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What To Do with Your Umbrella in the Off-season

It’s time to get ready for the cold weather coming ahead and store your patio umbrella.

It’s now fall and winter is around the corner, at least in many parts of the country!  You should be either storing or covering your patio umbrella.  Not exactly sure how or the best way to “winterize” your umbrella? Don’t fret; we’ve compiled a list of some tips to store your patio umbrella and help make sure it’s ready for next season!

Thoroughly clean your umbrella before storing for the winter in a garage or a shed.  If patio umbrellas are stored incorrectly, mold and mildew can grow on them, leading to an unpleasant surprise the following spring when you want to set them back outside.

Once your umbrella, is clean, both the poles as well as the canopy, allow to completely dry. You don’t want to store a wet umbrella!

 Steps for storing your umbrella:

  1. Be sure you close and bind your patio umbrella properly.  Many people just close up the umbrella and tie it up with some cord.  Your outdoor patio umbrella usually comes with an attached tie to secure the canopy.  Close the umbrella, then pull each panel and fold it over the next one.  This reduces the chance of wrinkles in the fabric over the long winter.
  2. Put your bottom pole within the folded panels.  Some people just stick the bottom pole into the center of the umbrella and close it up.  This is a bad idea. The pole can damage or scratch the umbrella ribs.
  3. Cover the exposed pole edge.  This dose not have to be elaborate, a plastic bag or a folded piece of cardboard will do the trick.  This will help to protect the umbrella aluminum or connecting thread from damage.  It also keeps your hands and fingers safe!
  4. Dry your wood or bamboo umbrella completely.  Most quality wood umbrellas are treated for exposure, however, it’s always smart to make sure you wipe all the wooden parts down to make sure they are dry.  Water can cause ugly staining to wood, or even warping of the pole, if the pole is left wet.
  5. Wrap or cover your umbrella – either with a commercial umbrella cover or heavy plastic. Just putting an umbrella away in a cold garage or shed without a cover is a recipe for problems when you are ready to use again next season.
  6. Hang your umbrella if possible.  Some umbrellas come with a hook or attachment at the finial (top decorative piece) for hanging.  Take advantage of this!  It’s easy and keeps your umbrella from becoming loose in your storage area.
  1. Cross lay your umbrellas.  If you can’t hang your umbrella, if possible, lay it down on a large shelf or in a safe area.  This can keep it from accidentally falling over and damaging it. If you have more than one umbrella, then cross lay them finial to pole.  This helps keep the umbrellas snug, and saves space.

 Storing your umbrella base or stand:
As with the umbrella itself, before storing, this is the perfect time to clean your base to remove dirt. Mildew grows on dirt so clean your base with soap and water and allow to dry.

If you have a water ballast base, either completely drain, remove and store indoors, or partially drain and add 1-2 capfuls of environmentally friendly antifreeze. Then cover with tarp or heavy plastic bag.

Metal bases
– as with the umbrella itself, it is always best to store the base indoors, in a garage or shed. Wrapping the base in plastic is an additional precaution you can take. If it is impractical to move parts of the base, such as with some large cantilever or offset umbrellas that use large blocks of granite or stone to secure the base, wrap the parts of the base that will be exposed to the elements in plastic (large paint drop clothes are inexpensive and easy to cut to size.

Related Blog: Covering it or Closing it: Tips for maintaining your umbrella during down time.