cleaning an outdoor umbrella

It’s never fun to say goodbye to summer, but sadly the calendar is telling us those sweltering hot days are drawing to a close. One of the most important parts of preparing for the cooler weather is properly cleaning and storing your patio umbrella. Quality umbrellas are an investment so you want to get as many years’ usage out of them as possible. By following the tips below, you’ll be able to extend the life of your umbrella for several seasons.


Remove your umbrella from any furniture it’s currently attached to and place it in a large, open space where you can easily move around it. If the umbrella you use has a canopy that’s detachable, remove it and place it on the ground. If the canopy cannot be removed, lean the umbrella over and carefully rest it on the ground. Rinse the umbrella off with your garden hose to remove any excess dirt and debris.

Use a mild cleaner to gently wash the surface of the umbrella. Stick with warm, soapy water as the harsh chemicals in cleaning products can damage the material of your umbrella. Gently wash each section with a cloth or sponge. When finished, use the hose again to thoroughly rinse the umbrella, removing all traces of the soap.

Reattach the canopy to the umbrella pole or stand the umbrella up and place it in an area where it will be in direct sunlight for several hours. You want it to dry completely before moving on to the next step; otherwise you may end up with mold and mildew when you open it up next season.


Once the umbrella is completely dry, it’s time to prepare it for storage. The first step is closing it properly. Many people make the mistake of simply pulling it down and putting it away. Leaving the flaps loose like this can subject your umbrella to damage while it’s stored away. Most umbrellas come with an attached tie (if yours doesn’t, a bungee cord or strong rope will do). Be sure to fold flaps in their natural direction until the umbrella is firmly closed, then secure the tie around it.

Next, you’ll want to cover your umbrella to further protect it while in storage. Many umbrellas come with their own matching covers, but if yours doesn’t, you can either purchase one or use sturdy plastic. For plastic, place the strip down on the ground, put the folded umbrella at the end and roll it up tightly. Secure the plastic with another bungee or more rope. Once it’s properly covered, store your umbrella in a safe place where it will be out of the elements, such as a garage or shed.

If you invested in a quality patio umbrella, you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to help protect that investment as much as possible. These simple tips will allow you to enjoy your umbrella year after year. Until next time, stay cool my friends!

Photo credit: jensmith826 via photopin cc