Patio umbrellas (whether used with a table or free-standing) provide ample shade on sunny days. You can stay cool by the pool or comfortable during a barbecue with a variety of umbrella styles. While patio umbrellas are designed to be durable, withstanding ultraviolet rays and rain, their construction contains many mechanisms that should looked after. Fortunately, keeping your umbrella in like-new condition is easy.
Here are some tips for cleaning and caring for your patio-shading umbrellas:
Wash the frame
You won’t have to clean your patio umbrella frame often, but periodic and as-needed treatment will support a long product life. Whether you want to remove dust and debris or wipe off a mark, all you need is a clean, damp cloth. Rub down the frame thoroughly. This should take care of most dirt. However, if you have a more stubborn mark, start with a mixture of mild soap and water, and administer it with a gentle cloth. Once you’ve scrubbed off the mark, rinse with the damp cloth.
Avoid using toxic cleaners or harsh chemicals, as these products may damage or rust your umbrella frame finish.
Clean the fabric
From bird droppings to fallen leaves, your patio umbrella fabric can collect some unsavory debris. Washing those items off right away helps prevent stains, so act quickly. Start by checking to see if your umbrella fabric is detachable, which will make cleaning easier. Next, lay down a tarp or some blankets on your yard to protect your umbrella from touching the ground and place the canopy fabric on top. Spray the affected area with your garden hose, then scrub any marks using a gentle cloth, mild soap and warm water. Finally, rinse the area again using your hose. Often, you’ll notice the water beading on the fabric – this is the result of the fabric’s construction, which is designed to repel rainwater.
Let your umbrella air dry. Leave the umbrella open, and if possible, put it in a sunny spot to speed up the drying process.
If stains do set into the fabric, you still have some options. To get rid of tough stains, Sunbrella® (which manufactures many umbrella fabrics) recommends using a combination of 1 cup of bleach and 1/4 cup of mild soap for every gallon of water. Work the cleaner into the stain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Then, use a mild scrub brush to whisk the mark away. Again, let the umbrella air dry. Remember, this process is only for tough, set-in stains.
It’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific umbrella fabric.
Maintain the base
Your umbrella will stand upright thanks the support of a base. Here are some simple steps for maintaining a resin, water-filled umbrella base:
- Empty it of standing water periodically
- Always remove the water before winter arrives – otherwise it will freeze, expand and potentially crack the base
- Use a garden hose to wash off debris
- Mild soap and water can also be used to clean marks
- Avoid standing on the base – it’s only meant to support the weight of the umbrella
For umbrella bases made from materials like cast iron or steel, scrub clean using a mixture of mild dishwashing detergent and warm water.
Store during inclement weather
While patio umbrellas are designed to withstand a variety of weather conditions, leaving them out during heavy winds, storms, hurricanes and winter is not advised. Instead, pack them up and store them indoors or in a shed.
“Store your umbrella in an appropriately sized umbrella cover.”
But before you do, clean the umbrella – this ensures it’s in great condition when it’s time to shade your patio again. Perform regular maintenance, like the cleaning routines outlined above, and make sure the umbrella is 100 percent dry before putting it away. If the fabric is a little wet, it could develop mold or mildew.
It’s recommended that you also store your umbrella in an appropriately sized umbrella cover, especially if you do leave your umbrella outdoors. Covers prevent scratches and debris from collecting on the umbrella.
With these straightforward maintenance tips, you’ll keep your patio umbrellas in great, shade-providing condition.
Where do you store your patio umbrella in the off seasons?