A patio umbrella can be an attractive addition to any patio furniture set. Although made to withstand the elements, a season of being exposed to heavy rains, falling leaves, and wind-blown dust can leave your beautiful patio umbrella looking pretty gross. Worry not! You can keep your umbrella looking as good as new with a few easy maintenance tips.
Patio Umbrella Care
It is important to close an umbrella before a storm to protect it from heavy rains and high winds. When the rain has passed, open your umbrella as soon as possible to keep dirt from collecting in the fabric's folds. If you reside somewhere that experiences harsh winters, you should either store your patio umbrella during the winter months or invest in a quality cover.
Cleaning Your Patio Umbrella
- Protect the Umbrella - Open the canopy completely and spray down with the water hose frequently to knock off any dirt that has built up on the fabric. Let it air dry, and then close it up. Tip for cleaning: remove the bottom portion of the pole if possible and place the upper portion into the stem of the base. Secure so that it will not fall over. This will get the canopy low enough for you to easily clean.
- Use Mild Soap - Do not use harsh chemicals on the canopy fabric. We recommend 303 Indoor and Outdoor Multi-Surface Cleaner. Scrub the fabric lightly using a sponge or very soft dish cloth. Some types (especially Sunbrella) are easier to clean than others. Read our article on Sunbrella Care and Cleaning for more information.
- Treat the Fabric - Apply a quality fabric protector such as 303 Indoor and Outdoor Fabric Guard each season to restore the umbrella's UV inhibitors.
- Rinse and Dry - Use a garden hose to rinse all soap from the umbrella. Allowing soap to remain on the umbrella's surface can cause a dirty appearance and promotes mildew build-up. Leave the canopy open until it is dry.
- Before you Store - Prior to storing, thoroughly clean the canopy and frame following the steps above and allow to dry. Make sure umbrella is completely dry before storing.
- Close and Secure - Make sure the canopy is closed and secured. Most manufacturers provide a fabric tie that can be used to tightly close the canopy. You can wrap the canopy in a similar way to the way you may wrap your rain umbrella. Simply take the folds of the canopy and wrap them around the pole in the same direction and close with the tie. This will help prevent the fabric from wrinkling while it is stored.
- Protect the Pole - Cover the ends of the pole with a suitable material (cardboard for example). This will help prevent the pole and canopy from being damaged. Detach and slide the bottom pole into a folded section on the outside of the canopy. It isn't a good idea to slide the pole into the rib area where it might cause damage.
- Cover and Store - Cover with a quality cover to keep your umbrella clean while stored. Many manufacturers include an attachment at the finial that can be used as a hanger, which is the best way to store for an extended period of time. If not, it is best to lay the umbrella on a large shelf.
- Gently open and close your umbrella. Don't force it open, as it could damage the mechanism.
- If you know there are high winds coming, take the umbrella down. Although using the proper base and closing will reduce the chance of falling over or taking flight, there is no guarantee that it will not happen. Wind is an unpredictable force that you should be prepared for at any time.
- Do your best to keep your umbrella dry. If it does get wet, open the canopy and let it dry as soon as possible. Most fabrics are designed to resist mildew, but it can develop inside the folds of a closed umbrella.
- Use the right base to make sure you have proper support.
Storing Your Patio Umbrella
Extend the life of your umbrella when not in use by following these simple steps:
In-Season Umbrella Tips
Patio Umbrella Resources
Size, style, frame? Our guide on How to Find the Perfect Patio Umbrella will help you find the perfect umbrella in no time.
Unsure of what size umbrella is appropriate for your outdoor area? Check out our article on Getting the Shade You Need.
Once you've decided on the perfect patio umbrella, it's important to make sure it's secure. Take a look at our article on Supporting Your Patio Umbrella.