How to clean a patio umbrella so it looks (almost) brand new

Spending time in the backyard during the nice weather is a great way to relax and unwind, especially if you have a patio umbrella to help you stay cool in the shade.

But after time, your outdoor umbrella starts to get dirty and lose its beautiful appeal. There are many outdoor elements that can cause this including dirt, dust, pollen, mildew, or even little birds leaving their droppings.

Even if you have a superior fabric umbrella like spun-poly or sunbrella, which protects against fading and mildew, it is still going to collect dust, mud, animal droppings, and more.

Cleaning your patio umbrella is inevitable.

Fortunately, cleaning an outdoor umbrella is a simple task that will improve its longevity and quality if done the proper way.

In this article we will be showing you how to clean a patio umbrella, so it almost looks brand new. Let’s get started and grab all the equipment that we’ll need.

Clean patio umbrellas providing shade outside.

Outdoor Umbrella Cleaning Equipment

Before getting started, we need to make sure we have all the proper cleaning equipment.

Here is a list of everything you’ll need:


  • Tarp
  • Bucket
  • Water Hose
  • Sponge or Scrub Brush
  • Soft-Bristled Broom or Vacuum

Cleaning Agents

  • (2 Cups) Warm Water
  • (2 Cups) White Vinegar
  • (1 Tbsp) Dish Soap

If you don’t already have these supplies around the house, all of these can either be found at your local store or online.

Once you have all the equipment ready, it’s time to start cleaning your patio umbrella.

Clean outdoor umbrella fabric giving protection from the sun.

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

1. Prepare Your Outdoor Umbrellan

First, place the tarp on a level surface and make sure that it is clear of any dirt or dust particles.

Once your tarp is in place, take the umbrella fabric off from the pole frame and place it on top of the tarp. Use your soft-bristled broom or vacuum to sweep off any loose dirt, twigs, etc. from the fabric.

If you are unsure if the bristles on your broom are soft enough, we recommend using a vacuum to prevent pushing the loose particles further into the fabric.

2. Make the Cleaning Solution

Next, it’s time to make the solution to clean your patio umbrella.

Grab your bucket and mix in the warm water, white vinegar, and mild dish soap. Make sure you don’t use any extra strength soap or detergent since they can cause damage to your umbrella.

Mix the solution together with your sponge or scrub brush until it gets soapy.

3. Start Scrubbing & Let it Soak

Use your sponge or scrub brush with the solution and clean the entire outdoor umbrella fabric by scrubbing in a circular motion.

For the best results, use a scrub brush that has soft bristles and pay extra attention to spots on the fabric with stains and dirt.

Once the patio umbrella is scrubbed and covered in the cleaning solution, let it soak in for at least 20 minutes. This will allow for a deeper clean especially in stained areas.

Scrub brush and sponge used to clean a patio umbrella.

4. Rinse & Dry

Finally, once the solution is soaked in, grab a hose, and gently rinse it off.

Make sure the hose is spraying water and all the soap is removed. If the soap isn’t completely rinsed off, this will cause more dirt and dust to stick.

After the outdoor umbrella is fully rinsed of all soap, let the fabric air dry until it is completely dry.

Once it is dry you are good to reattach the fabric to the pole frame and admire the beauty of your clean patio umbrella.

5. Consider Buying a New Patio Umbrella

Sometimes there are stains that even this method can’t clean. And if you try using a more powerful solution, then the fabric can become permanently damaged.

If your patio umbrella is past the point of cleaning, it may be time to consider switching it out for a new one. We at Sunnydaze Decor have a large variety of patio umbrellas and accessories to choose from to fit your style.

9 foot patio umbrella giving shade to a outdoor table.

Enjoy Your Clean Outdoor Umbrella

Completing this process of cleaning an outdoor umbrella at least once a month will improve its longevity and quality significantly.

Your patio umbrella will get dirty and stains will happen, but if you follow these steps then you can keep your umbrella looking almost brand new.

We hope you enjoy the nice weather and stay cool in the shade with your clean patio umbrella.

Outdoor livingPatio furniture

About the Author

Alyssa Geary
Alyssa Geary
Alyssa Geary is a product specialist who loves the cozy ambiance that the right lights can bring to indoor and outdoor spaces. In the summer months, you’ll find her relaxing under the shade of an umbrella reading a good book, or scrolling through Instagram.


Betty Monroe

Could we simply buy a new umbrella and not all the hardware which is still perfectly fine?
Ours is a 10 ft Offset Umbrella that we purchased from you.
Thanks very much for your time and consideration!


What is the formula for amounts of soap, vinegar and water ??


What is the formula for amounts of soap, vinegar and water ??

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