Patio Umbrella Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

After a full season outdoors, patio umbrellas can accumulate a lot of dirt and grime. This guide provides information on cleaning, maintaining, and storing umbrellas to help keep them looking like new. In search of a new outdoor umbrella? The Guide to Patio Umbrella & Base Sizes is a great resource for determining how big of an umbrella is needed based on patio set size and desired shade coverage.

Cleaning a Patio Umbrella Canopy

Lighted Patio Umbrella

  • Remove Loose Dirt - Use a soft bristle brush to prevent driving soil deeper into the fabric.
  • Use Mild Soap - Use a cleaner like 303 Indoor and Outdoor Multi-Surface Cleaner or a mixture of lukewarm water and a mild laundry detergent. Work the solution into the fabric with a soft brush using circular motions.
  • Rinse and Dry - After scrubbing, let the solution sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing off with a water hose. Leave the umbrella canopy open until completely dry.
  • Protect - For fabrics like Sunbrella, apply a quality fabric protector like 303 Indoor and Outdoor Fabric Guard after cleaning to restore the umbrella's UV inhibitors and enhance water repellency.

Cleaning a Patio Umbrella Frame

Market Umbrella

  • Aluminum Frames - Mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap and wipe with a soft towel. For water spots or build up, mix a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar and 9 parts water. Dip a soft towel in the solution and wipe down the frame. Always follow up with a clean water rinse and a dry towel.
  • Wooden Frames - Most wooden frames can be cleaned with a mixture of mild detergent and water and a soft brush. It's always best to refer to the manufacturer's instructions if they're available. Make sure not to oversaturate the surface of the frame and always allow to air dry.

Patio Umbrella Maintenance Tips

Cantilever Umbrella

  • Never use abrasive cleaners on umbrella canopies or frames. Doing so could cause damage to the finish or cause the canopy material to fade. Fabrics like Sunbrella can be cleaned using a bleach solution without fear of fading, but it's best to refer to the manufacturer's instructions just to be sure.
  • If possible, take umbrella down or store inside when high winds or inclement weather conditions are predicted.
  • Do not force umbrella to open or close, as it could damage its internal mechanism.
  • Invest in a cover to protect umbrella from bad weather conditions and accidental rips or tears.
  • Always clean umbrella before storing.

Patio Umbrella Storage Tips

Striped Patio Umbrella
  • Before Storing - It's best to thoroughly clean and completely dry an umbrella before storing. Doing so will prevent dirt from sitting on the fabric for an extended period of time.
  • Close and Secure - Making sure the canopy is closed and secured will prevent the umbrella fabric from wrinkling or getting accidentally punctured.
  • Protect the Pole - Cover the ends of the pole with a suitable material like cardboard. 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 is not recommended to slide the pole inside near the rib area, as it might cause damage.
  • Cover - Use 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.