There is nothing quite like reading outside, under an umbrella, on a sunny summer day. Perhaps some frozen grapes are involved, too. The shady spot is your respite from a busy life, and you cherish (yes, cherish) that umbrella for protecting you from the sun’s rays while you relax. That umbrella was an investment — like all truly great pieces of furniture. So why would you not want it to last as long as possible? With proper patio umbrella care, you’ll be able to protect your purchase (and shady haven) for years to come. Here are a few tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.
Patio Umbrella Cleaning
Just because it’s an umbrella doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be properly cleaned every once in a while. Especially at the end of the season, it’s imperative to remove all of the dirt and grime that accumulated over months of exposure to the elements. In order to clean the frame of the umbrella (everything except the fabric), all you need is a damp cloth to remove the dirt. If the situation calls for something more drastic, use mild soap and water on aluminum frames, or mild detergent and water on wood frames. Be wary of using any chemical cleaners not specifically made for the frame’s material — the chemicals could affect or wear down the frame’s finish, which you definitely don’t want!
The fabric canopy of an umbrella is also relatively easy to clean. First, use a soft bristle brush to wipe off any surface dirt. This will help prevent the dirt from sinking deep into the fibers of the fabric. While there are actual outdoor cleaning solutions for umbrella canopies, mild detergent and lukewarm water will do the trick. Using the same brush, scrub the solution into the canopy in circular motions. Let this sit for 20 minutes before rinsing with a hose. Make sure to let the canopy dry flat before putting it back on the frame! Also, if your umbrella is made with Sunbrella fabric, or something similar, it will be beneficial to restore the protection by applying a fabric protection product. This will help reinforce the water and UV-resistant properties of the fabric and extend the lifespan of the umbrella. As a note, just like the frame, using chemical cleaners not meant for umbrella canopies can damage the quality of the fabric and even leave faded spots.
Patio Umbrella Protection
Like other outdoor furniture, umbrellas are able to withstand most — but not all — elements of nature. Strong winds and heavy rains can damage, knock over or even turn your once-innocent umbrella into a heavy missile! In general, it is good practice to always close an umbrella into the deadlock position while not in use. To take it even further, we would suggest bringing it in from the outdoors if you don’t plan on using it for more than a few days. This will help protect the umbrella fabric from the sun. If you know a storm, windy day or extended rain period are in the forecast, it is best to pull the umbrella off the stand and place it indoors for safety. At the very least, never leave an umbrella open during a storm as the winds can damage the arms of the canopy. Umbrellas should also be put into storage during the winter for protection.
Storage is easy; after diligently cleaning your umbrella, close it so it is in the deadlocked position. This also means double-checking to make sure the umbrella’s arms are closed tightly against the base of the pole. This will help ensure that the arms don’t come loose while it is not in use. Detach the bottom pole from the remainder of the umbrella, which should then be laid on its side. Since the canopy is closed, you’ll notice there are folds in the fabric; place the bottom pole in one of those folds for more condensed storage. If your umbrella didn’t come with a sturdy, durable cover, you’ll need to get one. Usually, there is an attachment to the cover that will allow you to hang the umbrella in storage. If there is not, simply lay it flat on a shelf.
Proper patio umbrella care is key to ensuring your product has a long life. By following these quick and easy pointers, we can assure you that your “little piece of paradise” will remain alive for years to come.