Your outdoor umbrella or garden parasol is unprotected against the elements for several months a year, they get dirty from dust, air pollution and plant debris not to mention other contaminants like bird droppings. The trick to keeping your garden parasol in tip-top condition is to clean it on a regular basis during the season and particularly before you store it away for the winter months.
Although spending your time cleaning a parasol isn’t really a fun way to spend your free time, it is necessary to thoroughly clean your parasol if you want to prevent the buildup of dirt and unsightly stains that could shorten its lifespan. We’ve compiled this quick and easy guide to help you make cleaning your garden parasol as effortless as possible.
How Frequently You Need to Clean
It is advisable to clean your umbrella annually before storing it away for the winter. In case you are still using it at the height of spring, you should aim to clean it at least every second month. However, if it is located close to tall bushes or trees, the parasol will probably need to be cleaned more often.
To begin with, you will want to make sure you take off the cover from the parasol frame. Some models can just slip off the ends, but they are usually attached at the top. In case you can take off the canvas completely, then you can just wash it using your regular household washing machine. Ensure that you wash it in cold water using the normal amount of detergent and let it air dry. Do not use the dryer!
What if I can’t Use the Washing Machine?
Before you start cleaning, open the parasol and set it down on a flat surface on its side. If you are working on the lawn, you can put a trap underneath to prevent all the dirt and grass. Before you use any water or detergent, take a dry, stiff brush and remove any dirty spots. This will help to take most of the gunk and any other debris off the surface. You will have to turn the parasol several times in order to reach all areas, but most of them won’t be too difficult to handle once it is on the ground.
Once you are done with this step, get out your hose and thoroughly spray down the parasol, back and front. To be on the safe side and to get the best results, choose a sunny day to do this. If your hose attachment can spray in a stream, the better. Otherwise, you can just stick your finger on top of the hose in order to give it the required pressure.
Once the parasol is totally soaked, get a stiff brush and a mild detergent. Apply the detergent on any stains, spots, and dirty areas, and give the areas a thorough scrub. At this point, your umbrella should start looking great already. However, if you have some really tough stains, then you will need to use some stronger detergent or stain remover. Apply, scrub, and allow it to sit for a while.
Now that your parasol is clean, you will just have to give it a good rinse. Start from the top and make sure that you rinse it thoroughly. Don’t forget to rinse the front and back sides properly as well, and make sure you don’t leave any suds behind.
What is the Best detergent to Use?
You don’t need to use heavily scented or very strong detergent to clean a parasol. Instead, choose a detergent that contains natural ingredients to tackle the mould, sanitise the fabric, and give it a clean shine.
In case you have a steam cleaner, you will find it very effective in removing dirt from the canvas. However, don’t worry if you don’t have one. You can still get similarly good results with a couple of readily available ingredients. These include:
- A couple of buckets of warm water
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Baking soda
The salt serves as a natural abrasive to get rid of stains and to absorb the mould. On the other hand, the vinegar and baking soda react to loosen the mould from the fabric. Additionally, they sterilise and deodorise the fabric. Lastly, the lemon juice works to disintegrate grease and make your washing easier. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of warm water to rinse after all the scrubbing. Once your parasol is clean, allow it to dry in the sun and wind for a few days before packing it away. Ensure that you keep it up until it is completely dry before storing it.
What if My Umbrella is Acrylic, not Canvas?
If your umbrella is made of acrylic material and not canvas, it will require a slightly different approach to cleaning it. For acrylic parasols, use a simple solution of water and mild soap to clean it. Regular cleaning will help to prevent dirt from piling up to the point that it is noticeable. Secondly, do not subject acrylic parasols to excessive heat. Thirdly, always ensure that you clean the umbrella before storing it for long periods or during the cold months, allow it to dry properly, and store it in a well-ventilated place to prevent any moulding.
In summary, just keep in mind that you should always clean your parasol before you store it away. Furthermore, store it in a dry place with adequate ventilation during the cold months of the year. This will prevent any mildew and mould from forming while in storage. Lastly, remember that each parasol requires special care depending on the type of material it is made from.
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