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Fabric is very susceptible to sun damage. Cotton and acrylic fabrics can turn almost all white in a particularly hot summer if they're not adequately protected. Fabric guards do wonders — spray or smooth one on with a paintbrush to keep cushion colors fresh through the entire summer.
If you're already stuck with faded fabrics, there's no good solution. Your best bet is replacing them with a better-quality version. Sunbrella and other outdoor fabric brands resist fading, mold and stains.
Most modern wicker furniture is made of a very durable, synthetic material that resists sun damage much better than natural wicker does. However, it requires regular cleaning, as debris and dust can get stuck in between every little woven piece. Stick with a basic mild soap, rinse and dry to prevent long-term damage and mildew growth.
The sun can seriously fade wicker, so it's a good idea to cover it if it's going to be outside for more than two to three weeks. Invest in waterproof furniture covers if you're worried about long-term care. The paint on wicker may start to peel after a while as well. Remove peels with fine sandpaper and touch up the paint.
Most metal outdoor furniture resists sun damage fairly well. Rust is the biggest threat, although many new metal pieces are treated with a rust-resistant chemical that means much less maintenance. If yours isn't rust treated, seal it with paste wax after gently cleaning it. Rust spots can be doctored with a rust remover from the hardware store.
Aluminum normally resists rust, but it can pit and dull with exposure to sun and water. Wash it and apply car wax to keep it shiny and protected. Wrought iron can also get banged up and damaged; touch it up with a rust-resistant primer wherever bare metal is exposed. Really rusty pieces can be sandblasted and powder coated by a professional.