How to Clean a Patio Umbrella? (Here’s How to Do It Easily)

Patio umbrellas get dirty from dust and air pollution. To keep your umbrella looking its best, you should know how to CLEAN it.

Patio umbrellas can be damaged if left outside for a long time, especially if not covered. UV rays, rain, and snow can affect an umbrella and its fabric.

Sometimes your patio umbrella malfunctions, leaving you without shade. Fortunately, many outdoor umbrella problems can be easily fixed with some know-how. You can read more in our other article.

In this article, you can learn how to avoid problems by keeping your patio umbrella clean.

How Often Should You Clean Your Outdoor Umbrella?

The frequency of outdoor umbrella cleaning can depend on various factors. Cleansing the patio umbrella at least once a month would be good.

If there are trees or tall shrubs nearby, you may want to increase the cleaning frequency of the outdoor patio umbrella.

Things You’ll Need

To carry out the project, you will need some equipment and materials. The most vital ones are given below:

Equipment / Tools:

  • Shop vacuum (optional)
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Bucket(s)
  • Garden hose with sprayer
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning cloths


  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Distilled white vinegar

How To Clean A Patio Umbrella With an Unremovable Fabric Covering?

Cleaning a patio umbrella with an unremovable fabric covering is not a tiresome task. If you follow the cleaning instructions carefully, this project will become a piece of cake.

During the off-season, store them inside as it will save you the trouble of washing them.

Remove Loose Dirt

You will start by getting the umbrella into a shady area. Once you do that, remove the loose dirt stuck on it. You can do it by using a soft bristle brush. It will prevent the soil from entering deeper into the fabric.

Now, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing 1/4 cup of a gentle laundry detergent per gallon of lukewarm water. 

We recommend using a laundry detergent instead of dishwashing liquid as you’ll have fewer bubbles to wash out.

Remove Stains

Work the solution across the fabric using the soft bristle brush in a circular motion. Stains from sunscreen and bird droppings are a bit stubborn.

Hence, you should use a bit of elbow grease and pay extra attention to these areas. However, some taints may need a different treatment altogether.

Leave the detergent solution idle for the next 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the extra moisture using a soft towel or a sponge. 

This break will allow the detergent solution to soak into the fabric and will loosen the soil.

Clear all soap residue from the fabric by using a hose sprayer. Properly rinse the cloth. Leaving it as it is will attract more soil. Finally, stand the umbrella back in the sunny area. Let it air dry under the sun. 

Do not close the umbrella until it dries completely.

Cleaning An Umbrella With Removable Umbrella Fabric Covering

Cleaning becomes much more simple when the umbrella has a removable fabric. Your umbrella will have a care tag indicating that it is washable.

First, take out the fabric covering.

Then, shake it well to remove the loose dirt. Depending upon the stain level, use an appropriate laundry detergent.

Before you toss the cover in the washing machine, work the cleaning solution with a soft bristle brush in circular motions for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Use cold water to wash the fabric. Depending on wash load size, you can use a mild soap and a cup of bleach. 

We suggest using a front-load washing machine or top-load efficiency washer as it does not let wrinkles develop.

At last, let the cover air-dry in the sun.

If wrinkles develop on the fabric, you can easily iron it using a low-heat iron setting. Before ironing it, make sure that the cover is completely dry.

Clean Mildew And Tree Sap Stained Areas

Mildew growth or tree sap can cause heavy stains on umbrellas. To keep the umbrella clean, you will need a powerful cleaning solution. 

The first step will require you to move the outdoor patio umbrella to an area having shade. 

Now, mix white vinegar or eight ounces of chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup laundry detergent per gallon of lukewarm water.

Pour a small portion of it into a spray bottle and cover the umbrella’s entire surface. Alternatively, you can work on the solution with a soft-bristled brush, but make sure that you wear protective gloves.

Let the solution sit on the fabric for at least 10 minutes. Soak the extra moisture by using a soft, clean towel. Now, scrub the heavy stains with a soft-bristled brush to remove mildew.

Finally, rinse the umbrella fabric properly to remove soap residue and other debris. Let the cover air dry, and you will get a clean umbrella. 

Repeat the steps above if needed, but with a new cleaning solution.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right patio umbrella makes life easier during the summers. Hence, keeping it clean is a must for every outdoor umbrella owner.

With the care instructions mentioned above, you can easily clean the outdoor umbrella regularly. 

Make sure you clean the frame using warm water with a cloth or a brush. 

However, instead of going through all the trouble, you can take preventive measures to avoid staining.

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