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How To Clean Your Outdoor Patio Umbrella

How To Clean Your Outdoor Umbrella

Over time, umbrellas that are kept outside, especially those not kept under any overhead covering, get exposed to the elements (sun, rain, snow, etc.) and can start to look a little worn. Your outdoor patio umbrellas and even cabanas with outdoor fabric, should be cleaned regularly.

How to Clean An Outdoor Patio Umbrella 

Follow these steps if your outdoor umbrella gets dirty or has unsightly mildew or mold stains to get your umbrella looking like new again.

  • Using a soft bristle brush, remove any loose dirt, leaves and other debris.
  • Make a cleaning solution by diluting a gentle laundry detergent in warm water and using the soft bristle brush to clean the umbrella fabric working in small areas in circular motions.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the umbrella’s entire surface area, allow to sit for 15 minutes to loosen the dirt and grime.
  • Rinse the surface well with a hose or a clean bucket of water, to make sure you remove any soap residue.
  • Allow the umbrella fabric to dry well in a sunny area before storing away.

What about Mildew and Mold? 

Outdoor umbrellas are prone to mold and mildew growth,  especially if they are left outdoors year round or if stored away when still wet or damp. To remove mildew or mold  from an outdoor patio umbrella follow these steps:

  • Using a soft bristle brush, remove any loose dirt and scrub the areas with mold or mildew well.
  • Mix white vinegar and warm water of equal parts in a bucket.  Using the brush, dip it into the solution and work it into the umbrella fabric (canvas) in small areas in a circular motion.
  • Continue until the mold and mildew are gone.
  • Rinse the surface off with a hose or clean bucket of water and allow to completely dry in the sun.
  • If required, follow the above steps for a general clean.

Can I Wash my Patio Umbrella Canopy in a Washing Machine? 

If you have a large capacity machine, and are able to remove the canopy from the umbrella frame, you can wash your canopy in your washing machine, Cold water only. Depending on wash load size, use normal amounts of mild laundry detergent and add 8 ounces (1 cup) of bleach.

Air dry only, do not  put the canopy in the dryer. Allow the canopy to fully dry in the sun. You can put the cleaned canopy on the frame while still damp to allow it to dry taut.

General Outdoor Patio Umbrella Care Tips

It’s important to clean your outdoor umbrella regularly. Patio and backyard umbrellas get exposed to rain, sun, dirt, debris and pollutants including bird droppings and tree sap.

When not in use such, as in the off-season, patio umbrellas are best stored away under cover and protected from the elements. If you are storing your umbrella after use, make sure it has completely dried to avoid mold and mildew growth.

To keep your outdoor patio umbrellas looking great and extending their lifespan, regularly brush off dirt, debris and cobwebs. This should be done at least monthly or more if your umbrella is placed is completely exposed and/or under trees.

To avoid staining, don’t allow mildew, sunscreen or oily tree leaves to stay on the umbrella for long periods of time. Rather, follow the above care instructions.

The best way to keep an umbrella clean is by closing them when they are not in use and using an outdoor umbrella cover.

Learn more about umbrella covers here


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