How to Clean Your Patio Umbrella

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

We spent a lot of time in the backyard this summer! With our new fire pit and all the bird feeders we added, the patio was a main attraction. Unfortunately, those cute little birds left their droppings all over the place, and the patio umbrella was looking pretty dingy! There was also lots of dirt, dust, and pollen on the umbrella that I didn’t even notice until I started moving it around.

This cleaning project turned out to be much easier than I had expected, and I’ll definitely do this every year before storing it for the winter!

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

First of all, you’ll want to see if you can remove the cover from the umbrella frame. Mine slipped off the ends, but was attached at the top. If you can remove the canvas, then just throw it in the washing machine! Wash it in cold water, with your normal amount of detergent, and then let it air dry – keep it away from the dryer!

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Before you get started, open the umbrella and set it on the lawn on its side. I put a tarp underneath, and it kept all the grass and dirt out of the way. Before using any cleaner or water, take a dry, stiff brush and rub any dirty spots. You can get a lot gunk off of of the surface and can remove any leaves or other debris. You’ll notice quite a bit of dust coming off already! You’ll have to turn the umbrella a couple times to reach every section, but mine wasn’t too hard to handle once it was on the ground.

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Next, get out the hose and spray down the umbrella, front and back! Hopefully you can take advantage of a sunny day. :-) If you have a hose attachment that sprays in a stream, you’ll want to use it. Otherwise, stick your thumb over the top of the hose to give it some pressure! You can take the umbrella to a self-serve car wash if you prefer, but be sure to bring a bucket for the wet umbrella on the way home. :-)

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Once the umbrella is soaked, grab a stiff brush and a mild cleaner. I used a simple multipurpose spray: 2 tablespoons of castile soap in 2 cups of water – it worked really well! Spray any spots, stains or dirty areas, and give them a good scrub! My umbrella was looking great at this point, but if you have some really dirty spots, then you can use Resolve stain remover. Spray, scrub and let it sit for a few minutes.

Now that the umbrella is clean, you’ll just have to rinse it! Start from the top give it a really thorough rinse! Remember to rinse the back and front sides, making sure there are no suds.

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Let your beautiful, clean umbrella dry in the wind and sun, keeping it up until it’s completely dry and then pack it away for the season!

What projects do you need to do before winter?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • We have a black Sunbrella. It is 10 years old and was covered with lichen and white mildew since it had rained here constantly for a year. Washing didn’t work and spraying it with “Wet ‘n Forget” didn’t work.
    We went to our patio store and checked into getting a new one. They said I could wash it in the washing machine with full strength bleach. Bleach on a black umbrella??? They had an umbrella sample in a big glass jar with bleach. That’s their demo that bleach won’t affect the color of a sunbrella. I poured bleach into the washer with the umbrella, and bleach in the dispenser as well. Took it out and it was pure black just like the original.

  • Hi.. I was just want to add something to the patio umbrella issues.. I have been selling patio furniture and umbrellas for more than 11 years… I would not recommend washing canvas at all or using any harsh scribing or detergents.. Simply because that would take away fabric ability to protect us from the sun. Standard patio umbrella fabric has 30 SPF coating.. Washing or scrabbling or using anything but very mild soap will damage that coating. I do suggest always to spray brand new umbrella with outdoor Scotch guard or Teflon spray or most expensive but the best “303” fabric protector which is the best on the market. If we have to clean older umbrella.. Before using it we really should spray with water repellent, simply because now… Everything will stick to the fabric(including bird droppings) and sun damage will be rapid. With coating of water repellent it is easy and simple.. Close umbrella half way..spray it with a garden hose :)

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