Cleaning And Caring For Patio Umbrellas

Cleaning And Caring For Patio Umbrellas – With the proper care, your patio umbrella will be a sound investment for years to come. Unlike other patio furniture, umbrellas take special care and understanding when approaching their needs. Because there are more mechanical parts involved (not mentioning a bigger canopy area), it takes more than a hose and a brush to clean your umbrella off. With the right know how, you too can guarantee your umbrella will be a welcome escape all season long.

The main key of keeping your patio umbrella clean is in knowing how all the pieces work together. This can be broken down into two components: the canopy, which is the cloth top that casts shade on your family and friends, and the frame, which opens and closes the canopy.

The frame consists of all the working mechanical parts of your umbrella, including the vertical pole, runner hub, top hub, ribs, and finial. Each of these pieces serves a critical part – and if not taken care of properly, can result in damage or malfunction in your patio umbrella.

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Most patio umbrellas (including those made of wood) can be cleaned with a little mild soap, water, and some good scrubbing. Always use a mild soap in the cleaning process – using an abrasive cleaner can wear down the finish of your umbrella, significantly decreasing the life of your umbrella. Use the mixture of mild soap and warm water soaked into an old washcloth to scrub away the dirt and debris from the frame of your patio table. Keep the frame in the open position as it dries, as to make sure all mechanical parts get completely dry, and not rusted over due to a moisture build-up. You can do this as often as your umbrella demands: if you live in an area with lots of dust and pollen, this could be recommended often during the summer months.

For those of you with a wood patio umbrella, you always have the option of refinishing your umbrella if the elements are just too much on it over time. While the refinishing process is relatively simple, making sure your umbrella works afterwards is not. Never attempt to refinish your wood umbrella without taking all the pieces apart first – by not doing this step, you will be asking for more trouble down the line, as the finish could cause your frame to seal together. This will result in a patio umbrella that is better used as firewood during the summer nights, rather than shade during the summer days.

Cleaning the canopy is a much easier prospect than cleaning the frame of your patio umbrella. For most canopy covers, the cleaning process is as easy as getting the cloth wet, using a mixture of a mild cleaner and warm water on a washcloth to scrub down your canopy, and putting upright to dry. Keep the canopy open while drying, to reduce the chance for mildew to grow, and ensure the canopy dries completely. If your canopy requires heavier cleaning, you may want to consider throwing it in a commercial (extra capacity) washing machine with detergent. However, check the tag on your canopy, to make sure that the washing process will not destroy your canopy.


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Patio umbrellas can be the perfect addition to your patio furniture, but only when properly taken care of throughout its life. By properly cleaning and caring for your umbrella, you will guarantee a lasting investment that will be cherished by your friends and family for years to come.


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