You Need to Clean Your Outdoor Umbrella

Spending time outdoors in the summer can be a challenge. On the one hand, it’s finally warm enough to be outside. But on the other hand, we know that prolonged exposure to the sun is bad for our skin. And while we may remember to take all the proper precautions—sunscreen, a hat, take plenty of water with us—when we leave the house, we may not be as mindful of the sun when we’re in our own backyard.

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This is where garden umbrellas come in handy. Even if you don’t have trees big enough to provide decent shade, you’ll always have sun protection.

But because these umbrellas live outdoors, they tend to get very dirty, picking up everything from leaves and lawn debris to bird droppings and tree sap. Even if you kept it indoors all winter and took it outside for the first time this season, it’s probably still covered in dust. Here’s how to clean your outdoor umbrella and keep it in good condition all summer long.

How to clean an outdoor umbrella

The amount of effort it takes to clean an outdoor umbrella depends a lot on the material it’s made from: cotton is the most maintenance-friendly, followed by polyester, and finally Sunbrella, a durable, high performance acrylic fabric used in many of the new designs. . But regardless of the material, it’s best to read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before you start, just in case your umbrella needs special care.

In general, though, here’s how to clean an outdoor umbrella, courtesy of the experts at Consumer Reports :

Dry brush is

Start by using a soft brush to remove any bits on the umbrella dome (fabric part), such as dirt clods, leaves, and twigs. It is recommended to do this regularly so that dirt and other debris do not eat into the fabric and stick to it after rain.

wash the canopy

Check the tags on your umbrella to see if it is machine washable, and if so, wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you know you can put it in the car but can’t find specific directions, wash it in cold water using your regular detergent and the waterproof cycle, if available. If not, choose the normal setting.

Canopies that are not machine washable (and/or that cannot be removed from the frame) can be cleaned with a solution of ¼ cup mild laundry detergent (such as Woolite) mixed with one gallon of warm water. Gently rub it into the fabric of your umbrella in a circular motion with a soft brush, leave it (with the cleaning solution applied) for 15 minutes, and then rinse it off with a hose or bucket of clean water.

No matter how you wash your umbrella fabric, dry it outside – ideally in the sun, where a pleasant breeze blows.

wash the pole

Your outdoor umbrella stand gets dirty too. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the aluminum poles, using a combination of warm water and dish soap to wash off any sticky stains or stuck-on stains. You can use the same solution to clean wooden rods from umbrellas, but you’ll need a brush instead of a rag.


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