Outdoor umbrellas come in handy on a sunny day or when one needs to relax under a shade. You can take them to the beach, place them on a patio, poolside, and practically anywhere you would like.
The only downside to them is they need regular cleaning owing to outdoor exposure.
Stuff like dust particles, mildew, bird droppings, and green algae can easily accumulate over time.
Before you pick any random cleaning solution for this purpose, know what material your umbrella is made of so you don’t accidentally ruin it.
Outdoor umbrellas can be made from thatch or straw, acrylic, canvas, or vinyl mesh. These materials have varying properties and benefits.
No matter how good the material is, it will be prone to dirt over time, so we recommend cleaning once every month.
Supplies You’ll Need
Steps To Cleaning Your Outdoor Patio Umbrella
Follow the steps mentioned below, keeping in mind the material your umbrella is made up of. Some materials can take rough handling while others cannot.
Step 1: Detach The Fabric
Start by detaching the fabric of the umbrella from the frame. Place it on a tarp and use a broom or soft brush to sweep off the dirt.
Be gentle when performing this step, so you don’t drive the dirt further into the fabric.
If the fabric is non-removable, place it in an area far from direct sunlight (so the cleaning solution doesn’t dry off quickly), then either vacuum or sweep off the dirt.
2. Prepare The Cleaning Solution
In a bucket, mix an equal amount of warm water and vinegar. Add a small amount of dish soap. You can substitute dish soap for laundry detergent, which will produce fewer bubbles and work on stains faster.
There are some stains like mildew and tree sap that require a tougher cleaning solution. To counter them, mix one part of chlorine bleach and laundry detergent with three parts of lukewarm water.
Pour the solution into a spray bottle, and ensure the entire umbrella is covered, especially where the stains are prominent.
3. Scrub The Fabric
Use a bristle brush to scrub all the dirt off the umbrella in a circular motion. For tougher stains, you will need to use a stiffer brush and more energy. You could go for a mechanical scrubber if required.
Leave the solution for about ten to fifteen minutes to let it sink in, and then rinse off.
Use a pressurized hose spray to get rid of the excess soap. Make sure it is completely gone; otherwise, it can attract even more dirt.
If the fabric of your umbrella is removable and is suited for the washer, chill out and relax. Life is pretty easy for you, apparently.
Using Washing Machine
Cover the umbrella in laundry detergent mixed with water and let it soak in for about fifteen minutes. You can put it in the washer after that.
It is advised to use heavy-duty detergent and cold water to wash.
If you’re using chlorine bleach, be extra careful as it can corrode metals. Use plastic sheeting to cover the metallic parts (if any), and wear protective gloves when scrubbing the stained areas.
Some Precautions To Take
- Some chemicals can bleach the material of your fabric, so do a spot test before you decide to use one.
- Do not over-drench the patio umbrella in soap, water, and chemicals. A small amount works just as well.
Cleaning The Umbrella Frame
To clean the frame, follow the instructions that came with the umbrella, but if you can’t find any, follow the below steps.
Aluminum frame: Prepare a water and dish soap solution and scrub it with a soft rag. Do not wet the surface too much or use bleach or cleaners as they are corrosive.
Wooden frame: The same cleaning solution will work for a wooden frame. Just use a soft brush to scrub it gently and rinse off with a clean wet rag.
After that, leave it to dry.
4. Dry Off The Umbrella
Place the umbrella/ fabric under direct sunlight for it to dry off. After that, you can close the umbrella or reattach it.
If you have used the washer, do not place the fabric in an automatic dryer; instead, let it air dry.
How To Store Patio Umbrella?
Since there are different patio umbrella styles, you should store them accordingly. Just remember to keep them in a dry and clean place.
A table umbrella, for example, cannot be separated, so it would be best to close and cover it up with a bubble wrap. Store it in your garden shed or an indoor location.
For the removable types, detach the pole and canopy and store them separately to prevent scratching of the ribs.
Storing The Canopy
Use the built-in tie or velcro around the canopy to tie it up neatly. Be gentle when you do this to prevent causing any damage.
If your umbrella comes with a cover, use it for the canopy; otherwise, you can use a cloth or bubble wrap around it.
Storing The Pole
Do not neglect the pole as it can be prone to damage. Cover it up with a tarp, cloth, bubble wrap, or cardboard.
Use a tie or duct tape to secure the cover very well.
- When you store your umbrella, do not leave it on the floor where anyone can kick or step on it. Instead, keep it in a clean and uncluttered room where you can place it on a hook or shelf.
- It is important to note that some patio umbrellas come with specific instructions on cleaning and storing them. Follow them for the best results.
Typically, a patio umbrella can withstand light rain and not get ruined. However, prolonged exposure to rainfall, wind or inclement winter can have damaging effects.
You will need to clean it and store it in a spacious spot properly. By following this guide, you should be able to do that pretty quickly.