE or in a well ventilated area at 70°F/21°C or higher temperature, spray 303® Fabric Guard in a criss-cross pattern so you make sure to cover all areas of the pillow.

The product (when wet) is flammable, so NO smoking or open flames during application!

Step 2:

After the first side is somewhat dry, flip the pillows/covers over and spray the other side. Don't worry if you see a color change, as I saw on my off-white pillows. It dries completely clear!

Step 3: 

Next, if you can, leave the pillows in the sun to dry for about an 1/2 hour on each side. Do this during a time of day when the fabrics are protected from any threat of rain or evening dew.  

As a point of reference, I used a 1/2 of a spray bottle to coat the 9 items you see above. One bottle will cover 40 to 75 sq. feet.

Step 4:

Before placing your pillows outside, test to make sure they are fully cured. Mine dried 48 hours (recommended 24 to 48 hours) and LOOK at the water bead and roll right off of the pillow! 

Fall Front Porch with Protected Pillows

The final reveal of my fall front porch! I'm loving the orange, blue and sand color combination with the mums. It feels so happy!

The best part is that the pillows up against the railing are fully protected from water.

They get dripped on a lot from my automatic watering system on the hanging ferns, so protecting those pillows in particular is really important. 

Resources for this project:
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Porch Daydreamer
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