Having a well-designed and comfortable patio at the back of your house will not only enhance the beauty of your yard and increase the value of your home, but it will also serve as a practical extension of your living space where you can relax and enjoy your time outdoors. However, if you’re directly exposed to the sun, that time may not be so enjoyable, so patio umbrellas are an excellent solution. With different styles, sizes and colours, you can easily match them to your existing design, but you also need to ensure they get proper care and maintenance in order to stay functional and beautiful.

Here are several practical tips on how to keep your patio umbrella looking great.

Cleaning the patio umbrella

The primary function of your patio umbrella is to provide protection from the sun, and not to shield your patio furniture from rain and wind. So, the better you care for your umbrella, the longer it will give you adequate shade from the sun.

Each patio umbrella consists of two parts: the frame and the fabric covering, or the canopy. The frame has many different parts, such as the main pole, ribs and hubs, some fixed and some movable. They can be made of plastic, wood or aluminium, but whatever the material, maintenance is the same. Each part is best washed with a damp cloth and soapy water, and then wiped with a clean damp cloth. It’s not advisable to use any harsh chemicals, as they can easily damage the frame surface.


The canopy can be cleaned in two different ways: it can be hand washed using a garden hose or machine washed. If it’s possible to remove the canopy, you can wash it in a commercial washer using a delicate programme, with cold water and mild detergent. Do not dry it in a dryer, but put it back on the frame and air dry it.

If the canopy is made of a sensitive material that is more delicate and could be ruined in the washer, opt for hose washing. Lay down the umbrella on a protective surface and wash it from top to bottom. Scrub it lightly with a cloth and warm, soapy water. Rinse it well and put it back up to dry. Close it only when it’s completely dry.

One of the best choices you can make is to get a cantilever umbrella that also comes with a protective covering, which will significantly prolong its life and keep it in top condition over a longer period of time.

Opening and closing

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to handle a patio umbrella, but you should know a thing or two about it. When fully closed, most patio umbrellas sit in a deadlock position, and to open them, you need to push and separate the ribs outward from the centre pole first, and then push open the umbrella itself. If you keep pulling the pulley rope and it still doesn’t open, it’s locked in the deadlock. It’s there on purpose to prevent winds from blowing upwards and opening the umbrella when not needed. Just try again until you set it free.


To close it, slightly push it upward, remove the safety pin and lower the canopy. If the mechanism is not manual but has a crank, just pull it in the opposite direction and lower it down. Once it’s fully down, push it into deadlock position.

Weather influence

If you see bad weather coming, the best move is to close your patio umbrella and store it away in an upright position. If you must keep it outside, just make sure it’s in a deadlock position. It’s also recommended that you use a patio umbrella cover and a base to keep it secure and stable.

If you stick to these steps and keep the umbrella stored and covered when not in use, you’ll be able to enjoy its protection for many years.

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