How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

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There’s nothing like a well placed patio umbrella to make your outdoor oasis more enjoyable in the summer heat rays. That being said, they’re not the easiest thing on your patio to keep clean. They can easily accumulate dust from law trimmings, and just about anything else in the air. If your shade is starting to look a bit nasty, you’re in luck! We’ve come up with instructions, tips and tricks for how to clean a patio umbrella. 

Instructions on How to Clean a Patio Umbrella 

There’s more than a few reasons why your umbrella might not be looking quite the way it used to. Whether it’s the weather, keeping it in storage or just regular use, your canopy might be looking a bit neglected. 

As with anything in your outdoor oasis, we recommend regular, routine cleaning to keep everything looking new. This will also help you identify any damage, and keep your expensive patio furniture and accessories in good shape for you to enjoy longer. 

Can you Wash a Patio Umbrella? 

In our DIY approach, you will be able to wash your patio umbrella right on your deck, or patio itself after removing it from the pole. That being said, you’ll need to inspect any labels, or manufacturer’s instructions that came with your patio umbrella to determine whether or not you can wash it in a washing machine. 

Cleaning Patio Umbrella Frame Materials 

Depending on what your umbrella is made out of, you’re going to want to take a careful approach to cleaning it. In this guide, we’ll cover how to clean the frame, mechanism and even the canopy of the umbrella itself. 

For Wood Patio Umbrella Frames

You want to make sure that you don’t accidentally wash off any protective coating that the wood might have on it, not to mention discoloring the stain, too. If it’s in dire need of cleaning due to dust, pollen or even food, you can easily wipe it down with a microfiber cloth and some Pledge dust cleaner. 

For Metal Umbrella Frames

A sponge and a mild dish soap should get the job done very easily here. Mix a tablespoon of Dawn dish soap with 2 liters of hot water. Mix, and use a sponge to scrub the metal surfaces of the frame to remove dirt and dust. Rinse with a hose. The key to preventing rust here, is to dry the entire metal frame thoroughly before setting it back up. 

There are also preventative maintenance measures you can take, such as rust protector that’s widely available online. Take the opportunity to inspect the rest of your outdoor patio furniture, too! Keeping on top of it will mean extending the life of your beloved outdoor equipment for years to come. 

To Clean Plastic Patio Umbrella Frames

The key here is to avoid discoloring and scouring your plastic umbrella frame. Here, we’d recommend using a microfiber cloth and a mild dish soap and hot water mixture to remove dust, particles, dirt and food from plastic patio umbrella frames. 

How to Clean Rust off of a Patio Umbrella Frame 

It’s not uncommon to find rust accumulation on patio umbrella frames, and furniture. Most of the time it’s harmless, but definitely unsightly if you like to use your patio to entertain guests. Follow the steps below to remove rust, and ALWAYS use proper protection such as protective eyewear and gloves when removing rust. 

  1. Combine equal parts hot water and white vinegar. 
  2. Scour the surface with a sponge and the solution. 
  3. If the rust persists, apply the solution again with a spray bottle and spray the area, letting it sit for as long as possible before it dries. 
  4. Repeat step 2, and then rinse thoroughly with hot water before drying. 

What do you Clean an Outdoor Umbrella With? 

We’ll go over a short list of supplies and cleaners that will help you out, as well as different options for cleaning your umbrella. Most outdoor patio umbrellas are totally synthetic, which makes the cleaning process a bit easier. We’re going to give you a fool-proof method for cleaning the fabric on your umbrella, regardless of what it’s made out of. 

What you’ll need: 

  • White Vinegar 
  • Hot Water 
  • Bucket 
  • Cleaning Gloves 
  • Garden Hose 
  • Cleaning Brush 
  • Dish Soap 

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella:  

  1. Remove the cover of the umbrella from the frame. 
  2. Set it on the deck, or on a concrete patio or driveway. 
  3. Soak it thoroughly with the garden hose until it’s completely wet. 
  4. Combine 3 cups of vinegar, with 3 cups of hot water and a splash of mild dish soap into your bucket. 
  5. Mix together thoroughly. 
  6. Spread the solution over the entire umbrella cover. (On both sides). 
  7. Use a stiff bristled brush to firmly scrub the entire surface of the umbrella cover on each side, with the solution saturated. You should see some suds with the soap. 
  8. If the dirt or grime remains on the umbrella cover, create a stronger mixture of water and vinegar, and apply it directly to the problem areas. Scrub thoroughly, and observe the results after that. 
  9. Rine the entire cover thoroughly with the water hose. 
  10. Set it out to dry on a wooden banister, porch railing or patio chairs in direct sunlight for the best results, and to avoid any mold or mildew buildup. 

After you’re done, you should have a patio umbrella that looks as fresh and new as the day you bought it!  Thanks for checking out our tips and recommendations for how to clean a patio umbrella! As long as you’re careful, you should be able to clean it up no matter how neglected it’s been. Let us know how it went, or what other methods worked for you!