The Absolute Best Way to Clean Your Dirty Patio Umbrella

published Jul 28, 2022
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Credit: Jacqueline Marque

In the last two years, I’ve been pretty grateful for the use of my outdoor area for impromptu al fresco dining. See, our rooftop is the perfect area for any meal during the summertime — especially with the protection of our useful IKEA KUGGÖ / LINDÖJA Umbrella.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
My patio umbrella is in need of love!

But after discovering that both the winter and spring seasons left my umbrella looking rather neglected, I decided to give it a good cleaning and bring it back to life this summer.

Although my umbrella’s canopy is removable and can be washed in a washing machine, I decided to hand-wash my umbrella instead. I did that for two big reasons: I wanted to avoid outdoor debris from getting stuck in my washer, and I didn’t want to overload it with a large piece of fabric. Luckily, I heard hand-washing with laundry detergent is a good cleaning solution.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
This little scrubber is a huge help.

My umbrella has been stored in a partially covered corner of the rooftop, which meant I had to spend a good 15 minutes brushing and scrubbing out spiderwebs, old leaves, and dust from the fabric. I used a Scotch-Brite Little Handy Scrubber to do the job along with a dry rag to clean as much as I could. I didn’t want to accidentally mix my cleaning solution with any unwanted cobwebs and dead leaves.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
A cleaning solution made with laundry detergent.

Next, I poured laundry detergent into a 1.5-ounce cap along with two liters of hot water into a two-gallon bucket and mixed it slightly. The hot water then cooled down to a warm temperature as I brushed off my umbrella.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
Scrub-a-dub! Make sure you address the dirtiest spots.

Once my umbrella was ready to be washed, I poured the cleaning solution on various spots on the fabric and scrubbed thoroughly with the brush. I continued this process, rotating the umbrella, until the entire fabric was covered with the soapy substance. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
No hose? No problem.

Because my rooftop doesn’t have access to water — meaning I couldn’t use a hose to rinse it off — I made two trips downstairs to my kitchen to fill my bucket. I poured the water slowly, shaking the fabric and rotating the umbrella as it rinsed off. After a full rinse, I placed the umbrella back on its stand, opened it, and let it dry overnight. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
Time to dry in the sun.

The next morning, I was pleased to be greeted by my clean umbrella looking as good as new. I was worried without the strength and precision of a hose I’d be left with detergent residue, but I was proven wrong by the clear and spotless canopy. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
Ta da! Ready to go!

Now that my umbrella has been restored to its former glory, my rooftop is ready for hosting summer cocktail parties or just a casual lunch in the great, shaded outdoors

How do you clean your patio umbrella? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments below.