Now, as we are in the height of the season when shade features are the most popular spot in the backyard, is an excellent time to ensure that it functions properly and looks good. We recommend regular maintenance, including outdoor umbrella cleaning and repair. Here are several suggestions and tips to do just that – with a second installment of this two-part series coming soon.
Your Outdoor Umbrella is Subjected to a Lot
Stop and think for a moment. Our outdoor umbrellas go through a lot to keep us protected from sun and rain. They are constantly subjected to the damaging effects of UV rays, bird droppings, dirt, smog, tree sap, pollen and more. If nothing else, outdoor umbrella cleaning should be an annual, seasonal chore. But sometimes it takes a bit more than that to maintain the integrity and beauty of your shade features. Try these cleaning tips.
Removable Fabric Canopies
Outdoor umbrellas are made from a variety of materials such as Sunbrella, canvas and manufactured fabric, all of which perform differently in response to dirt, mildew and stains. Luckily, if your umbrella includes a removable canopy or you have a sail shade, this makes outdoor umbrella cleaning much easier.
Usually, the manufacturer will provide suggested care instructions that came with the umbrella, or which can be found online. But if the instructions are missing, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the canopy fabric look fresh and new again.
Start by removing the fabric and shaking out any loose dirt. You could also use a vacuum with a brush attachment to get deeper into the fabric’s weave. If there are any visible stains, use a gentle cleaning solution, such as our proprietary outdoor cleaner and water repellant. Scrub the stain with a brush and rinse or, if recommended by the manufacturer (and the canopy is small enough), toss the fabric in the washing machine and use a gentle cycle and cold water. Finally, air dry the fabric by laying it out on a flat surface. You can also steam the canopy material free of wrinkles if it does not include a plastic liner.
Attached Patio Umbrella Canopy
For a fabric canopy that is attached to the umbrella ribs and cannot easily be removed, the process is largely the same, although not quite as easy.
In this case, outdoor umbrella cleaning starts with vacuuming or brushing the material to loosen dirt. Use a soft bristled brush to gently spot treat any stains such as bird droppings. Follow this with a good wipe from a wet cloth. If that isn’t enough to clean the stains, use a mild cleanser and continue to brush away at the dirt using a circular motion. You may want to test a small area first to ensure that the cleaning solution won’t affect the dye. End by rinsing the umbrella off with a garden hose and then letting it air dry. Be sure to keep the canopy open until the fabric is completely dry to prevent mildew.
These steps will ensure that outdoor umbrella cleaning is a relatively quick and painless process. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series where we will discuss various repair options for your shade features sure to bring them new life.