How to Clean Your Garden Parasol

Emma Loker Headshot - DIY Garden
Written by: - Gardening Expert
how to clean your garden parasol

Splat, bird poo. Woosh, dust and leaves. These are just some of the contaminants your parasol comes into contact with daily. And these quickly accumulate on the umbrella. 

Cleaning your parasol sounds like a doddle. But when it comes down to it, it’s a little complicated. Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be! 

Below, you’ll find a helpful guide to get your parasol glistening once more. And put that elbow grease away; you’re not going to need it! 

But first, when should you clean your parasol?

When to Clean Your Parasol

Do you put your parasol away over winter? Most people do, as they would rather not sit out in the rain, parasol or not! Before you tuck your parasol in for the winter, it’ll need a clean. This keeps it in tip-top condition, ready for the warmer months. 

When spring rears its head, your parasol needs more frequent cleaning; once monthly, to be precise. Bear in mind, if it’s directly next to or under trees or bushes, you’ll have to clean it more.


READ NEXT: Sorara Roma Cantilever Parasol Review

How to Clean Your Parasol

Here’s the straightforward guide you’ve been waiting for. Follow these six simple steps, and your parasol will be sparkly clean in no time. 

Step 1: Shade Your Parasol

Surely your parasol should be shading you, not the other way around? When you clean your parasol, it needs to be in the shade. Otherwise, the soapy water will dry too quickly and do diddly squat!

Alternatively, take the canopy material down from the frame. This way, you can work in the shade easily without having to lug your whole parasol around. 

Step 2: Get that Dirt Gone!

All of the loose detritus needs to go first. So, get out a soft brush or your hoover and clean away the loose dirt and debris. 

Being gentle but thorough is the key here – you don’t want to push down too hard and damage the canopy. Also, if you press too hard, the dirt can attach to the fabric and become even more challenging to get off!

Step 3: Let’s Get Soapy!

It’s time to give your canopy a bubble bath! But you’re not actually putting the fabric in the tub. Instead, use a bucket of soapy water and a soft brush to rid your parasol of the dirt that’s stuck on the material. 

You’ve got two options for soaps:

  1. Laundry detergent
  2. Washing up liquid

They’ll both do an excellent job, but laundry detergent comes out on top most of the time. Mix this with warm water, and you’re well on your way to a clean parasol!

Top tip: Stay away from cleaning products. These contain harmful chemicals that cause discolouration and damage your parasol’s external, protective coating.

Step 4: Soak, Soak, Soak

You’ve scrubbed the soapy bubbles in; now it’s time to let it do its work. There’s only so much the bubbles can do if they’re removed straight away, so be patient! Have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and return to your parasol after 20 minutes. 

Step 5: Right, Let’s Rinse!

Now, it’s time to rinse. A hose is a preferable choice, but a bucket of water will suffice – it will just take far longer! You want to get all of the soapy bubbles off, so take your time with this!

Step 6: Dry That Parasol

Return your parasol to the sun! If you moved your whole parasol, shimmy it to your garden’s sunniest patch, then allow it to dry completely. If you’ve cleaned your parasol on a cloudy day, it’s not the end of the world! It’ll still dry, but not as quickly. 

Keep your parasol open until the fabric is 100% dry, or you could introduce mildew and mould. 


Can I Clean My Parasol in the Washing Machine?

Let’s face it, we don’t clean our parasols because it’s fun. If it’s machine washable, chances are, we’ll opt for that. Just a couple of pointers – double check that it’s definitely machine washable before chucking it in your washing machine. 

Wash it on a cold setting, use laundry detergent like you would any other wash, and allow it to air dry. Don’t even think about using the dryer! This could cause shrinkage, discolouration and tears. 

How to Clean a Cantilever Parasol

If you own a cantilever parasol, there are some vital things you need to know. For starters, you should never take the shade off the parasol frame. 

And if you think you’re going to put your cantilever parasol canopy in the washing machine, you’ve got another thing coming! 

Here’s a 7-step guide to cleaning your cantilever parasol.


Step 1: Keep Your Cantilever Parasol Intact

Do not attempt to take the canopy off the frame. It is too large and heavy to remove, and you’ll likely cause more damage than good. 

Step 2: Remove the Detritus

Just like with centre post parasols, the loose dirt must be removed before you give your parasol canopy a good scrub. Use a soft brush for this.

Step 3: Bring Out the Bubbles

Washing up liquid works wonders for a cantilever parasol, so squirt a dollop of that into your warm water. If your parasol is suffering from a severe case of mildew, add some white wine vinegar to the mix. 500ml is perfect. 

Step 4: Give it a Wipe

Wiping your cantilever parasol is the next step. A sponge or soft cloth is the ideal tool for the job. If you’re attempting to rid your parasol of mildew, too, get your soft brush back in action on the mildewy spots. 

Step 5: Don’t Neglect the Frame!

While you’re at it, clean down the base, post, and ribs. These get dirty, too, so they shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Step 6: Rinse it

Either fill your bucket back up with clean water or get out your garden hose and give your parasol a rinse. Removing all those bubbles will leave your parasol looking pristine. 

Step 7: Let it Dry

Leave your parasol out to bathe itself in the glorious sunshine. It’ll dry quicker, so you can use it quicker! Allow it to dry completely before using or storing it. 

Concluding Remarks

Nothing says “stay away” like your parasol covered in gunk, right? Well, steer clear no longer! Whether yours is a centre post or cantilever parasol, there’s a step-by-step guide for you! 

You’ll surely be the host with the most with your sparkling clean parasol. Let’s get to it!

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