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Permies Alternative to Scotch Gard

 
gardener
Posts: 867
Location: N. California
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A few years ago my husband bought me a free standing swing for my Birthday.  It was one of the best gifts, the whole family loves it.  I didn't put the top on because some of us enjoy laying on the swing and looking up into the tree, or at the stars at night.  Last year I scrubbed them up dried them and sprayed them with Scotch Guard, or some other brand, I can't remember, but it was for protecting and water proofing fabric It was expensive, but not as expensive as replacing the cushions.  Since there is nothing over the top of the cushions, they get dirty and bird poop, ect. I scrubbed them up today and was amazed how clean I was able to get them.  They don't look new, but they still look nice.  I know It's because I sprayed them.  I'm trying not to buy toxic anything.  I don't know, but would assume the stuff I bought is toxic.  Is there a safe alternative?  When I had my daughter I learned the hard way that using fabric softener and a dryer sheet will make cloths waterproof.  Could be a good thing on a jacket, but not diapers.  They were super soft, but water/pee proof. What a mess.  Anyway I don't want to wash them in my machine, because it doesn't handle things like that very well. I also don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets. I would just like to keep the cushions nice as long as I can.  I would love any and all suggestions. Thanks
 
Posts: 612
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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I think the permie way would be to take the cushion indoors after use. Something I would certainly forget to do.

Assuming the sun is as intense in your place as it is here ... I know few things that last outdoors for more than a few months. Mostly galvanized steel not in contact with soil and stone.
The water proofing is probably the easy part and some wax could work. But protecting against UV radiation will be challenging without using advanced chemistry.
 
Posts: 113
Location: Chon Buri Thailand Zone 11-12
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Paraffin and Bee wax mix 50/50 is Grandma's almost odorless recipe but I remember they had always that kind of "fatty" touch and make any visitors remarking, that the cushions deserve a wash again.

Simple Outdoor tend spray is still the better option and because millions of backpackers use it it must be cheap and safe as well...
 
Mother Tree
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I keep an old blanket thrown over mine to keep the dirt and bird poop off, then wash it occasionally. Very occasionally...

If I know there's a week of rain forecast I'll bring the cushions under cover.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1880
Location: Denmark 57N
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Make a box for them that lives outside by the swing. after use put them back in the box.
 
pollinator
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I'm not sure that your assumption that scotch guard is toxic is necessarily true. There was something about one of the ingredients a few years ago, but the recipe was changed in response and is supposed to now be non-toxic - although perhaps now less effective as well?

We take our outdoor fabrics inside when not in use. Mostly cushions for the outside chairs. They have a dedicated storage space in the house, near the back door. They can be put away an got out in less than 60 seconds. Convenient dedicated storage makes it much more likely that people will take the trouble to put them away when not in use. Can you do similar?
 
Posts: 65
Location: Eddington, Maine
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You said "any and all suggestions" so....

Do you need the cushions at all? If the swing has something under the cushions or you built a wooden seat, that would be much easier to protect from the elements with more natural solutions. In my experience, no matter what you do with fabric outdoors, if it is left outdoors it will eventually get faded, stained, and very dirty.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks everyone lots of great suggestion.  I did a bit more research, and most of those sprays and not only are they toxic to the earth, to us as well. One article I read said it can accumulate in our bodies.  The ones that seem safe are very expensive.  I may be wrong about this, but I feel the way the swing is made it needs the cushions for stranth. I think without then it puts to much pressure on the seams.  We tend to be lazy, and everyone has different schedules, so the odds of putting them in the house when not in use is probably the best option, the no one but me will do.  I think I will throw something over the top of it for now, and build a box when I have time.  If it's right there, maybe my family will put them away.  Thanks everyone ☺️
 
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